Wolff: Verstappen must be seen as favourite for race

Wolff: Verstappen must be seen as favourite for race

After narrowly securing a record-extending 92nd career pole position at the Spanish Grand Prix on Saturday, world champion Lewis Hamilton is ideally placed to move one step closer to Michael Schumacher's record of 91 wins in Formula One.

Bottas did his utmost on his second run, but it was not enough to overhaul Hamilton's lap time and the Briton was on pole before he completed his flying lap.

The sport's governing body has sent a letter to the teams indicating that from the Belgian Grand Prix at the end of this month, teams must use the same engine modes for both qualifying and the race.

Vettel's pace had improved after a hard two weekends at Silverstone, but he was just over 0.2secs slower than Leclerc in the second session and missed out on the top 10 by just 0.002secs.

With a few minutes remaining, all the drivers, bar the Racing Points and Romain Grosjean (Haas) went out on track.

Also eliminated in Q2 were Alpha Tauri's Daniil Kvyat, Renault's Daniel Ricciardo, Alfa Romeo's Kimi Raikkonen and Renault's Esteban Ocon.

"I think each first lap was strong, which I was really happy with - the one in Q3 was solid, but I felt like I could improve, wasn't able to do it on the second lap but fortunately neither did the strong dude (Bottas) next to me".

But the Mercedes freight train was on its rails halfway through the session, with Bottas and Hamilton resuming their dominance, with the Finn just edging his teammate by 0.353s thanks to a lap in 1m17.971s. Alex Albon, Verstappen's team mate, put his name next to the third slot but was quickly kicked off his perch by several drivers, including Verstappen.

"Also, there's a little bit of a gust always in the afternoon here in Barcelona so it makes it a tricky session".

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain steers his auto during a practice session prior to the Formula One Grand Prix at the Barcelona Catalunya racetrack in Montmelo, Spain, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2020. He ended it in the last place.

Red Bull's Max Verstappen, who is second in the overall standing 30 points behind Hamilton, was 0.708sec back in third.

It also suggests Article 27.1 of the Sporting Regulations, which states that a driver must drive the auto alone and unaided, could be breached, although it's not exactly clear how that rule applies. To an extent, it probably did work, because Lance Stroll and Sergio Perez qualified fourth and fifth, respectively.

Hamilton thus topped the session from Bottas, Verstappen and Sainz.

"It's the first time I've been here in Barcelona when it's been this hot".

Bottas was ahead of Hamilton on the first two splits but lost a fraction of time when he came out too wide from a turn at the end of his lap.

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