July 16, 2024
Lando Norris

Lando Norris is gunning for his second F1 win (Image: Getty Images)

Max Verstappen and Red Bull faced competition from the likes of Lewis Hamilton, Charles Leclerc and Lando Norris in qualifying while home hero Fernando Alonso failed to make the top 10

Hours after a blaze in McLaren’s hospitality unit, Lando Norris was the one on fire as he pipped Max Verstappen to pole in Barcelona.

The Red Bull driver looked as though he had done enough to get back to the front of the grid for the first time since Imola. But for the third race in a row he was denied as Norris snatched top spot by just two-hundredths of a second. And Lewis Hamilton outqualified team-mate George Russell for just the second time this year to secure third on the grid.

The result also means the last four F1 pole-sitters have all represented different teams. Since Verstappen was on top of the timesheets in Imola, Charles Leclerc wowed his home fans in Monaco for Ferrari while Mercedes’ Russell did the business two weeks ago in Montreal.

There was disappointment for the locals though as neither of the Spanish drivers on the grid were in contention for pole. Carlos Sainz managed only sixth, one place behind team-mate Leclerc, while Fernando Alonso failed to even make it to Q3.

Red Bull’s sister team RB have had a great season so far and their hopes were high heading into this weekend with upgraded cars. But they had a horrible day and saw both cars marooned down in the bottom five with Yuki Tsunoda and Daniel Ricciardo both baffled by their lack of pace.

Williams had it even worse and had the two slowest cars on track, Alex Albon getting the better only of his team-mate Logan Sargeant. The American had the chance to knock out Lance Stroll but couldn’t go faster and that meant Kevin Magnussen was also eliminated.

There was huge disappointment among the locals as Alonso fell at the next hurdle. He could only manage to go 11th fastest and missed out on a Q3 berth by just one-hundredth of a second – but Sainz at least made sure Spain would be represented in Q3.

Lewis Hamilton
Firefighters work to put out the fire in the McLaren hospitality unit ( Image: AFP via Getty Images)

The same could not be said for Finland, Germany, Canada or China. Valtteri Bottas, Nico Hulkenberg, Stroll and Zhou Guanyu were the others to get knocked out in Q2 as both Alpine cars surprisingly made it into the top 10 as their improved form continued.

McLaren will have felt happy to just be involved in qualifying after a fire in their hospitality unit earlier in the day which led to one staff member being taken to hospital. Oscar Piastri made it to Q3 but failed to complete a flying lap which meant he had to settle for 10th on the grid.

But there were beaming smiles and whoops of joy on the McLaren pit wall as Norris crossed the line last of everyone and leapfrogged Verstappen’s best time. It was also a day to remember for Mercedes who locked out the second row with Hamilton one place ahead of Russell.

Full 2024 Spanish Grand Prix qualifying result
Lando Norris – McLaren
Max Verstappen – Red Bull
Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes
George Russell – Mercedes
Charles Leclerc – Ferrari
Carlos Sainz – Ferrari
Pierre Gasly – Alpine
Sergio Perez – Red Bull**
Esteban Ocon – Alpine
Oscar Piastri – McLaren
Fernando Alonso – Aston Martin
Valtteri Bottas – Sauber
Nico Hulkenberg – Haas
Lance Stroll – Aston Martin
Zhou Guanyu – Sauber
Kevin Magnussen – Haas
Yuki Tsunoda – RB
Daniel Ricciardo – RB
Alexander Albon – Williams
Logan Sargeant – Williams

**Three-place grid penalty to be applied.

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