F1 2018 Spanish Grand Prix: What we learned from qualifying

With the grid all set for tomorrow’s Spanish Grand Prix, here are just a few things we learned from today’s qualifying session.

(Image source: Reuters/Albert Gea)

Mercedes are quick – again

All the talk of Ferrari sandbagging on Friday proved to be unfounded. While they were still quick, their form has dropped off in comparison with Mercedes who locked out the front row in Barcelona. When Vettel declared he had pushed for the best time on Friday, he was not bluffing. For fans hoping for a close title fight the season, the sight of the two silver cars on the front row is ominous.

McLaren upgrade worked

Many teams brought upgrades to this race but McLaren’s nose job was one of the most significant. The team in papaya secured their best qualifying result of the season so far finishing just over half a second behind Daniel Ricciardo’s Red Bull.

Fernando Alonso seemed pleased with the car and it will be fascinating to see what he can do from eighth position in front of his home crowd. If he continues his trend of making up ground in every Grand Prix, he might just challenge the top six. Unfortunately, teammate Stoffel Vandoorne could not guide his revised MCL33 into the top ten and will start the race from P11.

It was a good day for Spain

(Image source: Reuters/Albert Gea)

Alonso wasn’t the only Spaniard to give the home crowd something to cheer about today. Fellow countryman Carlos Sainz Jr also secured a place in the top ten and will line up just behind his compatriot in ninth place. His performance gave consolation to Renault who’s other driver, Nico Hulkenberg, failed to make Q3 for the first time in three years thanks to a gearbox issue.

Baku flattered Williams

(Image source: Reuters/Albert Gea)

Okay, we know that Baku did not give a true reflection of the overall progress of the Williams team, but if anyone was in any doubt, today’s session set the record straight. It was an awful day for the technical team who saw their cars limp home over two seconds off the pace.

Those who feel that the current driver line up of Lance Stroll and Sergey Sirotkin is the worst in the team's history, could have their case strengthened this weekend. However, it is hard to imagine any other driver achieving much with the current car - although Robert Kubica might have something to say about that.

The two Williams would have occupied the final row of the grid had it not been for Brendon Hartley’s 160mph crash in the earlier practice session. The New Zealander was taken to hospital for a checkup but has been given the all clear to race. As he missed qualifying, he will start on the back row alongside Stroll.

What else did we learn from qualifying? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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