Hamilton back on pole in Spain

Rosalie Stanley
May 15, 2017

Sebastian Vettel said a mistake at the penultimate corner cost him pole position for the Spanish Grand Prix, one he had hoped to secure for Ferrari as thanks for a rapid post-FP3 engine swap.

Ferrari's Vettel started brillantly and was the fastest in the first two laps but the nice fine tuning from Mercedes of Hamilton's auto helped him pip his rival in the final lap.

Red Bull Racing were "best of the rest", with Max Verstappen fifth, around half a second off pole and nearly the same amount up on team-mate Daniel Ricciardo in P6. I don't know. I have been coming here a long time and have done so many laps and still it is the last chicane - it is a tricky one for me. It is a miracle they got me out.

"He still somehow managed to get a decent exit [from the chicane] so I couldn't do it first time", said Vettel.

A beaming Hamilton, who has bounced back to his best form after a puzzling loss of pace in Russian Federation, said his first lap had been "very, very good, but the last lap was only so-so. A good start looks always good, so we'll see, but I am confident for tomorrow and I always try to keep a smile".

Bottas missed all but eight minutes of the third and final practice session earlier when two separate mechanical problems led to his team needing to replace his engine with the one used through the first four races.

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At the start, Hamilton had a slow getaway from pole position and was forced to follow Vettel through the first corner while Valtteri Bottas, Kimi Raikkonen and Max Verstappen banged wheels behind.

"The first lap in Q3 was very, very good and Q1 and Q2 was good, but the last lap [in Q3] was so, so".

Ferrari also had to change the power unit of Vettel's auto following his precautionary stop in pit lane near the end of the third practice because of a "telemetry issue".

"First Q3 run I wasn't entirely happy, I knew there was more". The Spaniard bounced across the gravel after contact with Williams' Felipe Massa, who suffered a puncture in the clash to finish just behind in 13th.

"He came out of the pits and I was a bit surprised that it was so close", Vettel added. "It is a hard race, too, both physically, mentally and for the vehicle and the tyres, but we have prepared in the best way we can and hopefully I have got the auto in a much better position than I did in the last race".

Force India pair Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon finished fourth and fifth respectively, the best result for both drivers this year. Carlos Sainz was pleased with his lap in the Toro Rosso and will start 12th on the grid ahead of Renault's Nico Hulkenberg, Romain Grosjean in the second Haas and the Sauber of Pascal Wehrlein.

Other reports by Guamnewswatch

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