Monegasque Charles Leclerc (Ferrari), at the top of the driver standings, took pole position in the Spanish Formula 1 Grand Prix on Saturday, his fourth in six races this season.
On the Barcelona-Catalonia circuit in Montmelo, he will start on Sunday alongside Dutchman Max Verstappen (Red Bull), his rival in the general classification and winner of the last GP in Miami, and ahead of his teammate, Spaniard Carlos Sainz Jr. ., third.
Determined to widen his lead, he had already dominated the first two free practice sessions on Friday.
“I am wary of Red Bull and Max,” said the person concerned at the microphone of Canal +.
“I couldn't do my last lap, but being on the front line (…) is good.
Obviously, I would have liked to go for pole, ”reacted the reigning world champion, who is currently 19 units behind the leader.
🗨️ @Charles_Leclerc: "I'm wary of Red Bull and Max"
The poleman's reaction after qualifying 👇#SpanishGP 🇪🇸 #F1 ▶️ https://t.co/7plkVVV12v pic.twitter.com/SyFZjXqHq5
– CANAL+ F1® (@CanalplusF1) May 21, 2022
If the statistics observed on the Catalan circuit give Leclerc the advantage for the moment - since during 23 out of 31 GPs, the winner started from pole - the Ferrari driver fears that his tires will come to play the trouble- holidays.
"I'm in a good position but we had difficulties with the tires and if we don't manage (them) well, we will lose the victory", he has already warned.
Mercedes in progress
Under temperatures exceeding 34 degrees in the air and 45 degrees on the track, Mercedes, in difficulty at the start of the 2022 season, the year of the entry into force of a brand new technical regulation, has attempted a change by removing the pontoons from its single-seaters.
A strategy that seems to have paid off since the start of the weekend since under the eyes of tennis champion Roger Federer, seen in the garage of the German team, George Russell set the 4th time and Lewis Hamilton the 6th behind the Red Bull of Sergio Pérez, who will start in 5th position.
“We are progressing (…) the car is no longer bouncing in a straight line which is a huge difference.
We still have some improvements to make,” said Hamilton.
Far from the leading men, the French Esteban Ocon (Alpine) and Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri) snatch the 12th and 14th times.
Earlier in the day, the AlphaTauri driver had not recorded any time during the last free practice session due to his engine overheating at the start of the session.
The controversy that agitates F1
This weekend in Catalonia, an unmissable event of the season, is always an opportunity to test improvements compared to the start of the season.
In this little game, Aston Martin's AMR22 has been in the spotlight since the start of the weekend for its improvements in Barcelona, which are strangely similar to the Red Bulls.
The Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) deemed these improvements to be compliant on Friday, but Red Bull today suspects a "transfer of intellectual property" and will launch an internal investigation.
In recent months, several members of Red Bull, including chief aerodynamicist Dan Fallows, have left the Austrian team to join Aston Martin.