Briton Lewis Hamilton took his third pole of the season and the 150th of McLaren’s Formula One history with a dazzling lap in the final minute of yesterday’s qualifying for the Spanish GP.
The 27-year-old clocked a best lap of one minute and 21.707 seconds to finish half a second clear of nearest rival, Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado of Williams, at the end of a closely-contested and highly-tactical session. Spaniard Fernando Alonso delighted his home fans when he claimed third place ahead of Romain Grosjean and his Lotus teammate Kimi Raikkonen.
Defending world champion Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull will line up eighth.
“It was one of the best qualifyings I’ve ever had,” said Hamilton. “I stopped out on the track afterwards because I was told to stop. I have no idea why.”
Teammate Jenson Button finished 11th and failed to make the cut into the top-ten shootout session. Mexican Sergio Perez of Sauber was sixth ahead of German Nico Rosberg of Mercedes and, unexpectedly, Vettel, who will line up eighth. Seven-time champion German Michael Schumacher of Mercedes was ninth and Japanese Kamui Kobayashi was 10th in the second Sauber.
“This is a step forward for us,” said Alonso. “It was impossible to dream of the top-three in the first four races. We have made a big step and I was really happy with the lap. I could fit 100 more sets of tyres and not do better. It was perfect.”
Published in The Express Tribune, May 13th, 2012.