The 2023 F1 Spanish GP qualifying once again saw Max Verstappen securing pole position for the race on Sunday, June 4.
In an intriguing session where the condition threw off multiple teams and drivers, it was once again the Red Bull driver making no mistakes, keeping his nose clean, and securing pole with a huge margin.
He will be joined on the front row by Carlos Sainz as the Ferrari driver was able to beat stiff competition to secure the result. In P3 was a surprise entry in Lando Norris as the McLaren came alive in the colder conditions. P4 was Pierre Gasly as the French nailed his final lap and extracted every bit of performance from the car.
In a session that saw many of the stalwarts falling by the wayside, who would be happy with everything panned out, and who would be kicking himself? Let's take a look.
2023 F1 Spanish GP Qualifying
All one has to do is look at his teammate Sergio Perez who has missed Q3 three times in seven races in the same car. Max Verstappen is driving the fastest car in F1 but it would be utterly foolish to put down what he's doing to only the car.
Verstappen is the best driver on the grid and the race in Barcelona is just another instance of him proving what he's capable of in F1.
The 2023 F1 Spanish GP is Alonso's home race and unfortunately, this is the race he chose to make a mistake. The trip to the gravel early in the session in very tricky conditions is something that could happen to anyone but the damage was admittedly severe.
The Spaniard was a prime candidate for a front-row start in the 2023 F1 Spanish GP once Perez messed up again but Alonso's trip to gravel damaged the floor of the car and as a result, compromised his qualifying as well.
A podium is still in play but it will be interesting to see how he approaches the race on Sunday.
Is Lando Norris the best of the next generation of drivers in F1? This is the question that does not get asked often because of the horribly poor cars he's had to contend with as compared to those like George Russell and Charles Leclerc.
However, once an opportunity presents itself, Norris is always there to grab it.
Can he secure a podium in the 2023 F1 Spanish GP? It's a tough ask but the fact that we're even discussing it should be a reminder of how highly Norris is rated in the F1 paddock.
Charles Leclerc and George Russell
It does appear that Charles Leclerc's car had something wrong because the mysterious loss of speed could not be explained in any other manner.
As for George Russell, he might need to sit back and take a look at what happened with the car or the tires that he was just unable to keep up with his teammate.
While Lewis Hamilton was smashing the first sector, George was just struggling to hook anything up.
Overall, the race could turn into a damage-control exercise by the looks of it. A disappointing 2023 F1 Spanish GP qualifying session for both drivers.
"Home race, front row, best placed Spaniard", this is how Carlos Sainz is going to describe the 2023 F1 Spanish GP qualifying as he nailed everything in the final lap to come out on top.
It's just too obvious that the Ferrari upgrades have not proved to be a game-changer. The niggling operational issues are there as well.
Carlos, however, kept things simple and deserves credit for the front-row start in the 2023 F1 Spanish GP.
In hindsight, it does appear that Martin Brundle's advice for Sergio Perez was perfect. The F1 pundit had said that from the 2023 F1 Spanish GP onwards, the Mexican needs to focus on coming home second to Max Verstappen in every race.
Once he's able to do that, he could take advantage of the mistakes Verstappen makes and use that to his advantage.
Unfortunately for Sergio Perez, the 2023 F1 Spanish GP qualifying was another exhibit of why the Mexican is not really a challenge for the reigning champion and even the thought of that is laughable at best.