Lewis Hamilton snatches Spanish GP pole, Daniel Ricciardo qualifies sixth

Florence Fletcher
May 13, 2018

Ferrari had looked strong but could not quite match their rivals.

The season, however, has not gone according to script with Mercedes looking off the pace with Ferrari leading the way with two race wins in the first four races. That is what it takes to be a winning team.

Valtteri Bottas, 28, was signed by Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport from Williams Martini Racing ahead of the 2017 Formula 1 season following the unexpected retirement of 2016 Formula 1 champion Nico Rosberg.

Lewis Hamilton says he has no doubts Ferrari will emerge as contenders for victory in the Spanish GP after a low-key Friday practice for the Scuderia.

The Briton has now been on pole in Spain for three years in a row and four of the last five. The four-time drivers' champion made it clear that the team can not continue to rely on the outside circumstances that have been helping them in recent races, which has ensured they remain in touch with Constructors' championship leaders Ferrari. And that's not sufficient enough to win a world championship. "I have zero comfortability". Obviously we had the change for everyone but I think they are a bit harder, so for me it was pretty straightforward as I said because I was happier with the vehicle with that tyre.

"We should make the decisions", smiled Hamilton.

"I'll take it for now, but I know for the long term I can't continue to rely on that".

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Commenting on his performance in qualifying Bottas said he felt good in the auto, and that his focus was on getting the maximum possible from the race.

Bottas' finish of third place in the driver standings last season was also the lowest of the V6 turbo hybrid era for a Mercedes driver.

During pre-season testing at the Circuit de Catalunya, a number of teams - most notably Mercedes - struggled with excessive overheating and blistering on the circuit's newly-laid track surface.

"It was good to work the SuperSoft tyre a bit better today, it felt like a better tyre for us so we have made some good progress in that area". It is now more challenging and you see us more exhausted after the race.

The vehicle works at its best on the harder compounds of rubber and Mercedes and all the top six drivers, will start the race on the soft rubber used in the second session. He said part of the problem is that many times "a lot of us drivers might agree but we know our teams won't agree". The German is happy that Ferrari have a auto that can challenge Mercedes and Red Bull at all circuits. The first run was not so good, but the last lap I was happy.

So definitely important and happy, especially considering I had such a busy week coming into this weekend to have this performance, I'm very happy with that. We were very quick. Does it make it different?

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