Lewis Hamilton marched to pole in the Spanish Grand Prix
Lewis Hamilton marched to pole in the Spanish Grand Prix Image Credit: Reuters

Mercedes driver and championship leader Lewis Hamilton grabbed a convincing pole position for the Spanish Grand Prix on Saturday after pipping teammate and title rival Valtteri Bottas in a Mercedes qualifying one-two.

Championship leader Hamilton took his fifth pole at the Barcelona track and the 92nd of his career in total after finishing 0.059 sec ahead of Bottas, who is third in the drivers’ standings.

“I couldn’t go quicker on my second lap, which I thought I could, but the first lap was a good job thankfully,” said Hamilton.

“I was here with my guys until 10 O’clock last night just looking all the details and how to improve because the Red Bull guys are super fast.”

Bottas said: “I knew it was going to be close with Lewis — as always. The start will be my best chance.”

Sunday will be Hamilton’s 150th front row start from a session that may have seen Mercedes enjoying their ‘party’ qualifying engine mode for the final time. It was the ‘Black Arrows’ record 68th front row lockout.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, who is second in the driver standings, 30 points behind six-time world champion Hamilton, qualified in third after finishing 0.708 sec back.

“We can be a bit closer in the race it is hard to overtake around here but we’re going to do everything we can to be close and make it difficult,” Dutchman Verstappen said.

Verstappen was ahead of the two Racing Points of Sergio Perez, back in action after missing two races with coronavirus, and Lance Stroll with Alex Albon taking sixth place in the second Red Bull.

Carlos Sainz was seventh ahead of his McLaren teammate Lando Norris, Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and Pierre Gasly of Alpha Tauri.

Spanish GP starting grid

1. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes
2. Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes
3. Max Verstappen, Red Bull
4. Sergio Perez, Racing Point
5. Lance Stroll, Racing Point
6. Alexander Albon, Red Bull
7. Carlos Sainz Jr, McLaren
8. Lando Norris, McLaren
9. Charles Leclerc, Ferrari
10. Pierre Gasly, Toro Rosso
11. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari
12. Daniil Kvyat, Toro Rosso
13. Daniel Ricciardo, Renault
14. Kimi Raikkonen, Alfa Romeo
15. Esteban Ocon, Renault
16. Kevin Magnussen, Haas
17. Romain Grosjean, Haas
18. George Russell, Williams
19. Nicholas Latifi, Williams
20. Antonio Giovinazzi, Alfa Romeo