Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton clinched his fourth pole position of the season and first in the Spanish Grand Prix, on Saturday. Championship leader Nico Rosberg closely matched his teammate in the qualifying on the Circuit de Catalunya and was second in the sister car, as Mercedes locked the front row of the grid once again this season.
Rosberg outpaced Hamilton in Q1 and Q2 but the Brit delivered a searing lap in the dying moments of Q3 to clinch the pole.
"On that final run, I really had to eke out everything and more from the car and myself to get pole and I'm so happy that I managed it," Hamilton said. "The hard work from the team and the development step we have made this weekend are totally inspiring for me - I haven't experienced this level of performance before."
Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo (1:26.285) finished on P3, closely followed by Valtteri Bottas (1:26.632) in the Williams and Romain Grosjean (1:26.960) in the Lotus.
"Without putting too much attention on Mercedes, I'm happy with what I'm doing, so I think today was pretty good and I wasn't too disappointed with the lap," Ricciardo stressed.
In the battle for sixth position, Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen (1:27.104) edged teammate Fernando Alonso (1:27.140) for the first time this season, by just 0.036 seconds. McLaren's Jenson Button (1:27.335) finished eighth, while Brazilian Felipe Massa (1:27.402) was ninth in the Williams.
Reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel suffered a gearbox issue in the qualifying, which stopped him from setting the time in Q3. The Red Bull driver will start the race from 15th place, after receiving a five-place grid penalty for changing the gearbox.
"I left the garage for Q3 and lost drive in second gear; I still had third gear and above so we thought we could do the lap with that, but by Turn 1 I had lost all the other gears, so we couldn't continue," Vettel pointed out.
For the first time this season, neither of the Force India cars managed Q3. Nico Hulkenberg missed out by a narrow margin to Alonso and finished on 11th place, followed by Sergio Perez. Both Hulkenberg and Perez will gain one place each, thanks to Vettel's gearbox penalty.
"I think the race will be all about getting the strategy choice right because it's so difficult to overtake on this track. Our race pace is looking promising so we have a chance to get back some positions tomorrow," Perez stated.
Lotus' Pastor Maldonado was the only causality of the day as his car lost the control and struck the inner wall out of turn three in the first qualifying session.
"We were quite competitive today in terms of pace and kept improving throughout the weekend," Maldonado said. "With tyres available for the race we can work on the strategy and hopefully recover places on Sunday."
Where to Watch Live:
Formula One: Spanish GP Live Streaming Information
Race starts: 2:00 pm local time, 5:30 pm IST, 12:00 pm GMT
|India||Star Sports 4, Star Sports HD2|
|United Kingdom||BBC, Sky Sports|
|Middle East and North Africa||Bein Sports Arabia|
|Germany, Italy||Sky Sport|
|UK||HERE or HERE or HERE|
|Germany and Italy||HERE or HERE|