After some gusty overtaking moves in the Bahrain GP before a brake failure resulted in his eventual third-placed finish, Nico Rosberg enjoyed a reversal of fortunes in Barcelona when his fastest lap time of 1:26.681 was enough to earn a first pole position of the season in Saturday’s Spanish F1 Grand Prix qualification session.
Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton had only won one ofthree practice sessions held at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya this weekend, while Rosberg had won the other two, but such was his domination of F1 in 2015, the Briton was still expected to set his fifth pole position in a row, ultimately falling nearly three-tenths of a second short.
Second Row for Vettel in Barcelona
Given new parts on his car for this weekend’s Spanish F1 Grand Prix, Ferrari’s four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel qualified third with a time of 1:25.458, while upgrade-less colleague Kimi Raikkonen – who’d scored an impressive second in Bahrain – had a poor Q3 and will start seventh on the grid.
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Mixed Bag for Williams in Spain
Finishing fourth and ninth at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya with respective times of 1:25.694 and 1:26.757, Williams’ Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa had contrasting qualifying sessions, but Massa simply made mistakes on his final run and can make up a few places in Sunday’s race.
Sainz Jr Impresses Home Crowd with P5
Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz Jr has already finished in the points twice this season and, unless he has to retire through car issues like he did in Bahrain, the rookie stands a good chance of making it three in five races after qualifying fifth for Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix.
Grosjean Loses 100% Q3 Record
Having made every third and final qualification shoot-out in the 2015 F1 season so far, Lotus’ Roman Grosjean was eliminated in Spain’s second qualification round on Saturday, while teammate Maldonado continued to underachieve and will start just behind the Frenchman in twelfth.
McLaren Threaten Top Ten in Spain but Fall Short
Hovering in and around the top ten in practice, and sporting a new livery, the McLaren tandem of Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button demonstrated their car’s race-by-race improvement in Barcelona, but ultimately fell just short of top ten places when both were eliminated in Q2.
The Force isn’t Strong in Hulk and Perez
Still using last season’s car after the release of their ‘b’ spec car was postponed until the Austrian Grand Prix, Force India had a torrid qualifying session in Barcelona, with drivers Hulkenberg and Perez both eliminated in Q1 after suffering from a lack of grip and downforce.
Spanish F1 Grand Prix Betting
Pole-sitter Rosberg is priced at 11/10 with SkyBet and several other firms, while teammate Hamilton is EVENS with Bet Victor. Third on the grid, Ferrari’s Vettel is offered at 10/1 with Bet Victor.
Spanish F1 Grand Prix Betting Tips
The Mercedes car is still quicker than the rest of the field, but the gap between them and the second placed team is closer than it was last season, and the Ferrari car is actually softer on its tyres in comparison to its Mercedes counterpart. Heat works in the Prancing Horse’s favour too, but the bottom line is that eighteen out of twenty-four Spanish Grand Prix have been won by the pole sitter.
Now, if you offered me Hamilton at evens I’d normally snap your hand off, even if he was P2, but the two-time world champion, who looked to have a major mental advantage over Rosberg that was growing race by race, has been outperformed by the German in practice and qualification this weekend, complaining about his car and spinning off the track in FP3.
Indeed, Nico looks to have grown in confidence with those bold passes in Bahrain, and that 18/24 stat – which is the highest ratio of any track on the calendar, including Monaco – is hard to ignore.
There is, however, a long run up to turn one, so Hamilton has time to pass Rosberg. But if Nico tries to block Lewis off, that could allow Vettel to sneak through, and with a well-timed pit stop or two and good tyre management, I’m prepared to chance an e/w bet on the German for a smaller stake, too.
Advised Bet: Rosberg race winner at 11/10 with Ladbrokes
Longshot Bet: Vettel e/w race winner at 10/1 (1/3 odds, 2 places) with Ladbrokes
Tune into Sky Sports F1 from 13:00 on Sunday to watch the action unfold