BARCELONA: Lewis Hamilton grabbed his first pole position in three races ahead of his Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg with a thrilling revival of his speed in Saturday’s (Sunday in Manila) qualifying session for Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix.
The defending three-time world champion, who trails Rosberg by 43 points in the title race, revived his quickest form of the past with a stunning showing in both Q2 and Q3.
He ended up with a best lap in one minute and 22 seconds, 0.280 seconds ahead of Rosberg’s fastest lap on a day when teenager Max Verstappen demonstrated just why he was promoted, so unexpectedly, by Red Bull from Toro Rosso.
The 18-year-old Dutchman was second-fastest at one time and his speed inspired his Red Bull team-mate, Australian Daniel Ricciardo, who responded by qualifying third ahead of him on the grid.
This meant the two Red Bulls separated Mercedes from their main rivals Ferrari, who were pushed back to fifth and sixth, Finn Kimi Raikkonen edging ahead of four-time champion Sebastian Vettel in the final seconds.
Hamilton’s success brought him his third pole this year, his second in Spain and the 52nd of his career, a feat that left him euphoric as he waved to the crowd afterwards.
“I’m so very, very happy with this,” he said. “Nico has been strong here all weekend, but one step at a time, I’ve been bringing it together. I didn’t get to compete in the last two qualifying sessions so this is three out of three for me!”
Rosberg said: “I’m disappointed, but Lewis was just quicker today and that’s it. It’s the race that counts so I’ll try to take my chances.”
Finn Valtteri Bottas was seventh for Williams ahead of Spaniard Carlos Sainz in the leading Toro Rosso, Mexican Sergio Perez of Force India and the home hero, two-time champion Fernando Alonso of McLaren Honda.