McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton was fastest in qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix on Saturday,storming past Pastor Maldonado to deny the Venezuelan a first Formula One pole position. Hamilton left it to his final flying lap to beat Williams driver by more than half a second for his third pole position of the season.
The Briton won with a quickest lap of 1 minute,21.707 seconds. He is seeking his first victory at Catalunya Circuit,which would ensure the season has a fifth different victor for the first time since 1983. Fernando Alonso of Ferrari will start third in front of his home fans,followed by Lotus pair Romain Grosjean and Kimi Raikkonen,Sergio Perez of Sauber and Nico Rosberg of Mercedes.
Overall leader and two-time defending F1 champion Sebastian Vettel will start eighth after opting to save his tires and failing to set a qualifying time. While 10 of the past 11 races have been won from pole,the high temperatures combined with tires that degrade quickly is set to influence the finishing order of Sundays 66-lap race.
Im definitely surprised to have such a big gap, Hamilton said after securing McLarens 150th pole. (Its) probably one of the best ones Ive ever had. Its going to be a massively tough race tomorrow. After four races,Hamilton trails Vettel by four points following three straight third-place finishes.
Leading teams Red Bull and McLaren struggled. Fastest in practice on Friday,Jenson Button failed to reach the last qualifying session and will start 11th for McLaren. Mark Webber,who won pole here the past two years for Red Bull,is one place back.
Force Indias drivers Paul Di Resta and Nico Huelkenberg will start from the seventh row after finishing 13th and 14th in qualifying.