Hamilton triumphs in tense battle for Spanish GP pole

Sky F1's Simon Lazenby and Martin Brundle discuss the big talking points ahead of the Spainish GP

Raikkonen will start fourth in an all-Ferrari second row ahead of the two Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo.

Hamilton hadn't taken pole since the season-opener in Australia.

"It will be close", he said. It is a shame it is only four-hundredths, but it is good for the team.

A good starting position is crucial in Spain as there are not many overtaking opportunities.

In a qualifying session where the leaders diverged with their tyre strategies, Hamilton and Bottas used Supersofts to claim a 1-2, as Soft-clad Vettel finished third.

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"We're back, I have to say", Mercedes non-executive chairman Niki Lauda said after the session.

On race pace, again, it looks fairly close at the front. It was Ricciardo who was first to head out on softs late in Q3 and he improved with the fastest final sector but ended up just 0.002s adrift of his teammate.

Most teams brought significant updates to Barcelona, which marks the beginning of the European season in F1. McLaren's Fernando Alonso and Renault's Carlos Sainz Jr split the two Haas's, qualifying eighth and ninth respectively.

Vettel, meanwhile, did not seem overly concerned about Ferrari's lack of pace and suggested the team have plenty of work to do before qualifying gets underway on Saturday. "So that's a positive thing".

Sainz had a near-miss with his teammate at Turn 13 when Nico Hulkenberg arrived at the corner at full-speed and Sainz was moving slowly.

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It was also the first time a McLaren, now with Renault engines and with an eye-catching new nose and front wing, had reached the decisive final session this season.

There was some disquiet with the rear-view mirrors Ferrari mounted on the halos.

Elsewhere, aerodynamic rule changes are expected to make F1 cars 11/2 seconds slower per lap next year, the sport's governing body, the International Automobile Federation (FIA) said on Thursday. His team-mate Brendon Hartley was not able to qualify as the team was unable to fix his vehicle in time following his crash in FP3. He clipped the grass on the entry of a turn and span into the tire barrier, significantly damaging his vehicle.

The rear of his vehicle was destroyed by the high-speed impact, both rear wheels and the rear of the gearbox were left hanging by their tethers, but Hartley was unhurt, if severely dazed.

Race organizers said additional security was implemented after several cars were broken into at a closed parking lot for the media at the track. Exiting the long right-hander, Stroll appeared to be too early on the throttle and ran wide onto the gravel, keeping his foot in and losing control.

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