Hamilton triumphs in tense battle for Spanish GP pole

Lewis Hamilton got the better of fierce competition from team-mate Valtteri Bottas and Ferrari rival Sebastian Vettel to take pole position for Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix.

The Formula One world championship leader clocked 1:16.173 as the top three were separated by barely a tenth of a second, with Mercedes enjoying a front-row lockout.

Hamilton, who won in Barcelona last year, followed up on his pace-setting showing in practice to put himself in prime position for maximum points again.

That followed a practice session in which Toro Rosso's Brendon Hartley was involved a heavy crash that ruled him out of qualifying.

Hamilton, who won last time out in Azerbaijan and leads the standings by four points from Vettel, had not secured first spot on the grid since the opening race in Australia.

However, he is now well set for a second consecutive race win, with 20 out of 27 races at the Circuit de Catalunya having been won by the man on pole.

It was a day to forget for Lance Stroll after the Williams driver crashed out, but McLaren got a driver into Q3 as Fernando Alonso took eighth on home soil.

PROVISIONAL CLASSIFICATION

1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 1:16.173
2. Laltteri Bottas (Mercedes) +0.040
3. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) +0.132
4. Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) +0.439
5. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) +0.643
6. Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) +0.645
7. Kevin Magnussen (Haas) +1.503
8. Fernando Alonso (McLaren) +1.548
9. Carlos Sainz (Renault) +1.617
10. Romain Grosjean (Haas) +1.662

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