Lewis Hamilton beats Valtteri Bottas to pole for Spanish Grand Prix

first_imgToro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly was 12th. Force India’s Esteban Ocon and Sergio Pérez were 13th and 15th respectively. Sauber’s Charles Leclerc once again did well to make it to Q2 and finished 14th.A difficult weekend for Williams, who were well off the pace, was compounded when Lance Stroll crashed in Q3, going wide on the exit of turn 12. His team-mate Sergey Sirotkin was 18th but has a three-place grid penalty from the last race. Renault’s Nico Hülkenberg was 16th and Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson 17th.Brendon Hartley in the Toro Rosso crashed at turn nine in final practice and his car was extensively damaged. He did not take part in qualifying and will start from the back of the grid. Reuse this content Topics Share on Pinterest Support The Guardian Sign up to The Recap, our weekly email of editors’ picks. Share on WhatsApp Formula One … we have a small favour to ask. More people, like you, are reading and supporting the Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we made the choice to keep our reporting open for all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford to pay.The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We hope you will consider supporting us today. We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism that’s open and independent. Every reader contribution, however big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. Since you’re here… Share on LinkedIn Pinterest Facebook Share on Messengercenter_img The Observer There was no sense of complacency and far from any suggestion that anything except a long, hard battle lies ahead for Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes at Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix. Yet it was hard not to discern a sense of relief and satisfaction after he claimed pole position and in doing so completed a powerful demonstration both of his skill and the fact Mercedes are very much still a force to be reckoned with.Hamilton’s 74th career pole is a return to form just when he needed it, having been outpaced over the single lap at Bahrain and China by his team-mate Valtteri Bottas – who was second here – and by Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, who took pole in the last three races but was third in Spain.“It was important for me to get back in to a good position in qualifying, as it is usually a strength of mine,” Hamilton said. “I’m happy with that. For the team it’s been a struggle. I’m sure there have been a lot of people with nerves over the past few races, just not really understanding, constantly learning but feeling we’re not learning quick enough. So to come here and get the one-two in qualifying is a true show of all the hard work everyone is doing.” He warned, however, that the serious business lay ahead: “We have a lot of work to do tomorrow, it is going to be a tough race,”Hamilton has been desperate to reassert himself over the single lap and with his Mercedes finally performing as expected he managed it superbly. He set a blistering lap on his first run in Q3 and with the pressure on promptly improved, taking pole with a time of 1min 16.173sec. He needed to perform at his best, pushed to the line by Bottas who was four-hundredths back with Vettel a tenth down, in front of his team-mate Kimi Räikkönen.At the heart of the revival is the rather arcane science of putting the tyres in to their correct temperature operating window, a problem that generated its own heat on Saturday. After blistering affected the rubber in testing here, Pirelli are using a tyre with a thinner tread, less susceptible to overheating.Mercedes principally have struggled with it, while Vettel suggested the new rubber was to Ferrari’s disadvantage. “The tyres this weekend are different because obviously we had the change, it’s for everyone, but I think they are a bit harder,” he said.Toto Wolff dismissed claims it had been implemented for Mercedes’s benefit as “bollocks”. Nonetheless the grip and balance that had eluded Hamilton for the past three races had been unlocked.Hamilton has a narrow four-point lead over Vettel and will be buoyed by the fact that the team have the car performing as needed at the opening of the European season, describing it as “a relief” that they finally had the tyres working after second practice.Ferrari did not have the quite the pace of their rivals over the single lap but practice form suggests they will be competitive in race pace. It is Mercedes, however, who start as strong favourites. Their performance was similar to their one in Australia, where Hamilton proved ominously dominant. The job is by no means complete but they can be rightly optimistic of starting on the very front foot for only the second time this season.The two Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo were fifth and sixth. McLaren put a car into Q3 for the first time this season with Fernando Alonso in eighth; his team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne went out in 11th. Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean were seventh and 10th for Haas with the Renault of Carlos Sainz Jr ninth. Share via Email Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Twitter Motor sport Hamilton snaps a selfie after taking pole. Photograph: Pierre-Philippe Marcou/AFP/Getty Images news Max Verstappen laughs off Baku backlash and readies Spanish riposte Formula One 2018 Read morelast_img read more

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