Lewis Hamilton pips Valtteri Bottas to pole position for Spanish Grand Prix

PA

Lewis Hamilton claimed the 92nd pole position of his career for Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix.

The six-time world champion has been in ominous form this weekend and he delivered the goods to put his Mercedes at the front of the grid.

Hamilton beat Valtteri Bottas to top spot by 0.059 seconds, with Red Bull's Max Verstappen – the man who ended Mercedes' winning streak at last weekend's 70th Anniversary Grand Prix – in third.

Sebastian Vettel's troubled season continued as he failed to make it into Q3. The four-time world champion, who is a lowly 13th in the drivers' standings, finished only 11th.

Racing Point's Sergio Perez, back in the cockpit after missing two races with coronavirus, will start fourth ahead of team-mate Lance Stroll.

Red Bull's Alexander Albon took sixth, while Lando Norris was pipped by his McLaren team-mate Carlos Sainz for seventh.

The dominant Mercedes team have now secured pole at all six rounds this year, and after Bottas took the qualifying spoils at Silverstone a week ago, Hamilton struck back to see off his team-mate at Barcelona's sun-drenched Circuit de Catalunya.

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Hamilton will now hope that the tyre woes which curtailed his race at Silverstone will not re-emerge on Sunday as he bids to extend his championship lead.

The Briton, who is 30 points clear of Verstappen and 34 ahead of Bottas, put in his best lap on his first outing in Q3, with the top three failing to improve on their second runs.

"Physically it is so tough because of the heat," Hamilton said. "I couldn't go quicker on my second lap but the first one was decent which did the job.

"I was here with the guys until 10pm (on Friday night) looking at all the details we could improve on because these Red Bulls are super fast.

"There is such a long way down to turn one so the job is not done. It will be hard to hold position but I have to get the best start I can."

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Verstappen finished more than seven tenths down on Hamilton as Mercedes' mighty speed over one lap continued.

For Vettel, this is proving to be a season to forget. For the third consecutive Saturday, the 33-year-old German, who is being moved on by Ferrari in five months' time, failed to make it out of Q2.

He missed out on the top-10 shootout by just 0.002 sec and will start Sunday's race two spots behind team-mate Charles Leclerc, who lines up in ninth.

George Russell continued his unbeaten qualifying streak over his team-mate by finishing 18th, one place above Nicholas Latifi in the other Williams.