Pole has added importance after Ferrari run - Hamilton

Lynette Rowe
May 13, 2018

Max Verstappen was fourth, in front of Kimi Raikkonen, while Alonso validated his McLaren's updates with the sixth fastest time.

Red Bull's redesign is one of the most dramatic in the pit lane, but it was not enough to allow them to challenge the Mercedes and Ferrari cars, who benefit from an engine boost in the final part of qualifying which Renault do not have.

"That's why we changed it because it was quite hard for us to see cars behind", he said.

The top ten all went out on super-softs at the start of Q3 with Hamilton smashing the records again in 1:16.491 to run three-tenths clear of nearest rival Verstappen as Red Bull mounted a stunning fight-back.

McLaren's Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne were also quick to get to work at the wheel their modified MCL33 which sports a whole new and striking nose assembly.

When it mattered, the plethora of spins and off-track moments seen in the practice sessions generally stopped, although Lance Stroll crashed his Williams when he ran wide on the exit of Turn 13 and did not lift off. 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.

Race organizers said additional security was implemented after several cars were broken into at a closed parking lot for the media at the track. Though Hartley was not hurt, his STR13 suffered too much damage to be repaired in time for qualifying.

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"It was a very close qualifying and you could see all weekend that Ferrari were clearly sand-bagging because they knew they had a quick vehicle, but it took everything from us to get this result and to get the 1-2 in qualifying is fantastic for the team".

"The mistake this morning was a costly one and I missed the final hour of the session because of it", Ricciardo said.

Hamilton leads the German, also a four-times World Champion, by four points after four races but owes his advantage to a healthy slice of luck.

"I ruined by first run in Q3 so I had really one chance in the last run for a decent lap". But Mercedes have looked strong. If you win here, you have a good cushion for the next couple of races so for me it's important both Mercedes are there.

"The race will be interesting".

Only three of the last 27 Spanish grands prix have been won from outside the front row, and Mercedes non-executive chairman, Niki Lauda, is delighted with how Mercedes are shaping up heading into the race.

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