Daniel Ricciardo during first practice. Picture: Getty Images
Daniel Ricciardo during first practice. Picture: Getty Images

Bottas claims pole, Ricciardo still battling

CHAMPIONSHIP leader Valtteri Bottas grabbed pole position for Sunday's (11.10pm AEST) Spanish Grand Prix when he outpaced his Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton in a tightly-contested qualifying session,

The Finn, who leads the defending five-time champion by a single point in this year's title race, completed a hat-trick of successive poles this year after taking the prime grid position in both China and Azerbaijan.

Australia's Daniel Ricciardo will start from 13th on the grid.

Bottas clocked a stunning track record lap of 1min 15.406sec to finish six-tenths clear of his British teammate.

With Hamilton second, it gave Mercedes another front row lock-out and suggested this year's title race may become a duel between the two Silver Arrows drivers.

Four-time champion Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari was third ahead of Max Verstappen of Red Bull, Charles Leclerc in the second Ferrari and Pierre Gasly in the second Red Bull.

Romain Grosjean was seventh ahead of his Haas teammate Kevin Magnussen, Russian Daniil Kvyat of Toro Rosso and Ricciardo in his Renault.

"I really enjoyed that," Bottas said. "The adrenaline rush you get from laps like that is great so I am really pleased.

"The season has started well, the way I hoped for, and I feel better in the car."

Ricciardo was all smiles ahead of third practice. Picture: Getty Images
Ricciardo was all smiles ahead of third practice. Picture: Getty Images

Hamilton congratulated Bottas and conceded that he had been unable to extract the maximum from his car on a circuit where he was hoping to land his own hat-trick of three straight Spanish poles.

Vettel was also disappointed as Ferrari failed to deliver the pace that could bring an end to Mercedes domination.

"The car doesn't feel too bad, but obviously we are not quick enough," he said

STARTING GRID

1. Valtteri Bottas (FIN/MER)

2. Lewis Hamilton (ENG/MER)

3. Sebastian Vettel (GER/FER)

4. Max Verstappen (NED/RBR)

5. Charles Leclerc (MON/FER)

6. Pierre Gasly (FRA/RBR)

7. Romain Grosjean (FRA/HAA)

8. Kevin Magnussen (DEN/HAA)

9. DaniilKvyat (RUS/STR)

10. Lando Norris (GBR/MCL)

11. Alexander Albon (THA/STR)

12. Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP/MCL)

13. Daniel Ricciardo(AUS/REN)

14. Kimi Raikkonen (FIN/ALF)

15. Sergio Perez (MEX/RAC)

16. Nico Hulkenberg (GER/REN)

17. Lance Stroll (CAN/RAC)

18. Antonio Giovinazzi (ITA/ALF)

19. Robert Kubica (POL/WIL)

20. George Russell (GBR/WIL)

QUALIFYING

1. ValtteriBottas (FIN/MER) 1min 15.406sec

2. Lewis Hamilton (ENG/MER) +0.634

3. Sebastian Vettel (GER/FER) 0.866

4. Max Verstappen (NED/RBR)0.951

5. Charles Leclerc (MON/FER) 1.182

6. Pierre Gasly (FRA/RBR) 1.302

7. Romain Grosjean (FRA/HAA) 1.505

8. Kevin Magnussen(DEN/HAA) 1.516

9. Daniil Kvyat (RUS/STR) 2.167

10. Daniel Ricciardo (AUS/REN) 2.700

News Corp Australia

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