F1: Hamilton on pole as Mercedes lock out Spanish GP front row

F1: Hamilton on pole as Mercedes lock out Spanish GP front row

Hamilton suggested earlier in the weekend that Ferrari had been "sandbagging" in practice, and repeated the claim, albeit more jokingly, after his qualifying success - with Sebastian Vettel coming up just 0.132s short of pole on a late soft-tyre run.

Bottas is fourth in the Driver's Championship on forty points, some thirty points behind team-mate (and current leader) Hamilton.

Meanwhile, Fernando Alonso believes McLaren have a "realistic" shot of reaching Q3 for the first time this season after the team debuted an extensive upgrade package for the Spaniard's home race.

"Well, we've had one pole", Hamilton said.

Simpler front wings are the crux of a new aero regulation forced through at the last minute for next season, to make cars easier to follow and try to increase overtaking. Things didn't go almost as well for many other top drivers, though, as Valtteri Botas blew a tyre in the final stages, while Red Bull teammates Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen each failed to finish the race for the second time this season.

Lewis Hamilton admitted it was "important" for him and Mercedes to return to the front row of the grid after taking pole for the Spanish GP on Saturday. Ferrari had looked strong but could not quite match their rivals. We are a bit behind schedule on the updates but the important thing is that we will have new parts for all the races from now on. "It was very close but I'm very happy".

Raikkonen lost time after a wobble at Turn 1 on his first Q3 run and then chose to switch from supersofts to softs for his second and final attempt. "If this weekend we start to get on top of the issues we have had and we are more consistent then l will be a lot happier".

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"I think it was exceptional that Mercedes was struggling in the last events as much as they were but thinner thread, basically the tyres are harder so we still have the same tyres if you look at the colours but they're harder than they're used to be".

While Vettel was a quarter of a second behind Hamilton, Raikkonen was a further three-tenths back of the pacesetter.

"It was good to work the SuperSoft tyre a bit better today, it felt like a better tyre for us so we have made some good progress in that area".

"It wasn't bad but we needed more laps".

"Hopefully we see some action and we take benefit from that". Sauber's Charles Leclerc once again did well to make it to Q2 and finished in 14th place.

"We made some changes for FP2 which didn't improve the auto", he revealed. "Hats off to Mercedes but I think tomorrow will be a close race".

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