Published: Sun, May 13, 2018
Culture&Arts | By Rick Owen

Lewis Hamilton back on track

Lewis Hamilton back on track

Should stand. With AP Photos.

Hamilton has a narrow four-point lead over Vettel and will be buoyed by the fact that the team have the vehicle performing as needed at the opening of the European season, describing it as "a relief" that they finally had the tyres working after second practice.

"Well good memories past year but that was first row".

Hamilton shaded his team-mate Bottas by just four hundredths of a second, yet another crushing disappointing for the Finn. Sebastian Vettel is third, followed by Ferrari teammate Kimi Raikkonen.

Hamiton's scorching time of 1min.16.173sec. around the 4.655km, 16-turn Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya (aided by a newly resurfaced track) was just 0.040 seconds faster than Bottas' time while Vettel was 0.132 seconds slower than the pole-sitter.

Australian Daniel Ricciardo was second-quickest for Red Bull ahead of his team-mate Max Verstappen, the two managing to deliver speed without any close contact as they worked to put their collision in Azerbaijan two weeks ago behind them.

"I needed this pole", said Hamilton. "I've not had a pole for a while".

"I find it comical, ' Vettel said". "I didn't think that way but when I got back to the factory and they showed me the race traces, I actually had really good pace through the race".

It was a record-extending 74th pole for Hamilton, and the first since the season-opener in Australia. But it took everything from us to get a result and to get a 1-2 in qualifying is fantastic for the team. "Ferrari were sandbagging until this afternoon and Valtteri has been driving exceptionally well. This is a good way to start the weekend".

It was the first Mercedes one-two of the season, a measure of the world champions' relative struggles to get on top of their new auto and the tyres Pirelli has produced for this season. The chassis survived, but it will need a new engine and gearbox for the race. Vettel led for 41 laps in Baku before the rogue Red Bull boys brought out the safety auto that changed everything. He foresaw an "interesting race" on Sunday.

Bottas said: "It was close, like it has been all week".

"Looking back you have to admit that the last two qualifying sessions, they lost something". The victor has come from the front row in 24 of the 27 races in Barcelona.

Bottas earlier spun at turn 13, while Vettel, who trails Hamilton by four points in the championship, also came unstuck at turn 10 in a session notable for incidents.

Ricciardo said he was frustrated with the gap to the front. His time was only good enough for 16th.

The press conference was hastily brought to an end by the Head of Communications for F1's governing body, the FIA, with Hamilton and Vettel continuing to express their angst as they walked away. "It is a little bit disheartening as I don't really know what I could have done more".

Like this: