Barcelona: Lewis Hamilton put Mercedes on pole position for the Spanish Grand Prix on Saturday, with a fourth successive win and the overall championship lead beckoning on Sunday.
Teammate Nico Rosberg, who is four points clear of Hamilton but has finished runner-up in the last three races, qualified second with Australian Daniel Ricciardo starting third for Red Bull.
Hamilton, celebrating his fourth pole of the season and 35th of his career with a time 0.168 seconds quicker than the German, will wrest the overall lead from Rosberg if he wins for the first time at the Circuit de Catalunya.
“I didn’t know whether I’d be able to get it, but right at the end I just had to eke out absolutely everything and more from the car,” said Hamilton, who had been slower than Rosberg in final practice.
“To have the kind of performance we have, I have never really known that before. I’m overwhelmed, I’m so happy,” added the 2008 champion, whose dominant team have taken every pole and won all four races so far this year.
Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso, winner in front of his home fans last year, qualified seventh and behind team mate Kimi Raikkonen in sixth. Finland’s Valtteri Bottas starts fourth for Williams, with Frenchman Romain Grosjean fifth for Lotus.
Red Bull’s quadruple world champion Sebastian Vettel will line up in 10th place on the grid after stopping on track in the final phase of the session.