Lewis Hamilton claimed pole position for Formula 1’s Spanish Grand Prix, pipping Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas to top spot by four-hundredths of a second.
Hamilton was fastest after the first runs in the Q3 top 10 shootout, and like team-mate Bottas opted for another set of supersoft Pirellis for his second run.
He banged in a lap of 1m16.173s to shave just over three-tenths off his earlier time to secure top spot.
Bottas was a shade faster than Hamilton in the first and third sectors, but Hamilton’s mighty pace in the second sector meant the Finn ended up second best.
With some of Mercedes’ rivals struggling to get the best out of the supersofts, Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen used softs to fill the second row for Ferrari.
That put them ahead of the Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo, who were separated by just two thousandths of a second in fifth and sixth.
This was despite the Red Bull drivers splitting their tyre choice, with Verstappen setting his time on supersofts and Ricciardo on softs.
Kevin Magnussen was best of the rest for Haas, ahead of McLaren’s Fernando Alonso.
Carlos Sainz Jr was ninth for Renault, ahead of Romain Grosjean in the second Haas.
Nine of the top 10 drivers used the soft Pirellis to set their Q2 times, meaning all except Alonso, who used supersofts, will start on that compound.
Stoffel Vandoorne lapped 0.223s slower than team-mate Alonso in Q2 using soft Pirellis, ending up in 11th place and fastest of the five drivers eliminated at that stage.
Toro Rosso driver Pierre Gasly was 12th, just ahead of the Force India of Esteban Ocon.
Sauber driver Charles Leclerc managed to split the Force Indias with a lap of 1m18.910s, almost two-tenths faster than 15th-placed Sergio Perez.
Nico Hulkenberg was the fastest driver to be eliminated in Q1 in 16th place after Vandoorne made a late improvement.
The Renault driver was unable to set a time on his first run owing to what the team described as a “fuel pressure issue” that held him back throughout Q1, and only had time for a single attempt on his second run – ending up 0.038 slower than Vandoorne.
Sauber driver Marcus Ericsson was 17th, over half-a-second behind Hulkenberg, with Williams driver Sergey Sirotkin, who must serve a three-place grid penalty thanks to hitting Sergio Perez on the first lap of the last race in Baku, 18th.
Lance Stroll was 19th in the second Williams , crashing exiting the Turn 12 right-hander on his final flier after running wide then losing it on the throttle at the exit as he ran into the gravel.
He spun, glancing the wall, and ended up coming to rest at the entry of Turn 13.
Brendon Hartley did not participate in qualifying after spinning at the high-speed Campsa right-hander at the end of the third free practice session and backing heavily into the barriers.
His Toro Rosso team could not get the car repaired during the two-hour gap before qualifying.
Spanish GP grid
|5||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||1m16.816s||0.643s|
|6||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m16.818s||0.645s|
|12||Pierre Gasly||Toro Rosso/Honda||1m18.463s||2.290s|
|13||Esteban Ocon||Force India/Mercedes||1m18.696s||2.523s|
|15||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m19.098s||2.925s|
|20||Brendon Hartley||Toro Rosso/Honda||–||–|