Lewis Hamilton will start the Spanish GP from the 64th pole position of his career, despite failing to improve on his second run in Q3.
The Briton’s first run time thus did the job for him, although he only just stayed ahead of Sebastian Vettel, who would have stolen pole had he not had a poor end to his lap.
“It started out that we were potentially a tenth ahead of the Ferraris, but in P3 it seemed that we were lot closer, so, quite level. So it was really intense for us, making sure we pulled out every millisecond we can. We made some changes as we got into qualifying, and the car felt great, so I was very happy with it. The Q1 lap was very, very good. The Q2 lap was so-so, but good enough. Then the first lap of Q3 was very good and the second lap was up, I think almost two tenths. I didn’t finish it that way, but still it was good enough to keep me ahead.”
Hamilton is expecting a close race on Sunday, with Vettel, Valtteri Bottas and Kimi Raikkonen all in the frame.
“I think it’s going to be a tough race tomorrow, for sure. You see how close it is between us and it’s all milliseconds between us. I think it’s the third longest run down to Turn One so of course it’s going to be important to get a good start, but we’ve worked hard on them, so I’m going to try to do the best job I can.
“Valtteri’s had some great starts so I’m going to try and follow in his footsteps there and then yeah, positioning can help a lot here and being on the clean side of the grid is an advantage generally. Usually it’s a little bit of an advantage and hopefully I’ll be able to utilise that – particularly compared to Sebastian – and then in the race it’s just about looking after those tyres. It’s a very, very long, hard race, both physically and mentally and for the car and the tyres – but we’ve prepared in the best way we can and I think hopefully got the car in a much better position than I did in the last race.”