Hamilton ends Vettel's pole run in Spain

Hamilton ends Vettel's pole run in Spain

This meant that Germany's four-time champion Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari, who trails Briton Hamilton by four points after the opening four races of the season, was pushed down to fourth ahead of Bottas and fellow-Finn Kimi Raikkonen of Ferrari.

"It will be close", he said.

"Ferrari was probably sandbagging just because they could, they've always had a very quick vehicle". It is a shame it is only four-hundredths, but it is good for the team. Alonso often starts well in Spain, and as the only driver on super-softs he should get a better launch from the line than the rest of the top ten.

Mercedes will hope that can bring a sixth consecutive pole position in Barcelona but Red Bull look particularly competitive, Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo lapping four tenths faster than Hamilton on soft tyres.

"Since the last race I have not thought for one second that I am leading the world championship".

Hamilton has secured three poles in Barcelona, in contrast to Vettel's haul of zero, and has started on the front row in every edition of the Spanish race since 2012.

Most teams brought significant updates to Barcelona, which marks the beginning of the European season in F1.

"If this weekend, we happen to get on top of the issues we have with the vehicle and start to be more consistent, then I will be a lot happier because I know then I can punch either at my weight or a little bit above". Only Hamilton finished faster than the pair during the second practice session on Friday.

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Magnussen qualified seventh. Grosjean was 10th in Q3, despite only being 0.2s adrift of his team-mate's time. We are back in a part of the world where Formula One has real traction and relevance.

Nico Hulkenberg was a surprise victim in Q1 as a fuel pressure problem left the German scrambling to set a time.

There was some disquiet with the rear-view mirrors Ferrari mounted on the halos, with motorsport governing body FIA looking into a possible breach of regulations.

It was Hamilton's first victory of a season during which his team have struggled to optimise his vehicle and tyre performance at every race except the season opener in Australia.

His team-mate Brendon Hartley was not able to qualify as the team was unable to fix his auto in time following his crash in FP3.

Lance Stroll continued to struggle with Williams, going off track in the final minutes of qualifying.

Vettel agreed, but then with the Saturday sweeties to come, he is never overly troubled by Friday's returns "It has been a tricky day with the tyres".

Ricciardo, who crashed with Verstappen in Azerbaijan, had a tough start to his weekend in Barcelona by hitting a tire barrier midway through the first session, losing a lot of track time.

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