F1 qualifying LIVE: Spanish Grand Prix updates as Charles Leclerc, Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton vie for pole

<p>Charles Leclerc in practice at the Circuit de Catalunya</p>

Charles Leclerc in practice at the Circuit de Catalunya

(AFP via Getty Images)

Follow all the action from the Spanish Grand Prix as qualifying takes place this afternoon.

Max Verstappen’s victory in Miami reduced Charles Leclerc’s lead at the top of the drivers’ standings to just 19 points but it was the Ferrari driver who was quickest in yesterday’s second practice session. There were also encouraging signs for Mercedes after it was revealed the team had been testing new upgrades to their car at a filming day earlier this week. George Russell finished second in practice, ahead of teammate Lewis Hamilton, who was buoyed by the progress after consistently struggling with the car’s porpoising issue.

Earlier on Saturday, Leclerc completed a hat-trick of fastest laps by finishing top of the timesheets again in FP3, while Mercedes confirmed their increase in pace with another strong session for George Russell and Lewis Hamilton. The Silver Arrows have significantly decreased the intensity of the porpoising they have been suffering so far this season, and could well change for pole position in qualifying,

Championship leader Leclerc goes into qualifying as favourite to secure pole, but Red Bull’s long run pace has been impressive, and Mercedes cannot be ruled out after their step forward.


Ferrari fast over one lap, Red Bull better on long runs

Charles Leclerc goes into qualifying the heavy favourite to secure pole position, having finished fastest in every practice session this weekend.

But the data from Friday and Saturday’s running suggests that Red Bull will be significantly faster in the race, up to half a second per lap, which means they will likely have the advantage on Sunday.

Both Leclerc and rival Max Verstappen discusses their chances ahead of qualifying.

“On the short run we look strong, but the high fuel run looks very difficult for now,” Leclerc told Sky Sports F1. “We will have to work very hand and hopeffuly find quite a bit of pace.”

“We have quite a bit of work to do over one lap, but long runs look quite decent,” Verstappen explained. “I’m happy with that, we just have to find a middle way.”

Dan Austin21 May 2022 14:41


Five teams competing for final places in Q3

With less than half-an-hour remaining until the start of qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix, five teams will be targeting the final few spots in Q3.

The top six places on the grid are likely to be taken up by the Ferrari, Red Bull, and Mercedes drivers based on the evidence from the three practice sessions so far this weekend, but the final four positions inside the top ten are up for grabs.

Throughout running on Friday and Saturday, Alpine, Haas, McLaren, Alfa Romeo and Aston Martin have all impressed at different points, and could all stake a claim for a top ten spot.

Only Williams and AlphaTauri look to be too far off the pace to make Q3.

Dan Austin21 May 2022 14:35


Alonso blasts F1 race control and stewards as ‘incompetent’ and ‘not very professional’

Fernando Alonso has slammed Formula 1’s stewards and the FIA’s new race control setup, calling the officiating in the top tier of motorsport “incompetent” and “not very professional”.

Alonso, 40, is the most experienced driver on the F1 grid and is set to overtake former Ferrari and Alfa Romeo driver Kimi Raikkonen’s record of 349 grand prix starts during the course of the 2022 campaign, but has been left unimpressed with the new structure put in place by FIA president Mohamed Ben Sulayem, who was elected to replace the outgoing Jean Todt last December.

“We saw a couple of things already that proves that [race control] still need to improve a lot,” he said. “You need to have some knowledge about racing before being a race director or trying to monitor a race. I don’t think that knowledge is in place at the moment. I know there is a new race director here. Freitas has a lot more experience with WEC and other categories at the top level and I think that will already improve things.”

You can read the full story here:

Dan Austin21 May 2022 14:22


Stroll rejects suggestion Aston Martin copied Red Bull with new design

Having poached head of aerodynamics Dan Fallows from Red Bull, the team has brought a car to this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix which looks identical to the Red Bull other than its green livery.

“I’ve heard some people say that [it is a copy of the Red Bull],” the Canadian explained. “We really did our job back at the factory, we designed it over the winter and we brought it to the track this weekend. It’s down the hard work of our guys to bring it here, it’s been flat out for the past few months to get it here. Hopefully a big improvement.”

You can read the full story here:

Dan Austin21 May 2022 14:12


Red Bull chief claims evidence shows Aston Martin downloaded data in F1 car copy row

Red Bull Racing advisor Helmut Marko claims evidence exists showing that Aston Martin have downloaded some of his team’s data to help them build a new Formula 1 car which bears an uncanny resemblance to Red Bull’s.

Aston Martin arrived in Barcelona for the Spanish Grand Prix earlier this week with a completely revamped version of their AMR22, which made its on-track debut during practice on Friday. The re-designed halo, sidepods, and engine cover on the Aston Martin are all very similar to the parts Red Bull have been running all season long, with their RB18 car the frontrunner at the past two grands prix in Imola and Miami.

“There is evidence that data has been downloaded,” Marko said. “It’s just the question: copying is probably not prohibited to begin with, but can you copy without documents in such a way that you can get such a detailed copy of our car?”

Dan Austin21 May 2022 14:02


Hamilton ‘super happy’ with Mercedes progress in Spain

Lewis Hamilton says he is “super happy” with the progress his Mercedes team appear to have made in the run up to the Spanish Grand Prix.

In the two practice sessions which took place at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona on Friday, Mercedes seemed to take a significant step forward, ending the day second and third fastest behind Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc with an enormous reduction in the intensity of porpoising. In saturday’s final practice sesion, George Russel was third fastest and Hamilton fourth.

“It is positive,” Hamilton told Sky Sports F1. “I am super happy with the progress. We’re not the quickest yet but I think we’re on our way. It is the first time we have driven down the straight without bouncing. We still have some bouncing but it is way better and we are starting to eke into the potential of the car.

You can read the full story here:

Dan Austin21 May 2022 13:52


De Vries admits F1 dream after ‘nervous’ first outing with Williams

Formula E world champion Nyck de Vries says his goal is still to join Formula 1 in the near future, after enjoying a successful first practice runout with the Williams team in Barcelona ahead of this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix.

The 27-year-old is one of the most highly-rated drivers in motorsport outside of F1, having won the 2019 Formula 2 championship before securing the Formula E crown at the end of 2021, and has served as a reserve and development driver for the Mercedes team alongside Stoffel Vandoorne since last season.

“I would be lying if I said Formula 1 isn’t my goal, it is the pinaccle of our sport. I’m enjoying what I’m doing in Formula E and the World Endurance Championship. Time will tell really, the most important thing is to do my job on track and earn my opportunities.”

You can read the full story here:

Dan Austin21 May 2022 13:42


Russell fears ‘health consequences’ of porpoising in F1

George Russell fears Formula One drivers could be exposed to long-term head trauma if the sport’s ‘porpoising’ phenomenon is not resolved.

The British driver compared the new-for-2022 sensation – when the car violently bounces on its suspension at high speed – to football’s dementia problem.

“When you are travelling at 200mph on the straight, and you are smashing up and down on the ground, for sure you wouldn’t choose to have it that way,” said Russell, 24.

“The cars are extremely rigid and they are not meant to be a comfortable ride. You could compare it to the footballers of the 60s, 70s and 80s when they had the massively heavy footballs.

You can read the full story here:

Dan Austin21 May 2022 13:32


Mercedes confirm improved pace in FP3

Charles Leclerc once again stole the headlines in FP3, but the main take away from that practice session should be that Mercedes appear to have confimed their pace improvement with another solid running.

Both Silver Arrows cars have regularly been around a second off the pace in qualifying so far this season, but both George Russell and Lewis Hamilton have been within touching distance of championship leader Leclerc in FP2 and FP3 after Mercedes brought a raft of upgrades to Spain.

Both men now seem capable of challenging for a front row start in Barcelona when qualifying begins at 3pm.

Dan Austin21 May 2022 13:22


Haas confident Schumacher will make qualifying

Haas are confident that Mick Schumacher will be able to participate in this afternoon’s qualifying after he suffered a significant right rear brake fire in that practice session.

The German’s car was engulfed in flames after catching fire on entry to the high speed Turn 9, and mechanics were covering the heavily damaged rear in damp rags after extinguishing the blaze, which caused the carbon fibre on the wheel rim to melt.

The team is changing Schumacher’s gearbox as a precuation, but is confident that he will compete in qualifying, which begins at 3pm.

Dan Austin21 May 2022 13:14


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