Barcelona, Spain – Barcelona, Spain (SportsNetwork.com) - Lewis Hamilton claimed his fourth pole of the season by topping his Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg in Saturday's qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix.
Hamilton, the 2008 Formula One world champion, made a lap around Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya in 1 minute, 25.232 seconds, as time had expired in the final round of qualifying (Q3). Rosberg had just completed his lap in 1:25.400 before Hamilton crossed the line.
It was the 35th career F1 pole for Hamilton, including his first in the Spanish GP. He has yet to win this race.
"It's been a tough day," Hamilton said. "Nico drove very well through qualifying. I didn't know if I would be able to get it, but right at the end, I just had to eke out absolutely everything and more from the car.
"Coming here this weekend, we didn't know where everybody would be. To see the development that's gone on and the hard work that's happened to get our car ready for this week has inspired me. So a really big thanks to the team."
Hamilton is attempting to win his fourth consecutive grand prix. Rosberg scored the victory in the season-opener in Australia, but Hamilton has been on a roll since, winning in Malaysia, Bahrain and China.
Rosberg, the current world championship points leader, was quickest in Q1 and Q2 but came up 0.168 seconds short of winning the pole. He holds just a four- point lead over Hamilton. Rosberg has finished second in the last three grand prix.
It's the second time this season that Mercedes has locked out the front row of the grid. Rosberg started first and Hamilton second in the Bahrain GP.
"I don't particularly enjoy coming second to Lewis," Rosberg said. "I am disappointed, but in the end, it was a good lap for me. Lewis just did a better job. So from that point of view, that's the way it is."
Daniel Ricciardo from Red Bull qualified third, but his teammate, Sebastian Vettel, the four-time defending F1 world champion, continued to have a disastrous weekend in Barcelona. Vettel was unable to complete a lap in Q3 when he experienced a power unit issue and came to a stop on the track. He finished 10th in qualifying.
"I have no drive. I'm sorry, I have no drive," Vettel said over his team radio when his car stalled on course.
On Friday, Vettel made only four laps during the first practice session due to an electrical problem. The issue continued throughout the day, forcing him to sit out the second session. Vettel was able to participate in Saturday's final practice, completing 20 laps.
Ricciardo has now out-qualified Vettel four times this season. Ricciardo's lap was 1.053 seconds behind Hamilton.
"We were a second off," Ricciardo said. "I thought my lap wasn't too bad. I was expecting a smaller gap than that. We've made some improvements, but Mercedes has as well. On a positive note, we were a clear third today. But we want to get closer to the top-two."
Valtteri Bottas from Williams qualified fourth, while Lotus' Romain Grosjean took the fifth spot.
Ferrari teammates Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso were sixth and seventh, respectively. Alonso, a Spaniard, delighted his home crowd here last year by winning the Spanish GP for the second time.
Jenson Button from McLaren will start eighth, and Williams' Felipe Massa will roll off ninth.
Pastor Maldonado, who won the Spanish GP in 2012 when he drove for Williams, crashed during Q1. The Lotus driver spun off course and slammed into the barrier in turn 3. The session was stopped briefly for cleanup efforts. He will start from the rear of the field in Sunday's 66-lap race.