Hamilton and Bottas net first front-row lockout of the season

  The Formula 1 Spanish Grand Prix qualifiers saw Lewis Hamilton and team mate Valtteri Bottas secure the first front-row lockout for the season. Less than two-tenths of a second split the top three qualifiers on Saturday, with Hamilton taking pole from Bottas and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel. Kimi Raikkonen was fourth in the sister Ferrari, followed by the Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo.

Hamilton said in post-race, “It was a very close qualifying session today and it took everything we’ve got to take pole. Ferrari were sandbagging until this afternoon and Valtteri has been driving exceptionally well; it’s fantastic for the team to get the front row and I know everyone will be very happy. Qualifying has always been a strength for me but I’ve had some tricky sessions since Melbourne, so I’m pleased to be back in a good position with it.”

Vettel who’s on song for the season with Ferrari aims high for the race, “Overall, I think it was a smooth session. It was straightforward in qualifying and then in Q3 during my first run I locked up a little bit in Turn 1, so my first sector was already slow. I tried to recover and fight for pole, but it was not enough. I didn’t have a great feeling on the tires, which have been different the whole weekend. Even if they look the same, they are harder. However, it’s the same for everyone. Obviously, I am not entirely happy, but we expected Mercedes to be very strong here. P3 is not a bad place to start from. Tomorrow we’ll focus on the start first, and then we’ll see. It will be a long race and the tires will be challenging, too.”

We have two Mercedes, two Ferraris, two Red Bulls on the first three rows in the grid. Surprising two Haas cars made the top ten cut in qualifying. Behind the usual suspects were Kevin Magnussen in the Haas , along with Fernando Alonso’s McLaren, Carlos Sainx’s Renault and team mate Romain Grosjean.

2018 Formula 1 Spanish GP qualifying (Q3)

1 Lewis Hamilton MERCEDES 1:16.173
2 Valtteri Bottas MERCEDES 1:16.213
3 Sebastian Vettel FERRARI 1:16.305
4 Kimi Räikkönen FERRARI 1:16.612
5 Max Verstappen RED BULL RACING 1:16.816
6 Daniel Ricciardo RED BULL RACING 1:16.818
7 Kevin Magnussen HAAS 1:17.676
8 Fernando Alonso MCLAREN 1:17.721
9 Carlos Sainz RENAULT 1:17.790
10 Romain Grosjean HAAS 1:17.835