Lewis Hamilton secured pole position for Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix with another dominant display for Mercedes in a closely-contested qualifying session at the Circuit de Catalunya on Saturday.
The three-time champion Briton resisted a powerful late challenge in the final seconds of Q3 from championship-leading four-time champion Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari.
Hamilton clocked a best lap of one minute and 19.149 seconds to stay ahead of Vettel, who clocked 1:19.200, by the narrowest of margins after the German had required a rapid engine change shortly before the session began.
It was the 64th pole of Hamilton’s career, lifting him to within one of his childhood hero Brazilian Ayrton Senna, on 65, and four from German Michael Schumacher on 68.
Finns Valtteri Bottas, in the second Mercedes, who also had an engine change on Saturday morning, and Kimi Raikkonen, in the second Ferrari, were third and fourth fastest.
Dutch teenager Max Verstappen, who won last year’s race on debut with Red Bull, was fifth ahead of his team-mate Australian Daniel Ricciardo with local hero Fernando Alonso grabbing a very popular seventh against the odds for McLaren-Honda.