Hamilton takes pole for Spanish Grand Prix

Vettel, who will be chasing his fourth successive pole position on Saturday, was on the quicker supersofts but 0.950 slower than the Finn around a sunny but windy Circuit de Catalunya.

Australian Daniel Ricciardo, who has a reputation as one of Formula One's most exciting overtakers, agreed drivers should be consulted.

Hamilton, the defending champion, has a four-point lead over Vettel in the drivers' standings, although Ferrari has shown the best pace after four races.

Normal service was resumed at the Spanish Grand Prix as Mercedes locked out the front row at Barcelona, but it was still an intriguing session.

Finnish team mate Valtteri Bottas was second, in 1:16.213, with Vettel third and 0.132 off the pace.

"I needed this pole, I've not had one for a while".

But Hamilton still expects his title rival to be challenging for pole position in today's qualifying shoot out.

"Maybe it is a hit, but if there is time and anyone wants to approach me or any of the drivers, I am sure we can give some good insight to what the layout is like and how it can be better".

Mercedes had been fastest in all three practice sessions this weekend, with Hamilton and Bottas leading the timesheets. The latter scored his last F1 victory in Spain five years ago and heads into the weekend fresh from having won on his World Endurance Championship debut for Toyota last Sunday in Spa.

While the Mercedes and Red Bull's were in fine form, the Ferraris of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen were unable to get anywhere near the top three as Raikkonen suffered what is a rare power issue in his vehicle.

"I was happy with the lap".

"Everything we put on the vehicle seems to work and that's important", Vettel said. "We've been very competitive and we've had a chance to fight for the win during most of the races so far", said Vettel, who lost out to Hamilton in Spain previous year after a titanic duel with the Briton.

Kevin Magnussen of Haas was seventh ahead of two-time champion and home hero Fernando Alonso of McLaren, fellow-Spaniard Carlos Sainz of Renault and Frenchman Romain Grosjean of Haas.

Asked why Mercedes, which so far this season has struggled on Pirelli's softest compounds, found more performance than Ferrari on the super-soft, Vettel said: "I think it's pretty straightforward, the tyres are different".

Alonso's result marking the first time a McLaren has made the top 10 all season.

Brendon Hartley suffered a big accident in final practice in the morning, spinning off at the near-flat out Campsa corner and his Toro Rosso was too badly damaged to be fixed in time for qualifying, meaning the Kiwi will start last.

"I'll have a good sleep and come back tomorrow fresh, anything is possible", he said.

  • Julie Sanders