Published: Sun, May 13, 2018
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Lewis Hamilton takes pole in Spain

Lewis Hamilton takes pole in Spain

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.

Raikkonen finished down in fourth, however, almost half a second off pole and three tenths behind teammate Sebastian Vettel.

He was the biggest casualty on Friday after he losing control of his Red Bull on turn four, taking a trip across the gravel and thudding into a tyre barrier.

"We don't have a say in it, it's very hard to say what would happen if we had the normal tyre".

"I was happy with the lap".

Will Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes make it back-to-back victories at the Circuit de Catalunya? Red Bull was sat second and third after the initial runs of Q3, but once Ferrari had made its improvements it dropped to the third row.

Vettel said he was happy with his lap. "We got through all our running and we were quite fast compared to previous years, but we've still got some work to do overnight.

I think it is going to be relatively close between the top three teams but I can't really say who is quickest".

In China Ferrari first miscalculated the pit stop intervals, which cost Vettel the lead, a mistake compounded when Max Verstappen speared Vettel's rear to relegate him to eighth. Not to say that we know everything, we don't anything about engineering the auto, but we know how the cars feel, how to drive the cars.

Okay, we know that Baku did not give a true reflection of the overall progress of the Williams team, but if anyone was in any doubt, today's session set the record straight.

Crowd-favorite Fernando Alonso was sixth fastest with McLaren in the morning but was 12th in the second session.

Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo said that he knows his team was involved in the recent discussions about the new aerodynamic changes, but he was left mostly in the dark.

The modifications, to make it easier for drivers to follow and overtake, are expected to make cars a second and a half slower per lap.

The job is by no means complete but they can be rightly optimistic of starting on the very front foot for only the second time this season.

"It is nice to be back, but not an enjoyable auto to drive", said Kubica of his Williams.

"In the end it's hard to say that it was enjoyable because our vehicle balance was very bad and it was very hard to drive, so it was hard to enjoy", Kubica said. "I actually heard something maybe yesterday that they've already agreed on some aerodynamic rules".

Canadian teenager Lance Stroll continued his travails with the hard Williams auto and was off into the gravel at Turn Four, but recovered to return to the pits soon before Vettel went fastest on new "super-softs".

He added: "Tomorrow is going to be incredibly hard".

Vettel also switched back to the softs for his second Q3 run, which he felt more comfortable on. Verstappen also went off the track, as did Raikkonen shortly before enduring the mechanical problem. Force India's Esteban Ocon and Sergio Pérez were 13th and 15th respectively.

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