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Lewis Hamilton back on track with pole in Spain

Lewis Hamilton back on track with pole in Spain

Ferrari driver Vettel will line up in third.

It is a race where the pole-sitter often wins - it has happened on 20 of the previous 27 occasions - and, fresh from his victory in Azerbaijan, the Mercedes driver will be confident of maximum points again.

Lewis Hamilton says he's had a tough season but that he's enjoying the challenge Ferrari are setting him this year. The changes should make cars go a second and a half slower, however.

This season has widely been acclaimed as one of the most intriguing, and unpredictable in recent times, with three different winners from the opening four rubbers.

"It's been a good Friday for us", Hamilton said in a Mercedes video blog. His pole lap was also three seconds quicker than at this venue last season. "We should be at least as fast as we are this year but just making racing better".

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"At the moment we are capitalising on surrounding circumstances that have hindered the outcome of a race".

Vettel, sitting to Hamilton's left in the post-qualifying press conference, went further than his rival.

Obviously we had the change for everyone but I think they are a bit harder so for me it was pretty straightforward as I said because I was happier with the auto with that tyre. "I think it will be an interesting race". It's shifting a little bit too much, we set the auto up for this, then the tyres move that way or the track moves that way. The feedback from all of the drivers was positive. Hamilton has two of those wins (2014 and 2017), as well as six overall podium finishes in 11 starts, and he is understandably the favorite to make it back-to-back this weekend. "It's a bit like cruising to America and changing direction 100 times". "We've got some work to do overnight, I'm hoping it's cooler and calmer tomorrow". "If there is time and anyone wants to approach me or any of the drivers, I am sure we can give some good insight".

The press conference was hastily brought to an end by the Head of Communications for F1's governing body, the FIA, with Hamilton and Vettel continuing to express their angst as they walked away.

It is Hamilton's second pole of the season, having taken the top spot at the opener in Australia.

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After breaking Sebastian Vettel's run of three consecutive pole positions on Saturday, Lewis Hamilton has put Mercedes' return to form down to an open-minded approach to problem solving.

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

Ferrari teammates Vettel and Raikkonen take up third and fourth on the grid in Row 2, with the Red Bull Racing teammates of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo in Row 3.

The auto works at its best on the harder compounds of rubber and Mercedes and all the top six drivers, will start the race on the soft rubber used in the second session.

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