Hamilton claims pole to lead Mercedes one-two

British driver Lewis Hamilton sets a blistering pace during qualifying at the Barcelona-Catalunya circuit. The Mercedes driver will start first on the grid in today's race.
British driver Lewis Hamilton sets a blistering pace during qualifying at the Barcelona-Catalunya circuit. The Mercedes driver will start first on the grid in today's race.PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

BARCELONA • Lewis Hamilton grabbed his first pole position in three races ahead of his Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg with a thrilling revival of his speed in yesterday's qualifying session for today's Spanish Grand Prix.

The three-time defending world champion, who trails Rosberg by 43 points in the title race, revived his quickest form with a stunning showing in both Q2 and Q3.

He ended up with a best lap in 1min 22sec, 0.28sec ahead of Rosberg's fastest lap on a day when teenager Max Verstappen demonstrated just why he was promoted, so unexpectedly, by Red Bull.

The 18-year-old Dutchman was second-fastest at one point and his speed inspired his Red Bull team-mate, Australian Daniel Ricciardo, who responded by qualifying third ahead of him on the grid.

This meant the two Red Bulls separated Mercedes from their main rivals Ferrari, who were pushed back to fifth and sixth, with Finn Kimi Raikkonen edging ahead of four-time champion Sebastian Vettel in the final seconds.

  • SPANISH GRAND PRIX GRID

  • 1st row

    1. Lewis Hamilton (Gbr) Mercedes

    2. Nico Rosberg (Ger) Mercedes

  • 2nd row

    3. Daniel Ricciardo (Aus) Red Bull

    4. Max Verstappen (Ned) Red Bull

  • 3rd row

    5. Kimi Raikkonen (Fin) Ferrari

    6. Sebastian Vettel (Ger) Ferrari

  • 4th row

    7. Valtteri Bottas (Fin) Williams

    8. Carlos Sainz Jr (Esp) Toro Rosso

  • 5th row

    9. Sergio Perez (Mex) Force India

    10. Fernando Alonso (Esp) McLaren

  • Selected

    12. Jenson Button (Gbr) McLaren

    13. Daniil Kvyat (Rus) Toro Rosso

  • REUTERS

Ricciardo had nothing but praise for his new team-mate Verstappen, saying: "Max was doing really good and we're both on the second run which is really awesome. It took a bit of time to come. I knew I had the pace but I had not got it altogether, but I did what I had to do."

Valtteri Bottas was seventh for Williams ahead of Spaniard Carlos Sainz in the leading Toro Rosso, Mexican Sergio Perez of Force India and the home hero, two-time champion Fernando Alonso of McLaren.

Hamilton's success brought him his third pole this year, his second in Spain and the 52nd of his career.

The Briton said: "I'm very, very happy with getting the lap. Nico has been very strong all weekend so it has been one step at a time trying to bring the pace together.

"I want to say a big thanks to the team for working so hard over the last two weeks to try and rectify the issues we've had. This is three out of three for me. I didn't get to compete in the last two qualifying sessions."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

F1 SPANISH GRAND PRIX

Singtel TV Ch115 & StarHub Ch209, 7.30pm

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on May 15, 2016, with the headline 'Hamilton claims pole to lead Mercedes one-two'. Print Edition | Subscribe