Spanish Grand Prix Qualifying: Hamilton on POLE in Mercedes front row

13 May, 2018, 02:00 | Author: Rafael Roberts
  • Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton has put his first pole-position since the opening round of the year down to his team's open-minded attitude in improving Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport's W09. I expected Red Bull actually today would be faster in qualifying.

Sebastian Vettel, who trails Hamilton by four points in the drivers' standings, kept Ferrari close in the morning session, but Red Bull was the main challenger to Mercedes in the afternoon. It is now more challenging and you see us more exhausted after the race.

'We should be asked what we need to overtake.

"I find it comical, ' Vettel said".

Max Verstappen won the intra-team battle at Red Bull, finishing ahead of Daniel Ricciardo by just 0.003s. 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. "It sounds unusual that you can be happy with P19, but actually I'm happy".

But the reigning world champion admitted his Azerbaijan GP triumph did not feel as sweet due to the circumstances - Bottas suffered a puncture and Vettel locked up - and Hamilton is determined to win in a different manner on Sunday. His time was only good enough for 16th. "But that's the exciting bit going into the race, I know that we will be quick but I know that the others will be quick too". Teammate Romain Grosjean is 10th on the grid. Spanish drivers Kevin Magnussen of Haas and Fernando Alonso of McLaren finished seventh and eighth respectively in qualifying, while Renault's Carlos Sainz beat Romain Grosjean in the second Haas vehicle to finish ninth.

He had to retire and lost a lot of track time. "So that's a positive thing".

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Renault's Nico Hulkenberg was outqualified by his team-mate Sainz for the first time this year.

There was some disquiet with the rear-view mirrors Ferrari mounted on the halos.

Brendon Hartley of Toro Rosso did not make it to qualifying because the team was not able to fix his auto after a crash in the final minutes of Saturday's practice.

A hard 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.

"In the end it's hard to say that it was enjoyable because our vehicle balance was very bad and it was very hard to drive, so it was hard to enjoy", Kubica said.

But their current line-up of Lance Stroll, the Canadian teenager whose career has been bankrolled by his fashion billionaire father Lawrence, and Russian Sergey Sirotkin, is possibly the worst in the team's history. Verstappen also went off the track, as did Raikkonen shortly before enduring the mechanical problem.

The exact timing of the race would be subject to further discussions, but Formula One has said that it hopes to stage the inaugural Miami Grand Prix in October 2019.

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