BARCELONA, Spain, Aug 15 – Lewis Hamilton claimed pole position for the Formula One 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 0.059sec 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 (2000 GMT) 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 0.708sec 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 team-mate Lando Norris, Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and Pierre Gasly of Alpha Tauri.