Thursday, 24 May, 2018

Lewis Hamilton takes pole in Spain

Lewis Hamilton Sebastian Vettel F1 news GETTYSebastian Vettel has outlined his plan to beat Lewis Hamilton to the world championship
Sergio Cook | 12 May, 2018, 21:31

City of Miami commissioner Ken Russell posted a potential track layout on Twitter last week, with most of the course in the port area and featuring a loop around the downtown American Airlines Arena along Biscayne Bay. "The vehicle felt good from the start, and FP1 was especially promising".

But the return to western Europe heralds the start of F1's development race, and on the evidence of practice at the Circuit de Catalunya it is Mercedes who appear to have taken the greater strides.

"So, it was definitely important, and I am happy too especially because I had such a busy week coming into this weekend".

Hamilton leads the German by four points ahead of Sunday's race, the first of the European season, with some rain forecast before qualifying.

"I am seen as Lewis Hamilton the racing driver because that is the core of me, but I am hoping at some stage I will also be known as Lewis Hamilton, the racing driver and clothing designer".

A good starting position is crucial in Spain as there are not many overtaking opportunities.

Hamilton will be trying to win his second race in a row and add to his four-point lead over Vettel in the drivers' standings.

However, the first signs of trouble became apparent during the second practice session on Friday.

Romain Grosjean, who crashed under the safety auto in Azerbaijan, was the first to face trouble in the afternoon session, losing control of his Haas and getting stuck on the gravel.

Daniel Ricciardo was fifth for Red Bull ahead of Dane Kevin Magnussen and his Haas team-mate Romain Grosjean, Carlos Sainz of Renault and two-time champion Fernando Alonso of McLaren.

"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.

Vettel's teammate Kimi Raikkonen suffered a power unit problem.

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

His team-mate Brendon Hartley was not able to qualify as the team was unable to fix his vehicle in time following his crash in FP3. The team will likely have to change it for the next race, but no penalties were expected in Spain. He clipped the grass on the entry of a turn and span into the tire barrier, significantly damaging the vehicle.

Lance Stroll continued to struggle with Williams, going off track in the final minutes of qualifying. He had to retire and lost a lot of track time.

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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