Hamilton tips Ferrari bounce-back in Spain

13 May, 2018, 00:13 | Author: Elena Meyer
  • Phil Duncan

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) - Mercedes continued to show good pace at the Spanish Grand Prix, with Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas setting the fastest times in the final practice before qualifying on Saturday.

Hartley was taken to the Circuit de Catalunya medical centre for checks but was passed fit to continue even if his presence in later qualifying looked unlikely due to the extent of the damage.

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

Red Bull's pace on the longer runs will also be giving both Mercedes and Ferrari plenty of food for thought when it comes to plotting tomorrow' race. "Every driver was struggling with the changing direction of the wind". It was a very close qualifying and you could see all weekend as Ferrari were clearly sand-bagging because they could, they knew they had a quick auto.

Hamilton has a narrow four-point lead over Vettel and will be buoyed by the fact that the team have the auto performing as needed at the opening of the European season, describing it as "a relief" that they finally had the tyres working after second practice.

Kevin Magnussen will start seventh with Haas, while teammate Romain Grosjean is 10th on the grid.

In China Ferrari first miscalculated the pit stop intervals, which cost Vettel the lead, a mistake compounded when Max Verstappen speared Vettel's rear to relegate him to eighth.

But it was Hamilton who made the best of the conditions, pipping Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo to top spot in the afternoon.

"There were a few of us making errors for sure".

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Vettel, who won three straight poles, will start third, followed by Ferrari teammate Kimi Raikkonen.

"It's been a good Friday for us", Hamilton said in a Mercedes video blog. The team's miserable session was topped off by Lance Stroll spinning out in the closing seconds of Q1, losing control of his vehicle at Turn 13 and ending up in the wall.

It was an experiment that was approved of by Vettel who denied the team had been motivated by any possible aerodynamic gains.

"This should have been the auto in Australia".

Hamilton agreed. "We should make the decisions", he said. He suffered severe injuries in a rallying crash.

A hard weekend for Williams, who were well off the pace, was compounded when Lance Stroll crashed in Q3, going wide on the exit of turn 12.

Lance Stroll was 19th behind teammate Sergey Sirotkin and attempting to improve at the end of the session when he suffered a odd crash at Turn 12.

"It is nice to be back, but not an enjoyable vehicle to drive", said Kubica of his Williams.

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