Spanish GP: Lewis Hamilton takes pole position in Barcelona in Mercedes front-row shut-out

The Italian team have looked the strongest during Saturdays' qualifying sessions this season but Hamilton hit back in Barcelona with his 74th pole of his career.

The Brit could not hide his delight as they finally overpowered the Ferrari duo of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen.

Hamilton said: "It was very close in qualifying but I am very happy, I needed this pole. I have not had one for a long time.

"The team have worked so hard on the car and tried to improve it so it was great. But it was very close qualifying all weekend and it took everything from us to get this result.

"It is fantastic for the team and will make everyone happy, but we still have a lot of work tomorrow, but it is a good start to the weekend."

His Mercedes teammate, Valtteri Bottas made it a Mercedes one-two, and is eager to make up for his heartbreak in Azerbaijan where he was forced to retire two laps from the end with a puncture while leading the race.

He added: "It was good fun. I only had one chance in the last run and it was a decent lap, and a good result for the team. We will race hard and try to get the One-two we deserved in Baku."

SPAINFUL Hartley suffers 160mph crash in final practice before Spanish GP qualifying

Meanwhile, Vettel, who had taken pole in the last three races, qualified in third place and says he thought he had done enough to clinch the front spot, which is so crucial here.

He said: "I was happy with the lap, it was feeling good until the end and then when I looked where I ended up and my name was not at the top, so I was not happy."

Fernando Alonso qualified in eighth place while Max Verstappen was fourth.

However, there was more misery for Williams duo Lance Stroll and Sergey Sirotkin as they finished the day as the slowest on the track.

It has been nothing less than a nightmare for the Grove-based team this season as they have been embarrassingly slow.

Not only that, their drivers are under performing as Stroll needlessly crashed out at the exit of Turn 12.

And Sirotkin, who already had a three-place grid penalty coming into this race, was also eliminated at the first hurdle.

Meanwhile, Brendon Hartley crashed spectacularly in the final practice session and as his stricken Toro Rosso was loaded onto the back of a flat-bed truck, it snapped in half.

It means the New Zealander missed qualifying all together and requires special permission to start the race.

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