Photo: Red Bull Media House

Spanish GP: Verstappen on pole alongside home-hero Sainz

Max Verstappen is on pole position for the 2023 Spanish Grand Prix.

It will come as no shock to many fans that Max Verstappen claimed the top spot following his dominating performances across all three practice sessions.

To complete the top three it’s the Ferrari of Carlos Sainz and the McLaren of  Lando Norris, as the weather played an unpredictable factor in the session.


As the qualifying got underway, the weather had been a hot topic of conversation amongst the drivers and teams as the rain just about held off as the session began, the track still had many damp patches which the drivers found as they took to the track.

As Q1 started it was Tsunoda who was the first driver to go off the track but managed to pick it back up and continued on his as the track went green again.

The fans were excited as Fernando Alonso took to the track but he had a moment in the final corner but he managed to keep the car moving. Alonso’s fellow hometown hero Carlos Sainz was yet to take to the track as the Ferraris remained in the garage.

Valtteri Bottas then came off the track, as Alex Albon followed soon after, but the cars managed to get moving again. However, a red flag was quickly brought out which saw the session suspended, possibly premature on the bringing out of the red flag but the decision had been made.


As the cars got back to the track following the red flag they all came out on slicks with no drivers opting to go onto the wets.

Cars were still spinning off throughout the rest of Q1 but the times were coming in quick and fast, however, it was about who could master the damp patches of the track would be the ones to end up on top.

With five minutes remaining it was looking close for the Red Bull of Sergio Perez and the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc found themselves sat in the bottom five with Perez just making it into Q2 Leclerc wasn’t as fortunate and qualified in P19.

As the chequered flag dropped for the end of Q1 it was Valtteri Bottas, Kevin Magnussen, Alex Albon, Charles Leclerc and Logan Sargeant who found themselves out of qualifying.


As the teams got set to see if they had the pace to make it to the top 10 shootout it was time for Q2 and as the lights went green for Q2 it was the two Red Bulls who were first to take to the track.

Lewis Hamilton seemed to find his rhythm after taking the top spot in Q1 and continued to find speed throughout the Q2 session.

Perez went flying off into the gravel but managed to continue as he looked to make Q3 following his exit at the first stage of qualifying last week in Monaco.

As Russell backed off, he squeezed Hamilton onto the grass, causing damage to the front wing of the seven-time World Champion.


Sergio Perez and George Russell were the headline names to drop out of qualifying, following the exit of a Ferrari in the first part of the session. Zhou Guanyu and the two Alpha Tauri’s were also eliminated, with Nyck de Vries getting the better of Yuki Tsuonda.


Track conditions remained fairly similar as Q3 got underway, with a lot of work still taking place to the floor of Fernando Alonso’s car following damage earlier in the session.

Alonso was only able to complete one lap in the final part of qualifying and managed to get onto the second row of the grid, before being demoted down to ninth.

Lando Norris impressed by getting his car onto the second row, with a third-place finish as McLaren ran their special ‘Triple Crown’ livery here in Spain like they did in Monaco.

While the hopes of the local Spanish fans may have been on Alonso, it was Carlos Sainz who claimed second place and will start on the front row of the grid.

Pierre Gasly, Lewis Hamilton, Lance Stroll, Esteban Ocon, Nico Hulkenberg, Fernando Alonso and Oscar Piastri rounded out the top ten.

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