But perhaps none more so than Fernando Alonso who, at his home race, was eliminated surprisingly early.

Charles Leclerc continued his sensational F1 qualifying form by securing the 13th pole position of his career and first in Barcelona after recovering from a spin in Q3.

Red Bull will be fancying their chances from second-place on the grid with reigning F1 champion Max Verstappen, who had the best race pace of anyone on Friday.

But it was a day to forget for some drivers…

Fernando Alonso - qualified 17th

After showing impressive pace throughout Friday practice, not many would have expected Fernando Alonso to be out in Q1 in front of his adoring Spanish fans.

A lacklustre first lap left Alonso outside of the top 10, trailing Alpine teammate Esteban Ocon who opted not to do a second lap in the opening part of qualifying.

Alonso found himself in the elimination zone and was unable to set a lap at the end of the session as traffic proved to be an issue.

The Spaniard was coming into the final chicane but found a slow-moving Norris ahead of him, with the McLaren driver setting up for a lap of his own.

With limited time on the clock, Alonso didn’t have enough time to back off and prepare his tyres, meaning he was knocked out in Q1 for the first time in front of his home fans.

Speaking after the session, Alonso took the blame along with the team for not managing the situation better.

The two-time champion will have a lot of work to do to add to his measly points tally of two on Sunday.

Lando Norris - qualified 11th

Lando Norris was a surprise elimination in Q2 at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, but it wasn’t entirely pace-related.

Norris found himself in Q3 initially but had his best effort deleted for exceeding track limits at Turn 12.

Norris’ early exit means his impressive streak of out-qualifying teammate Daniel Ricciardo at nine consecutive grands prix has ended.

F1 Spanish GP qualifying was a day to remember for…

Charles Leclerc - qualified 1st

Leclerc’s 13th pole position of his career might be his best as he once again beat title rival Verstappen over one lap in Barcelona.

The Monegasque was down in 10th without a time on the board after he lost control of his Ferrari at the tricky final chicane.

While all this was happening, Verstappen surged to the top of the timesheets with a mighty 1m19.073s - the quickest lap any driver had done at that point in the weekend.

It’s not the first mistake or spin we’ve seen from Leclerc this season. Think back to Imola when he spun while chasing down Sergio Perez

Even with no margin for error, Leclerc put together a breathtaking lap - a 1m18.750s - to secure pole position by over 0.3s.

Granted, Verstappen wasn’t able to complete his final lap due to a DRS issue but Red Bull team principal Christian Horner conceded after qualifying that even with a second lap, the Dutchman wouldn’t have been able to topple Leclerc.

If there were any doubts that Leclerc couldn’t handle the pressure, he quickly shut them down with his final effort in Q3.

Whether he will have the advantage over Verstappen on race day remains another story after Red Bull seemed to have better tyre wear in FP2.

George Russell - qualified 4th

George Russell’s stunning start to life with Mercedes continued in Spain as he secured the team’s best qualifying position of the season to date.

The German team appears to have got on top of the porpoising issue with both Russell and Lewis Hamilton in a joyful mood after Friday practice.

While the gap to Ferrari remains significant - Russell was around six-tenths off Leclerc in Q3 - it was a positive step forward for Mercedes where they can now focus on putting performance on the car, rather than trying to understand the porpoising phenomenon.

In terms of Russell, he was consistently quicker than teammate Hamilton this weekend which is an impressive achievement given the seven-time champion’s incredible record in Barcelona.

Russell tended to be the fastest of anyone in the first sector which should bode well for the race given that’s the only sector where you can realistically overtake at.

With Mercedes showing strong race pace on Friday, Russell might fancy his chances of securing another podium on race day.

Kevin Magnussen - qualified 8th

Kevin Magnussen’s remarkable F1 return keeps getting better with the Dane qualifying a superb eighth for Haas in Barcelona. 

Magnussen’s qualifying performance deserves a lot of plaudits given that Haas were the only team on the grid not to introduce any upgrades for this weekend’s Spanish GP. 

The Dane had a significant margin once again over Haas teammate Mick Schumacher, while he was left to rue a DRS-related issue in Q3, which cost him any shot of securing seventh at Valtteri Bottas’ expense.

Magnussen will be hopeful Haas’ race pace will be competitive enough to hold onto another top 10 finish given its tyre degradation woes in recent races.

A shoutout to Schumacher as well - who progressed into Q3 for the first time in his F1 career, putting two Haas cars inside the top 10 for the first time since the 2019 Brazilian Grand Prix.