Lewis Hamilton delivered a sucker punch to his Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg with a late rally to snatch pole position for Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix.
Hamilton, second best to Rosberg in the opening two phases of the session, seized pole in the dying moments of Q3 with a lap of 1:25.232, his time a mere tenth of a second faster than his team-mate’s, who will start alongside him on the front row of the grid. Daniel Ricciardo was the Mercedes duo’s closest challenger, a whole second down in third.
Valtteri Bottas was a fine fourth for Williams, while Romain Grosjean delivered Lotus their best grid position of the year with a season’s best of fifth.
The two Ferrari’s will start sixth and seventh, Kimi Raikkonen out qualifying Fernando Alonso by just three hundredths of a second.
Jenson Button was eighth, one spot ahead of Felipe Massa, who after strong runs in the opening two parts of qualifying disappointed with ninth in Q3.
Sebastian Vettel will start alongside the Brazilian on the fifth row, the German having failed to complete a lap after his Red Bull ground to a halt on the exit of turn three just moments after leaving the pits.
The two Force India’s of Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez will line-up 11th and 12th, the pair having both missed out on a spot in the final shootout.
Daniil Kvyat was 13th for Toro Rosso, two tenths up on Esteban Gutierrez in 14th, the Mexican the sole Sauber to progress into Q2.
Kevin Magnussen will start just 15th in the second of the McLaren’s, after the Dane failed to set a time in Q2.
Owing to his 10-place grid penalty Jean-Eric Vergne opted not to set a time in the second part of qualifying, the Frenchman will start at the back of the grid.
At the back of the field both Max Chilton and Marcus Ericsson out qualified their highly rated team-mates with 18th and 20th.
Pastor Maldonado failed to set a time in the second Lotus, the Venezuelan having crashed into the inside wall at turn three in the opening minutes of qualifying.
Spanish Grand Prix – Qualifying – Provisional Classification
1. Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes – 1:25.232
2. Nico Rosberg – Mercedes – 1:25.400 +0.168
3. Daniel Ricciardo – Red Bull-Renault – 1:26.285 +1.053
4. Valtteri Bottas – Williams-Mercedes – 1:26.632 +1.400
5. Romain Grosjean – Lotus-Renault – 1:26.960 +1.728
6. Kimi Raikkonen – Ferrari – 1:27.104 +1.872
7. Fernando Alonso – Ferrari – 1:27.140 +1.908
8. Jenson Button – McLaren-Mercedes – 1:27.335 +2.103
9. Felipe Massa – Williams-Mercedes – 1:27.402 +2.170
10. Sebastian Vettel – Red Bull-Renault – No time set in Q3
11. Nico Hulkenberg – Force India-Mercedes – 1:27.685 +1.597
12. Sergio Perez – Force India-Mercedes – 1:28.002 +1.914
13. Daniil Kvyat – Toro Rosso-Renault – 1:28.039 +1.951
14. Esteban Gutierrez – Sauber-Ferrari – 1:28.280 +2.192
15. Kevin Magnussen – McLaren-Mercedes – No time set in Q2
16. Jean-Eric Vergne – Toro Rosso-Renault – No time set in Q2
17. Adrian Sutil – Sauber-Ferrari – 1:28.563 +1.799
18. Max Chilton – Marussia-Ferrari – 1:29.586 +2.822
19. Jules Bianchi – Marussia-Ferrari – 1:30.177 +3.413
20. Marcus Ericsson – Caterham-Renault – 1:30.312 +3.548
21. Kamui Kobayashi – Caterham-Renault – 1:30.375 +3.611
22. Pastor Maldonado – Lotus-Renault – No time set
Images courtesy of Daimler and Lotus F1 Team