Record-breaking lap gives Lewis Hamilton pole position in Spain

Lewis Hamilton

After a poor early attempt by both Ferrari drivers, Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen recovered in the closing seconds to finish third and fourth.

Red Bull's Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo secured the third row. 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.

Williams saw Robert Kubica on duty for his first of three FP1 sessions that he'll be enjoying this year, the Pole temporarily replacing Sergey Sirotkin.

"Everything we bring to the track is delivering the expectations and the lap times we were expecting from them", Alonso said.

It was the first Mercedes one-two of the season, a measure of the world champions' relative struggles to get on top of their new vehicle and the tyres Pirelli has produced for this season.

Red Bull's redesign is one of the most dramatic in the pit lane, but it was not enough to allow them to challenge the Mercedes and Ferrari cars, who benefit from an engine boost in the final part of qualifying which Renault do not have.

BC-CAR-F1-Spanish GP, 6th Ld-Writethru, 739 Hamilton takes pole for Spanish GP with track recordAP Photo XLB163, XLB169, XLB152, XLB143, XLB137, XLB144, XLB145, XLB146, XLB151, XLB155, XLB150Eds: Updates with quotes by Ricciardo, Magnussen.

McLaren's Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne were also quick to get to work at the wheel their modified MCL33 which sports a whole new and striking nose assembly. Meanwhile, the Spaniard opted for supersofts during Q2 and will be starting the race on the faster rubber.

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

New Zealander Brendon Hartley of Toro Rosso was not among the runners following his huge accident at the end of final practice, which left the rear end of his vehicle wrecked after spinning into the barriers at high speed.

The auto was badly damaged and the team were unable to fix it in time. It is now more challenging and you see us more exhausted after the race. So definitely important and happy, especially considering I had such a busy week coming into this weekend to have this performance, I'm very happy with that.

"I needed this pole", said Hamilton.

Hamilton, who earned his 74th pole position of his career, leads the drivers' standings with 70 points after four races, four ahead of Vettel, also a four-time world champion. The lap was good. "We have found some pace, there is still a bit more to find, but overall a pretty good end to a Friday". We expected Mercedes to be very strong and so they were.

A very high number of cars have left the track so far this weekend.

Valtteri Bottas set the pace with Mercedes in the first practice session for this weekend's Spanish Grand Prix.

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