Published: Sun, May 13, 2018
Culture&Arts | By Drew Collins

Spanish GP: Lewis Hamilton wants to deliver 'ultimate performance'

Spanish GP: Lewis Hamilton wants to deliver 'ultimate performance'

Lewis Hamilton has taken his first pole since the opening race of as Mercedes lock out the front row in the 2018 Spanish Grand Prix.

On the second run, Hamilton reduced his time to a 1m16.173s.

Bottas was a tenth of a second faster in the morning session than Hamilton's afternoon time at the 4.6-kilometer (2.8-mile) track outside Barcelona.

Stoffel Vandoorne finished 0.3s behind Alonso in Q2 and it proved to be a costly margin, preventing the Belgian from joining his teammate in the top-ten shootout. That was the second consecutive race he had benefited from the random interventions impairing Ferrari's obvious edge in performance. Usually tyre choice for Q3 is simple: go for the softest compound to get the most grip.

Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo also used the soft tyre for the second part of Q3. Ferrari, unexpectedly, were pushed back to fifth and seventh, 0.7 and 1.7 seconds adrift respectively with Ricciardo third for Red Bull before the final runs when Hamilton delivered his stunner. Without diving too deeply into rubbery topics, Hamilton's Mercedes was again uncomfortable on the softer compound tyre, suggesting qualifying might be tricky. The New Zealander, who is coming under increasing pressure in his first full season in F1, lost control of his Toro Rosso when he dipped two wheels on the grass on the entrance to the high-speed Turn 9. Spanish drivers Kevin Magnussen of Haas and Fernando Alonso of McLaren finished seventh and eighth respectively in qualifying, while Renault's Carlos Sainz beat Romain Grosjean in the second Haas auto to finish ninth.

Alonso's previous best qualifying position this year was 11th and he is now the only driver on the grid to have out-qualified his team-mate at all races so far. Meanwhile, the Spaniard opted for supersofts during Q2 and will be starting the race on the faster rubber.

The Kiwi had a very heavy shunt in the final practice session and the mechanics were still working on his vehicle when qualifying began. He foresaw an "interesting race" on Sunday.

Renault's Nico Hulkenberg was outqualified by his team-mate Sainz for the first time this year. Such was the impact with the barriers that the gearbox snapped off when the auto was lifted from the gravel trap and there was no chance of getting the vehicle rebuilt in the two hours between the end of final practice and the start of Q1. His time was only good enough for 16th.

The Canadian qualified slowest in 19th place, just behind team-mate Sergey Sirotkin, on a dire weekend for Williams that underlined the major problems they have with their vehicle this year.

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.

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