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Dublin: 7 °C Thursday 21 November, 2019

Lift-off for Hamilton as he clocks record-breaking qualifying lap at Spanish GP

It’s a Mercedes 1-2 on the grid after Saturday’s qualifying session in Barcelona.

Hug it out: Hamilton and Bottas celebrate.
Hug it out: Hamilton and Bottas celebrate.

LEWIS HAMILTON ROARED back to form and secured a stunning pole position for Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix when he delivered a record-breaking qualifying lap on Saturday.

The defending four-time world champion and current series leader broke the track lap record with a series of laps that culminated in him clocking 1:16.173, 0.040 seconds ahead of his team-mate Finn Valtteri Bottas as Mercedes locked up the front row of the grid.

It was Hamilton’s second pole this season, after the season-opening race in Australia, his third straight in Spain and the 74th of his career. It broke Sebastian Vettel’s streak after three straight poles.

German four-time champion Vettel was third fastest for Ferrari ahead of his team-mate 2007 champion Finn Kimi Raikkonen and the Red Bulls of Dutchman Max Verstappen and Australian Daniel Ricciardo.

The top four were separated by only 0.132 seconds at the end of the session – which promises a close race on Sunday at the Circuit de Catalunya.

“I needed this pole – I’ve not had one for a while,” said Hamilton who leads Vettel in the drivers’ title race by just four points after four races.

“And it’s a Mercedes one-two which is great here. There is always a great atmosphere here with loads of British fans and even Spanish fans supporting us, which is great too!”

Bottas said: “It was close, like it has been all week. I ruined my first run in Q3 so I really only had one chance. It is a shame it is only four-hundredths, but it is good for the team. Now we want to get the one-two we deserved in Baku…”

Vettel said he was happy with his lap. “I was feeling good too and I looked at the tower and then I saw my name didn’t go up – but, then, we expected Mercedes to be strong.

“Let’s see what happens now tomorrow. I hope everyone will enjoy it!”

© – AFP, 2018

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