F1 Spanish GP qualifying - Start time, how to watch & more

Lewis Hamilton led the Friday practice times ahead of Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas at the Formula 1 Spanish Grand Prix. Here’s how and when to watch qualifying.

F1 Spanish GP qualifying - Start time, how to watch & more

The reigning F1 world champion battled back after Bottas topped FP1 to set the fastest time of the day in the afternoon session, with Hamilton posting a 1m18.170s during a soft tyre run.

Bottas completed a Mercedes 1-2 in FP2, 0.139s off Hamilton’s top time, but was just 0.026s ahead of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc in an incredibly competitive top group, with the top 14 drivers covered by less than one second.

After running wide and catching a snap of oversteer during his qualifying-style run on the soft tyres, Max Verstappen dropped down to ninth place in the FP2 times for Red Bull with his fastest lap time recorded on the medium tyres.

It was also a difficult day over a single lap for Verstappen’s team-mate Sergio Perez, who could only manage 10th place in the second session at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya for Red Bull.

Alpine can take encouragement from its Friday showing with Esteban Ocon in fourth and Fernando Alonso in fifth in FP2, with a similarly solid showing by AlphaTauri with Pierre Gasly in sixth and Yuki Tsunoda in seventh.

Carlos Sainz Jr slotted into eighth place for Ferrari ahead of his home race, with the two Red Bull drivers rounding out the top 10.

While there were no major incidents in FP2, the morning session was briefly red-flagged when Alfa Romeo test driver Robert Kubica – stepping in for Kimi Raikkonen – spun into the gravel at the reprofiled Turn 10. Nikita Mazepin also spun early in FP1 exiting Turn 7 but avoided any serious damage.

Robert Kubica, Alfa Romeo Racing C41, brings out the red flags in FP1 by beaching his car in the gravel

Robert Kubica, Alfa Romeo Racing C41, brings out the red flags in FP1 by beaching his car in the gravel

Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

What time does qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix start?

Qualifying for the Spanish GP starts at 3pm local time (2pm BST), using the regular Q1, Q2 and Q3 knockout session format.

Date: Saturday 8th May 2021
Start time: 3pm local time - 2pm BST

How can I watch qualifying?

In the United Kingdom, every F1 practice, qualifying and race is broadcast live on Sky Sports F1, with Spanish GP qualifying coverage starting at 1pm BST.

Autosport will be running a live text coverage of qualifying here.

Mick Schumacher, Haas VF-21

Mick Schumacher, Haas VF-21

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

When can I watch the highlights?

In the United Kingdom, Channel 4 is broadcasting highlights of qualifying for the Spanish GP at 6:30pm BST on Saturday. The full programme will run for 90 minutes, covering both qualifying and wrapping up the major talking points of the race weekend so far.

For the entire 2021 F1 season, Channel 4 will broadcast highlights of every qualifying and race on the Saturday and Sunday of each event. The highlights will also be available on Channel 4’s on demand catch up services.

· Channel: Channel 4

· Start time: 6:30pm BST

Will it be on the radio?

Live radio coverage of every practice, qualifying and race for the 2021 F1 season will be available on BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC 5 Live Sports Extra or via the BBC Sport website.

Coverage of the Spanish GP qualifying will start at 1:55pm BST on the BBC 5 Live Sports Extra channel.

Carlos Sainz Jr., Ferrari SF21

Carlos Sainz Jr., Ferrari SF21

Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

What's the weather forecast for qualifying in Barcelona?

Sunny but cloudy conditions are forecast for Saturday afternoon at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya but it is expected to remain dry throughout. Temperatures are set to be 24 degrees Celsius at the start of qualifying – around six degrees warmer than qualifying for the Portuguese GP.

Will there be fans at the Spanish GP?

Due to ongoing COVID-19 restrictions, only 1000 fans will be allowed at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya and only on Sunday 9 May to coincide with the easing of restrictions. The fans allowed to attend will be selected at random from the circuit’s membership group. No fans will be allowed at the circuit on any other day during the Spanish GP.

FP2 result

Cla Driver Chassis Gap
1 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton Mercedes  
2 Finland Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 0.139
3 Monaco Charles Leclerc Ferrari 0.165
4 France Esteban Ocon Alpine 0.296
5 Spain Fernando Alonso Alpine 0.348
6 France Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri 0.423
7 Japan Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri 0.449
8 Spain Carlos Sainz Jr. Ferrari 0.504
9 Netherlands Max Verstappen Red Bull 0.615
10 Mexico Sergio Perez Red Bull 0.748
11 Germany Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin 0.777
12 United Kingdom Lando Norris McLaren 0.922
13 Italy Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo 0.952
14 Canada Lance Stroll Aston Martin 0.964
15 Australia Daniel Ricciardo McLaren 1.025
16 Finland Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo 1.043
17 United Kingdom George Russell Williams 1.787
18 Canada Nicholas Latifi Williams 1.876
19 Germany Mick Schumacher Haas 2.156
20 Russian Federation Nikita Mazepin Haas 2.583

FP1 result

Cla Driver Chassis Gap
1 Finland Valtteri Bottas Mercedes  
2 Netherlands Max Verstappen Red Bull 0.033
3 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 0.123
4 United Kingdom Lando Norris McLaren 0.440
5 Monaco Charles Leclerc Ferrari 0.492
6 Spain Carlos Sainz Jr. Ferrari 0.516
7 France Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri 0.558
8 Germany Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin 0.730
9 Mexico Sergio Perez Red Bull 0.845
10 Canada Lance Stroll Aston Martin 0.925
11 Japan Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri 1.165
12 France Esteban Ocon Alpine 1.177
13 Italy Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo 1.190
14 Australia Daniel Ricciardo McLaren 1.228
15 Spain Fernando Alonso Alpine 1.446
16 Canada Nicholas Latifi Williams 1.766
17 Israel Roy Nissany Williams 2.196
18 Germany Mick Schumacher Haas 2.262
19 Poland Robert Kubica Alfa Romeo 3.383
20 Russian Federation Nikita Mazepin Haas 3.472
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