Spanish Grand Prix: Hamilton takes pole ahead of Vettel

Posted May 14, 2017

Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas of Finland, rear, steers his auto during the third practice session for the Spanish Formula One Grand Prix at the Barcelona Catalunya racetrack in Montmelo, Spain, Saturday, May 13, 2017. The.

Lewis Hamilton bounced back from his disappointing weekend in Russian Federation to lay down a marker to his rival Sebastian Vettel after he completed a practice double for the Spanish Grand Prix.

Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari were thrust into a race against time today after discovering a water leak that required a change of engine before qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix. Which augers well for the race.

Meanwhile, McLaren's Fernando Alonso qualified an incredible seventh despite missing the majority of practice following yet another Honda engine failure. Unfortunately, he couldn't do better than one minute 22.411 seconds, placing 18th.

Tomorrow's race is probably going to be another Mercedes/Ferrari battle (at least there is a battle this year) and it'll be interesting to see what Alonso can do with his McLaren in front of a partisan crowd.

Hamilton arrived in Barcelona trailing Vettel by 13 points in the drivers' championship, but took a big step towards cutting his lead with a charge to pole in Q3.

"I felt yesterday we had it in the auto".

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(AP Photo/Manu Fernandez). Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo of Australia waits in his team garage during the third practice session for the Spanish Formula One Grand Prix at the Barcelona Catalunya racetrack in Montmelo, Spain, Saturday, May 13, 2017. Despite the encouraging lap times, there were problems for both of the top teams, with Vettel only completing seven laps and stopping in the pit lane late in the session.

"It turned out to be a programming issue", Vettel said. "It's just such a better weekend so far", Hamilton said.

Jolyon Palmer and Lance Stroll struggled to match their respective teammates at Renault and Williams, finishing 17th and 18th, while Stoffel Vandoorne's Q1 misery continued as he was eliminated at the first hurdle for the fifth race in a row, qualifying 19th. "I really enjoyed it out there so I hope we can squeeze more performance out of the package".

"I really struggled through qualifying with the rear stability of the vehicle, so it was hard to find a good rhythm".

"Overall a busy morning and a big thank-you to the team because we had to change the engine at the last minute and the vehicle was just about finished [for the start of qualifying]". He even appeared on course to gazump Hamilton with his final timed run, only to fall agonisingly short after making a small mistake through the chicane in the closing stages of the lap.

Hamilton did not improve but kept the pole as Vettel grabbed second, Bottas third and Raikkonen fourth.

When asked about the rumours by Sky Sports, Lauda said: "All bulls--, if I may say that".