Can Mercedes fight for pole position?

( – Spanish Grand Prix qualifying (from 4:00 p.m. F1 live ticker) could become a three-way battle for pole position for the first time this season. Because in addition to favorites Ferrari and Red Bull, Mercedes was also able to confirm his improvement in the last training session on Saturday afternoon in Barcelona.

George Russell closer than expected to the top two teams


George Russell and Lewis Hamilton finished third and fourth with a difference of 0.148 and 0.230 seconds, respectively. In the first sector, Russell set the best time ever, 0.221 seconds short of the fastest time for Charles Leclerc (Ferrari). Newcomer Mercedes lost three tenths of a second in the second sector and a tenth of a second in the third to Leclerc’s best time of 1:19.772.

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Verstappen not satisfied with setup

Second was Max Verstappen (Red Bull/+0.072), who was not satisfied with the setup, at least prior to his qualifying simulation. On the final roll sector with tight chicane, it was understated, he said, “The car is heading terribly.” In fact, at that point he lost 0.137 seconds to Carlos Sainz (Ferrari).

Meanwhile Sainz was the fastest in the latter sector, but in the end he couldn’t improve as much as his direct competitors and fell back to fifth (+0.357). Behind him were Sergio Perez (Red Bull / +0.488), Lando Norris (McLaren / +0.631) and Kevin Magnussen (Haas / +0.874). This left eight drivers within one second.

Marko: Ferrari increase is worrying

Helmut Marko, Red Bull Motorsports advisor, analyzes the ORF report: “We are closer to Ferrari, but we still have problems in Sector 2. It is worrying that Ferrari has solved the problems in the long term. Clerk’s long term has been very consistent. You see the times What compromises can we find on the qualifying lap without sacrificing race performance.”

Toto Wolff warned despite strong Mercedes training

Mercedes finished second and third behind Charles Leclerc in Barcelona’s second match. Team boss Toto Wolff remains cautious.

“Mercedes is there,” the Austrian said. “It will be a close race between us, Mercedes and Ferrari.” He contradicts fellow countryman Alexander Würz with an “ORF” microphone: “I don’t see it that way. I think Mercedes will be two and a half terms behind, and three tenths behind in qualifying.”

For Mick Schumacher, the last training session after an encouraging Friday didn’t go according to plan. He had just completed four laps when he said on the pit radio, “My rear brakes are on!” She came to the right rear garage with the brakes on, the mechanics on hand with a fire extinguisher.

Steiner sees an opportunity for progress in Haas

At the time, Team Leader Gunther Steiner was giving an interview from the command post. He initially expressed satisfaction: “We can drive very low without ‘recoiling’. You can see that because the sparks are flying. We’ve made good progress there,” he happily said on ‘ORF’ until he saw Schumacher’s car.

Before that, Pierre Gasly suffered the same fate. The Frenchman had only completed one install cycle when he got back into the pits with his ass smoked and had to get out and watch. Although the mechanics went to work immediately, neither Gasly nor Schumacher could drive again after the accident.

Haas: Explain the cause of the fire

In Haas, the reason is now known: “The wire brakes were overheated and caught fire,” according to Steiner. “But we don’t yet know if it’s electronic or mechanical, what exactly caused that. The damage is very extensive. We may have to change the entire transmission unit with suspension and wings.”

Red Bull, and more precisely a completely revamped Aston Martin, were not able to put themselves in the spotlight in their last training session. Sebastian Vettel came in 12th, while Lance Stroll ranked 16th, behind the best time: 1.172 and 1.748 seconds respectively.

Tires are a big topic in qualifying

In any case, it will be “very difficult” for the drivers in qualifying, Williams boss Joost Capito predicts on Sky: “One day you need a car with a lot of downforce. Our car doesn’t have that, so it doesn’t necessarily fit the track. Our car on the other hand, in these temperatures, it’s a cooling problem.”

“And there is also a problem with the tyres. Qualifying tires don’t even last for full fast laps. This becomes a problem. You have to protect the tires in Sector 1 of the fast qualifying cycle so that you can still use Round 3,” Capito says.

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