Hamilton pips Bottas to top Spanish GP third practice

Arnold Nichols
May 13, 2018

Ferrari has seemed the fastest auto overall in 2018, but in practice for the Spanish grand prix Mercedes and Red Bull were apparently ahead. "I needed this pole, I haven't had a pole for a while".

"It was very close but I am very happy", Hamilton said. I was trying to go for it in every sector.

After Hamilton's dominant pole position in the Australia season-opener, Ferrari defeated Mercedes in three consecutive qualifying shoot-outs before this weekend.

"Definitely the team has been working so hard, so a huge thank you to everyone working hard back at the factory", he said to ESPN F1.

"It was a great close qualifying, obviously all weekend was close", Hamilton added. "It looks like our race is now with them but I'm sure Ferrari will turn it around". "Q1 was pretty good the auto was fine, we didn't have to do that much".

After making a mistake in the first corner on his first Q3 run on the super-soft, Vettel switched to the soft compound for his second run and improved his lap time with a much cleaner lap.

"We were very quick". Going into today we saw that the gaps between the different tyres, with these new tyres and the new surface were very small. "I have some catching up to do overall in terms of the points, so I will be aiming to do as well as I can". We were quite ok this morning, trying to find the right direction.

Hamilton, whose Barcelona pole time is three seconds faster than last year's on a resurfaced track, expressed frustration that the 2019 rules will result in cars that are 1.5 seconds slower and "pull us back". I tried to recover and fight for pole, but it was not enough.

"I didn't really feel any gain of grip with the supersoft compared to the other tyres", he confirmed. However, it's the same for everyone.

"We expected Mercedes to be very strong so tomorrow should be an interesting race", said Vettel. P3 is not a bad place to be in.

Ricciardo, who crashed with Verstappen in Azerbaijan, had a tough start to his weekend in Barcelona by hitting a tire barrier midway through the first session, losing a lot of track time. It's a long race after that.

"It is a constant learning process but these tires they seem to have a small working window whether they give us more rubber or less rubber they appear to be a lot harder than past year even though they went softer". If you win here, you have a good cushion for the next couple of races so for me it's important both Mercedes are there.

Coverage of today's Spanish Grand Prix from Barcelona will be shown live on Sky Sports F1 (Sky 406, Sky HD 472, Virgin 516).

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