Lewis Hamilton says his Spanish Grand Prix pole position lap was “needed” having not been fastest in a Formula 1 qualifying session since the season-opener in Australia.

The Mercedes driver was fourth quickest and four-tenths of a second down on chief rival Sebastian Vettel after Q2, but set a blistering pair of laps in Q3 to seal his second pole of the season.

Hamilton ended up just 0.040s clear of Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas during a tense end to Q3, with Vettel just 0.132s further back after finding improvement despite being on the theoretically-slower yellow-marked Soft compound.

“It was very close in qualifying and I am very happy, I needed this pole as I’ve not had a pole for a while,” Hamilton said. “I was trying to go for every sector a record but I will take the middle one.”

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CrashTV: 

"We’ve had one pole but I don’t think we’ve had any great qualifying sessions after that [in 2018] but it was important for me to get back into a good position with qualifying as it is a huge strength of mine so it is definitely important.

"I am happy considering I had such a good week coming into this weekend so to have the performance so I am very happy with that. For the team it has been a struggle.

"I’m sure there has been a lot of people not really understanding from the past few races so we’ve been constantly learning. So to come here and get the 1-2 in qualifying is mark on the hard work everyone is doing."

Pole position for the Spanish Grand Prix marks Hamilton’s second pole in the space eight F1 races while Mercedes’ domination in qualifying has been loosened in recent races by Ferrari as Sebastian Vettel produced a hat-trick of consecutive poles between Bahrain, China and Azerbaijan.

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