Bottas gets third straight pole for dominant Mercedes

Valtteri Bottas continued his stunning start to the Formula One season with a third consecutive pole as Mercedes dominated at the Spanish Grand Prix.

Bottas leads the drivers' championship by a point from defending champion and team-mate Lewis Hamilton after four one-twos on the bounce for the rampant Silver Arrows.

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F1: Spanish Grand Prix
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F1: Spanish Grand Prix
Formula One F1 - Spanish Grand Prix - Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain - May 12, 2019 First placed Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton on the podium. REUTERS/Juan Medina
Formula One F1 - Spanish Grand Prix - Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain - May 12, 2019 First placed Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton on the podium. REUTERS/Jon Nazca
Formula One F1 - Spanish Grand Prix - Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain - May 12, 2019 First placed Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton celebrates after winning the race. REUTERS/Juan Medina
Formula One F1 - Spanish Grand Prix - Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain - May 12, 2019 Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton in action with Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas. REUTERS/Albert Gea
Formula One F1 - Spanish Grand Prix - Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain - May 12, 2019 Safety car leads Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton. REUTERS/Albert Gea
Formula One F1 - Spanish Grand Prix - Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain - May 11, 2019 Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton during practice REUTERS/Albert Gea
Formula One F1 - Spanish Grand Prix - Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain - May 12, 2019 Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton competes. REUTERS/Juan Medina
Formula One F1 - Spanish Grand Prix - Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain - May 12, 2019 Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel in action during the race REUTERS/Albert Gea
Formula One F1 - Spanish Grand Prix - Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain - May 12, 2019 Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton leads at the start of the race REUTERS/Juan Medina
Formula One F1 - Spanish Grand Prix - Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain - May 12, 2019 Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton leads at the start of the race REUTERS/Juan Medina
Formula One F1 - Spanish Grand Prix - Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain - May 12, 2019 Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton leads at the start of the race REUTERS/Albert Gea
Formula One F1 - Spanish Grand Prix - Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain - May 12, 2019 The start of the race REUTERS/Albert Gea
Formula One F1 - Spanish Grand Prix - Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain - May 11, 2019 Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas celebrates pole position with second place Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton and third place Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel REUTERS/Jon Nazca
Formula One F1 - Spanish Grand Prix - Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain - May 11, 2019 Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton after qualifying REUTERS/Albert Gea
Formula One F1 - Spanish Grand Prix - Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain - May 11, 2019 Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton after qualifying REUTERS/Albert Gea
Formula One F1 - Spanish Grand Prix - Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain - May 11, 2019 Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas before practice REUTERS/Albert Gea
Formula One F1 - Spanish Grand Prix - Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain - May 11, 2019 Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton before practice REUTERS/Albert Gea
Formula One F1 - Spanish Grand Prix - Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain - May 11, 2019 Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas celebrates pole position REUTERS/Albert Gea
TOPSHOT - The car of Mercedes' Finnish driver Valtteri Bottas is lifted after getting stuck in the gravel during the third practice session at the Circuit de Catalunya in Montmelo in the outskirts of Barcelona on May 11, 2019 ahead of the Spanish Formula One Grand Prix. (Photo by PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU / AFP) (Photo credit should read PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU/AFP/Getty Images)
BARCELONA, SPAIN - MAY 11: Valtteri Bottas of Finland and Mercedes GP climbs from his car after stopping on track during final practice for the F1 Grand Prix of Spain at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on May 11, 2019 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Charles Coates/Getty Images)
BARCELONA, SPAIN - MAY 11: Valtteri Bottas of Finland and Mercedes GP climbs from his car after stopping on track during final practice for the F1 Grand Prix of Spain at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on May 11, 2019 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Charles Coates/Getty Images)
Formula One F1 - Spanish Grand Prix - Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain - May 11, 2019 Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton during practice REUTERS/Jon Nazca
Formula One F1 - Spanish Grand Prix - Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain - May 11, 2019 Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel during practice REUTERS/Juan Medina
Formula One F1 - Spanish Grand Prix - Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain - May 11, 2019 Red Bull's Max Verstappen in the pit during practice REUTERS/Jon Nazca
Formula One F1 - Spanish Grand Prix - Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain - May 11, 2019 Red Bull's Max Verstappen during practice REUTERS/Jon Nazca
BARCELONA, SPAIN - MAY 11: George Russell of Great Britain and Williams walks in the Paddock after crashing during final practice for the F1 Grand Prix of Spain at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on May 11, 2019 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Charles Coates/Getty Images)
BARCELONA, SPAIN - MAY 11: George Russell of Great Britain and Williams walks in the Paddock after crashing during final practice for the F1 Grand Prix of Spain at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on May 11, 2019 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Charles Coates/Getty Images)
BARCELONA, SPAIN - MAY 11: Sergio Perez of Mexico driving the (11) Racing Point RP19 Mercedes on track during final practice for the F1 Grand Prix of Spain at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on May 11, 2019 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Charles Coates/Getty Images)
BARCELONA, SPAIN - MAY 11: Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (33) Aston Martin Red Bull Racing RB15 on track during final practice for the F1 Grand Prix of Spain at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on May 11, 2019 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Charles Coates/Getty Images)
BARCELONA, SPAIN - MAY 11: Charles Leclerc of Monaco driving the (16) Scuderia Ferrari SF90 on track during final practice for the F1 Grand Prix of Spain at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on May 11, 2019 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Charles Coates/Getty Images)
Formula One F1 - Spanish Grand Prix - Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain - May 11, 2019 Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel during practice REUTERS/Jon Nazca
Formula One F1 - Spanish Grand Prix - Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain - May 11, 2019 Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel during practice REUTERS/Jon Nazca
Formula One F1 - Spanish Grand Prix - Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain - May 11, 2019 Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton during practice REUTERS/Juan Medina
Formula One F1 - Spanish Grand Prix - Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain - May 11, 2019 Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton during practice REUTERS/Albert Gea
Formula One F1 - Spanish Grand Prix - Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain - May 11, 2019 Red Bull's Max Verstappen during practice REUTERS/Jon Nazca
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And there was no let-up in their performance in Barcelona as he went fastest in Q3 on Saturday with a track record of one minute, 15.406 seconds.

Hamilton came through behind him and Mercedes are incredibly in position to take the top two steps of the podium once again on Sunday.

Sebastian Vettel will start third and be joined on the second row by the Red Bull of Max Verstappen, with Charles Leclerc over a second off the pace in fifth.

Bottas ran quickest in both of Friday's practice sessions and, although a spin contributed to a third-place finish in FP3, he was on top again in Q1.

The Finn led Hamilton by 0.634secs after their first tilt in Q3 and that was enough for pole, with neither Mercedes star able to improve on a blistering initial time.

"On my side, I just didn't put the laps together," said Hamilton.

Vettel held onto third as Max Verstappen and Leclerc failed to dethrone Ferrari's senior man, all three falling some way short of challenging the Silver Arrows for the front row.

PROVISIONAL CLASSIFICATION

1. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) 1:15.406secs
2. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) +0.634s
3. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) +0.866s
4. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) +0.951s
5. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) +1.182s
6. Pierre Gasly (Red Bull) +1.302s
7. Romain Grosjean (Haas) +1.505s
8. Kevin Magnussen (Haas) +1.516s
9. Daniil Kvyat (Toro Rosso) +2.167s
10. Daniel Ricciardo (Renault) +2.700s

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