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Spanish Grand Prix Qualifying: Hamilton on POLE in Mercedes front row

13 May 2018

Red Bull Racing's Daniel Ricciardo lost practice time and ate wall after a tailwind threw off his braking into turn 4 during free practice one.

Kevin Magnussen converted the encouraging pace Haas has displayed all weekend to qualify best of the rest in seventh, edging out local hero Fernando Alonso, who put McLaren through to Q3 for the first time of the season.

"My fourth pole in Spain?"

"It's much better", said Alonso of the vehicle. But, Ferrari have consistently been the benchmark with Vettel seizing pole for the last three races in succession.

But the German lost out by 0.132secs on this track that exposes the aerodynamic qualities of a vehicle like few others.

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A few days after defending champion Lewis Hamilton complained that nobody asked for their advice while putting together a track layout for the proposed race in Miami next year, four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel expressed his frustration about the lack of involvement of the drivers in the decision-making process for upcoming aerodynamic changes aimed to improve overtaking. Hamilton, the world championship leader headed the Red Bull pairing after a closely-contested session.

Hamilton last topped the qualifying standings in Australia when a technical glitch saw Vettel sneak past him under the virtual safety auto. He did not take part in qualifying and will start from the back of the grid. Vettel responded with a 1:16.802 which was 0.269 faster than his teammate.

His fellow Spaniard Carlos Sainz was ninth in the Renault, whose other driver Nico Hulkenberg, usually faster, was hampered by a fuel-pressure problem and could manage only 16th. Hence, the driver will be starting the race in the last place tomorrow, behind Sauber's Marcus Ericsson, and both the Williams cars driven by Sergey Sirotkin and Lance Stroll. They've always had a quick vehicle.

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. Though Hartley was not hurt, his STR13 suffered too much damage to be repaired in time for qualifying. This issue could portend penalties for Ferrari or its customer teams later in the season, as each driver is meant to use no more than three engines during the course of the 21-race season, this being number five.

"It's been a good Friday for us", Hamilton said in a Mercedes video blog.

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"I believe our vehicle is very fast, we still need a bit more top speed but hopefully that will come", said the 20-year-old Dutchman.

"I think the conditions were tricky today with the wind and with the hot temperature". I was feeling good. I was just saying they should call him the "Flying Finn"; he's definitely taken that role I think.

The rear of his vehicle was destroyed by the high-speed impact, both rear wheels and the rear of the gearbox were left hanging by their tethers, but Hartley was unhurt, if severely dazed.

Sixth victory in a row for Mercedes in qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix, Hamilton brought with a record round in the history of the track - in a final attempt, the British did it in 1.16,173, ahead of teammate Valtteri Bottas all in 0,040 seconds.

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Spanish Grand Prix Qualifying: Hamilton on POLE in Mercedes front row