Lewis Hamilton took the qualifying honours as he secured pole position for Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix for Mercedes in a closely-contested qualifying session at the Circuit de Catalunya on Saturday.
Hamilton had been quickest through all three sessions and his time of 1 min 19.149 sec on his first quick run in Q3 was enough to claim a top spot.
The three-time champion Briton faced a powerful challenged from Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari. "It was very close, but well done to Lewis," said Vettel. "And a big thank-you to my team. I'm afraid it was my lock-up at the end of the lap that made the difference. "It was a really good lap up to the final chicane."
On the other hand, Hamilton said that his first lap had been "very, very good, but the last lap was only so-so...But I am super proud that we are back up there."
Hamilton claimed the 64th pole of his career, which lifted him to within one of his childhood hero Brazilian Ayrton Senna, on 65, and four from German Michael Schumacher on 68.
Car felt great out there today!! Excited for the race ahead. Let's go @MercedesAMGF1! #P1 #SpanishGP #TeamLH 📸 x Steve Etherington pic.twitter.com/oQ2WE5iATu— Lewis Hamilton (@LewisHamilton) May 13, 2017
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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.
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Hamilton ran wide at Turn Five, but was fastest in Q2 by a narrow margin -- less than a tenth -- ahead of Vettel and Bottas, but the lap that lifted the crowd came from Alonso, who reached the top ten shootout for the first time this year, 24 hours after yet another engine failure on Friday.
For the Spaniard, who is heading to the Indianapolis 500 instead of Monaco later this month, it was a personal triumph four years after his last victory, with Ferrari in Spain, in 2013.
With PTI inputs