Hamilton ends his F1 pole drought in style

Hamilton ends his F1 pole drought in style

Lewis Hamilton topped the times for a resurgent Mercedes team in Friday's second free practice for the Spanish Grand Prix.

The Finn said he gambled on the soft-tyre run as he felt he did not have much to lose.

Lewis Hamilton summed up his feelings in a few words after leading team mate Valtteri Bottas to the first Mercedes qualifying one-two of the season on Saturday. "I don't understand why they worked in Australia and haven't worked ever since and today we have them working". It was very close but I'm very happy. But Hamilton himself is at a loss for words as what happened earlier in the season when the team was struggling with its tire performance. I ruined my first run in Q3 so I really only had one chance.

Kimi Raikkonen, in the other Ferrari, was sixth fastest in the afternoon and had to retire late because of an apparent engine problem.

Hamilton said the Pirelli tyres were partly responsible.

Mercedes principally have struggled with it, while Vettel suggested the new rubber was to Ferrari's disadvantage.

"I asked to go back [to the soft] and I think it was the right call, we were very quick".

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Toto Wolff dismissed claims it had been implemented for Mercedes's benefit as "bollocks".

NOTE: For the remainder of the 2018 season, GiveMeSport is joining in the new official F1 fantasy game released before the last race in Azerbaijan. Ferrari looked to be sandbagging because they could.

He also insisted Red Bull's Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo - starting on the third row - will be a "big threat" come lights out. McLaren put a vehicle into Q3 for the first time this season with Fernando Alonso in eighth; his team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne went out in 11th.

Dane Kevin Magnussen of Haas was seventh ahead of two-time champion and home hero Fernando Alonso of McLaren, fellow-Spaniard Carlos Sainz of Renault and Frenchman Carlos Sainz of Renault.

Sign up to The Recap, our weekly email of editors' picks. Torro Rosso's Pierre Gasly qualified 12th. Both Force Indias of Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez, advanced into the second round, did not advance to the third. Sauber's Charles Leclerc once again did well to make it to Q2 and finished 14th. The team's miserable session was topped off by Lance Stroll spinning out in the closing seconds of Q1, losing control of his auto at Turn 13 and ending up in the wall. For sure they are not the same they were at the last races.

Brendon Hartley of Toro Rosso did not make it to qualifying because the team was not able to fix his auto after a crash in the final minutes of Saturday's practice. As he missed qualifying, he will start on the back row alongside Stroll.