Lewis Hamilton takes 100th pole in Spanish GP despite being 1.2 seconds slower than last years’ time

Lewis Hamilton cruised to his 100th pole position of his career at the Spanish GP after edging out Max Verstappen who starts second.

Mercedes have won nearly every Spanish GP since 2013, but the regulation changes have meant their car is 1.2 seconds slower than last year.

Qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix gives the best comparison between the 2020 and 2021 spec cars. The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya has a mixture of slow and medium-speed corners, as well as a long straight, testing every scenario for the cars. New regulations came in this season which resulted in teams losing up to 10% of rear downforce, consequently, no car improved on last year’s lap times.

The graph below shows that half of the teams are between five and six tenths slower than last year.

Ferrari are the biggest winners as their car struggled last season due to a poor-performing engine. Improvements to their aerodynamics and engine has seen them lose just three tenths over a lap. At this track last year Ferrari were the sixth fastest car. They are now the third fastest as Charles Leclerc starts fourth.  

Aston Martin and Haas see the biggest deficit, both 1.5 seconds slower than last year. Aston Martin have failed to regain the downforce under the new regulations and have fallen towards the back of the grid. Haas have put two rookies in their undeveloped car which has seen them become the slowest car on the grid.  

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