Lewis Hamilton stormed to a second pole position of the Formula 1 season in qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix, as the Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport team locked out the front-row.
Hamilton set a new track record of the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya with a 1:16.173s, having found over three tenths compared to his first run.
Team-mate Valtteri Bottas nearly pipped the British driver to pole, but fell just 0.040s short as Mercedes secured its first 1-2 start of the season.
Scuderia Ferrari locked out the second row, with both Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Räikkönen setting their fastest lap on the soft tyres, in an unusual move for Q3.
Continuing the Noah’s Ark feel to the top of the grid, Max Verstappen narrowly edging out Aston Martin Red Bull Racing team-mate Daniel Riccardo for fifth on the grid, the duo separated by just 0.002 seconds.
Kevin Magnussen was best of the rest for Haas F1 Team, the Danish driver lining up seventh, and he will be joined on row four by home favourite Fernando Alonso for the McLaren F1 Team. Alonso will be happy to make Q3 for the first time this season after being eliminated in Q2 in all four of the previous events.
Carlos Sainz Jr was the sole Renault Sport Formula One Team representative in Q3, and was just behind his fellow Spaniard, with Romain Grosjean joining him on the fifth row of the grid in the second of the Haas cars.
Hamilton had set a blistering benchmark time on the opening runs, with a 1:16.491s, nearly three tenths quicker than the Red Bull of Verstappen.
The Ferrari’s languished in fifth and seventh after the opening gambit, Vettel a second up on Räikkönen.
Force India suffer double Q2 elimination
The Sahara Force India F1 Team lost both cars in the second fifteen-minute segment of qualifying, as Sergio Pérez was the slowest of all fifteen drivers.
His team-mate, Esteban Ocon was four tenths quicker, but could only manage thirteenth fastest, with Charles Leclerc sandwiched in the middle for Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team in fourteenth.
Stoffel Vandoorne was the first driver to miss out on a Q3 spot, just over two tenths behind his McLaren team-mate Alonso, who was the last driver to make it through to the shootout for pole, while Pierre Gasly was twelfth fastest for the Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda team, just under a tenth-and-a-half slower than Vandoorne.
Vettel continued his Q1 pace, and was the first to dip into the 1:16s bracket, nearly three-tenths quicker than Räikkönen in the sister Ferrari.
Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull all sent their drivers out on the soft compound Pirelli tyres, and were able to set a time fast enough to get through to Q3, meaning they will start the race on that set of tyres.
Hülkenberg surprise Q1 victim
Only nineteen cars took to the track for the opening eighteen-minute segment of qualifying, after Toro Rosso was unable to complete repairs to Brendon Hartley‘s car in time following his crash late on in Free Practice 3.
Nico Hülkenberg was the big name to drop out in Q1 as his session was disrupted by a supposed fuel system problem with his Renault. The German abandoned his first flying lap owing to the problem, and was left with a single lap to get himself through to Q2.
His fastest lap was a 1:18.923s which was good enough for fourteenth place, but Ocon and Vandoorne still had laps to complete. Vandoorne’s time was 0.038s faster than the German’s, who was out-qualified by team-mate Sainz for the first time.
The session ended under yellow flags, as Lance Stroll ran wide at Turn twelve in the Williams Martini Racing, and made slight contact with the barriers.
The Canadian was eliminated as nineteenth fastest, but moves up to eighteenth on the grid, owing to a three-place grid penalty for team-mate Sergey Sirotkin, who will start nineteenth, with Hartley set to start from the pit lane on Sunday.
Marcus Ericsson was the other driver to fail to get out of Q1, and was seventeenth fastest.
At the top of the timing sheets, Vettel set a new track record, with a 1:17.031s, nearly four tenths quicker than the Red Bull of Verstappen.
Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya Qualifying Result
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