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Hamilton claims Spanish GP pole

Lewis Hamilton responded to the challenge of some unexpected rivals to claim top spot on the grid for the Spanish Grand Prix.
Lewis Hamilton claimed the third pole position of his 2012 F1 campaign, but the real surprises at the Circuit de Catalunya came in the wake of the Briton's McLaren-Mercedes.

Hamilton was the first driver to set a time in the ten-minute shoot-out - after both Sebastian Vettel and Michael Schumacher opted to record sector times in case no-one chased a pole time - but was forced to respond as a series of better marks were banged in during the closing moments.

After Nico Rosberg had slotted into second spot behind his former karting team-mate, home hero Fernando Alonso took three-tenths off the target time to great cheers from the faithful dotted around the circuit. Kimi Raikkonen, Sergio Perez and Romain Grosjean all appeared on course to improve on the Spaniard's effort, only to come up short, before Pastor Maldonado - perhaps seen as the outsider of the session - finally found enough to take another tenth from the benchmark.

Just as it appeared that F1 may have been on course for its most surprising polesitter since the Venezuelan's predecessor, Nico Hulkenberg, claimed top spot in Brazil two years ago, Hamilton returned, his McLaren fully wound up to blitz the first lap of the weekend under 1min 22secs. Yet to win a race in 2012, the Briton's 1min 21.707secs effort laid down a gauntlet to the rest, although some of his biggest rivals will be starting a lot further back than expected, especially as Vettel aborted his final run to slot into eighth overall, ahead only of Schumacher and the absent Kamui Kobayashi.

Full qualifying report and qualifying times now available.



Related Pictures

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11.05.2012- Free Practice 1,Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB8
11.05.2012- Free Practice 1, Fernando Alonso (ESP) Scuderia Ferrari F2012
11.05.2012- Free Practice 1, Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Williams F1 Team FW34
11.05.2012- Free Practice 1, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren Mercedes MP4-27
Lando Norris, McLaren Autosport BRDC Awards [Credit: Martyn Pass PR]
Lewis Hamilton tests the 2017 F1 tyres in Abu Dhabi [credit: Pirelli]
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Pirelli 2017 tyre test [Credit: Pirelli]
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27.11.2016 - Race, Celebration, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid race winner
27.11.2016 - Race, Celebration, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid race winner
27.11.2016 - Race, Celebration, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid race winner
27.11.2016 - Race, Celebration, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid race winner
27.11.2016 - Race, Celebration, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid race winner
27.11.2016 - Race, Celebration, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid race winner
27.11.2016 - Race, Celebration, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid race winner

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