Lewis Hamilton takes pole for Spanish GP with track record

Daniel Ricciardo was second and Max Verstappen third. It's also worth noting that all of the top ten apart from Alonso set their fastest Q2 time on the soft, meaning they will start the race on that tyre and aim for a one-stop strategy.

Most improved: Mercedes may have broken Ferrari's run of consecutive pole positions, but Alonso qualifying eighth is arguably the most obvious change from previous rounds.

New track record: Lewis Hamilton's pole position lap was three seconds faster than last year's pole.

The Finn's flyer of one minute and 18.148 seconds enabled him to finish nearly of nine-tenths of a second clear of Hamilton with Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel third.

Ricciardo said he was frustrated with the gap to the front. "I didn't get a great feeling on that tyre so I chose to ask to go back and I think it was the right call". 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 vehicle with that tyre.

"I don't know if that's... it's not going to make any difference if you make us three seconds or one-and-a-half second slower, it's not going to make the racing any better".

Frenchman Romain Grosjean rounded out the top 10 for Haas.

"In the end it's hard to say that it was enjoyable because our auto balance was very bad and it was very hard to drive, so it was hard to enjoy", Kubica said. "So that's a positive thing".

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There was a massive scalp when Renault's Nico Hulkenberg was eliminated along with the 2 struggling Williams and Marcus Ericsson.

Raikkonen was on a new engine after a problem with the one he used on Friday.

There was some disquiet with the rear-view mirrors Ferrari mounted on the halos, with motorsport governing body FIA looking into a possible breach of regulations.

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 vehicle spun and hit the barrier while rolling backward, although any damage appeared to be restricted to the right rear corner of the auto. The rear end fell apart as the vehicle was being hoisted by a crane.

Stroll almost hit the tire barriers after going off the track with about a half-hour left in the first session. Exiting the long right-hander, Stroll appeared to be too early on the throttle and ran wide onto the gravel, keeping his foot in and losing control.

Race organizers said additional security was implemented after several cars were broken into at a closed parking lot for the media at the track.

BC-CAR-F1-TV Launch, 218 Launch of F1 TV marred by "technical difficulties " AP Photo XLB156Eds: With AP Photos.

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