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Lewis Hamilton smashes the track record en route to Spanish GP pole

12 May, 2018, 21:31 | Author: Lora Ball
  • World Champ Hamilton

The move for change by Ross Brawn - the British engineer now running the sporting side of F1 under Liberty Media's governance - comes a little more than a season after a raft of new regulations were introduced in order to have faster cars and place a greater physical demand on the drivers. "This is a good way to start the weekend".

Any issues for Ferrari could see Red Bull Racing's Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen profit.

As you were: Mercedes took its first pole position since the season-opener in Melbourne.

Vettel concurred with Hamilton, commenting: "I find it a bit comical".

Hamiton's scorching time of 1min.16.173sec. around the 4.655km, 16-turn Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya (aided by a newly resurfaced track) was just 0.040 seconds faster than Bottas' time while Vettel was 0.132 seconds slower than the pole-sitter.

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"It was pretty good overall", said Hamilton. "Tomorrow (Sunday) it should be an interesting race". That's largely down to the tyres being two steps softer than in 2017, but also a reflection of the relentless development race in F1 - Hamilton's time was also a second quicker than the best lap in winter testing.

Kubica had replaced Russian rookie Sergey Sirotkin who returned to finish 20th in the second session.

Ricciardo switched from mediums to supersofts at the very end of the session and wound up fifth, 0.7s off the pace, as Kevin Magnussen claimed sixth for Haas.

Most teams brought significant updates to Barcelona, which marks the beginning of the European season in F1.

"With the unanimous votes at both the City of Miami and Miami-Dade County's Economic Development and Tourism Committee, we are very pleased to have received preliminary approval towards bringing a Formula One Grand Prix to Miami", said Sean Bratches, managing director of commercial operations at Formula One.

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Ferrari meanwhile caught the eye with wing mirrors mounted on the halo head protection device as an experiment.

Brendon Hartley suffered a big accident in final practice in the morning, spinning off at the near-flat out Campsa corner and his Toro Rosso was too badly damaged to be fixed in time for qualifying, meaning the Kiwi will start last.

It was Hamilton's first victory of a season during which his team have struggled to optimise his vehicle and tyre performance at every race except the season opener in Australia. He clipped the grass on the entry of a turn and spun into the tire barrier, significantly damaging the auto.

Stroll almost hit the tire barriers after going off the track with about a half-hour left in the first session.

As on Friday, the champions were quickly in the groove and demonstrated more competitive speed than in practice at recent Grands Prix.

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The Saints also have a more experienced backup, Jonathan Williams , on the roster. He was voted onto the Pro Bowl for the second time last season.

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