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Spanish F1 Grand Prix 2018 Qualifying: Lewis Hamilton Snags Pole Position

Rory Marsden@@roomarsdenFeatured ColumnistMay 12, 2018

MONTMELO, SPAIN - MAY 12: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain driving the (44) Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team Mercedes WO9 on track during qualifying for the Spanish Formula One Grand Prix at Circuit de Catalunya on May 12, 2018 in Montmelo, Spain.  (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)
Dan Istitene/Getty Images

Lewis Hamilton will start on pole position at the 2018 Formula One Spanish Grand Prix on Sunday after Mercedes locked out the front row in Saturday's qualifying.

The world championship leader produced a lap of one minute, 16.173 seconds at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya to beat his team-mate Valtteri Bottas into second.

Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel had to settle for third on the grid, just ahead of team-mate Kimi Raikkonen, while the Red Bull pair of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo will start from the third row.

Here's a look at the full times and results from qualifying, per Formula 1:

Formula 1 @F1

The championship leader takes his second pole of 2018 💪 Will he be able to extend his lead in the standings tomorrow? 🤔 #SpanishGP 🇪🇸 #F1 https://t.co/9Ee9Na6oHY

Hamilton Lights up Q3 Early 

There was no messing around from Hamilton at the start of Q3 as he claimed provisional pole on his first lap and never relinquished the position.

The Englishman had shown fine pace in practice and converted that into his first pole since the opening race of the season.

Hamilton's second lap was even better than his first and, although Bottas got to within four-hundredths of his team-mate, it proved good enough to see him top the timesheets.

Per Channel 4 F1, history suggests a Mercedes victory from the front row on Sunday:

Channel 4 F1® @C4F1

Everyone says starting from pole in Monaco is important, but it's been a high priority in Barcelona as well 😉 Of the 27 races at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, 24 have been won from the front-row! 😬 That's the highest ratio on the calendar! 😮 #C4F1 🇪🇸 #SpanishGP https://t.co/LOjywEujjL

         

Vettel Stutters Late

Vettel topped the timesheets in both Q1 and Q2 and looked as though he would be tough to beat when it came to the shootout for pole.

However, the four-time world champion was immediately put on the back foot by Hamilton, Ricciardo and Verstappen in Q3, and he could not respond.

MONTMELO, SPAIN - MAY 12: Sebastian Vettel of Germany driving the (5) Scuderia Ferrari SF71H on track during qualifying for the Spanish Formula One Grand Prix at Circuit de Catalunya on May 12, 2018 in Montmelo, Spain.  (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images
Dan Istitene/Getty Images

He sat fifth after the first set of laps in the shootout and did make improvements from there.

But, after three pole positions in a row in Bahrain, China and Azerbaijan, the German will have to try to win from behind in Spain. 

Hulkenberg, Stroll Struggle in Q1 

Renault's Nico Hulkenberg was surprisingly eliminated in the first qualifying session on Saturday.

He appeared to have a problem on his first run and then simply was not fast enough to break the top 15 on his second.

Per Formula 1, it broke a three-year run for the German of getting out of Q1, while it was also the first time this season he was outqualified by team-mate Carlos Sainz:

Formula 1 @F1

A strong showing from @ScuderiaFerrari as we head into Q2 💪 Hulkenberg's first failure to make Q2 since Spain 2015 #SpanishGP 🇪🇸 #F1 https://t.co/BRb5Z70T7w

The Williams duo finished right at the bottom of the standings, with Lance Stroll ending the session in the barriers after a late mistake saw him spin into the gravel. 

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