Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg achieved a front-row lockout during qualifying at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya today.
Lewis clinched his fourth pole position of this season, with Nico taking his second front row start. A closely fought battle saw less than two-tenths of a second (0.168s) separate the drivers in the final Q3 session. The F1 W05 Hybrid has now taken pole at five out of five races in 2014, including two front row lock-outs. The result marks Lewis" 9th pole for the team and the 35th of his Formula One career.
Lewis Hamilton: I"m overwhelmed to get pole position because I"ve had a pretty tough day in the car, particularly after yesterday went so well. I was really happy on Friday and we changed a couple of small things overnight, just the tiniest of tweaks. But it was a real handful today because track conditions had changed. Nico had a strong P3 and first two sessions of qualifying, so we were making small adjustments to the differential to try and make improvements to how the car was handling for Q3. On that final run, I really had to eke out everything and more from the car and myself to get pole and I"m so happy that I managed it. The hard work from the team and the development step we have made this weekend are totally inspiring for me - I haven"t experienced this level of performance before. I"ve never won at this circuit and I would love to, because my support in Barcelona has been growing every year and I have some amazing fans here in Spain. We are going to give it everything we can tomorrow to get the win.
Nico Rosberg: I had a good feeling throughout today and I quite enjoyed Qualifying. I had a good lap at the end but Lewis just did a better job in Q3. Starting second is a bit of a disadvantage but it"s such a long straight down to the first corner, so I will hope to have a better start than Lewis tomorrow and overtake him. It"s also a long race where tyre degradation will be a key issue so there may be some opportunities to take advantage. I"m looking forward to tomorrow and I"ll be giving everything to take advantage of this amazing Silver Arrow that we have at the moment and hopefully extend my lead in the Championship.
Toto Wolff: Barcelona is a track where a strong lap time is all about the quality of your total package - and particularly about having efficient downforce. That makes today"s result really satisfying and full credit goes to everybody in our team who has worked so hard to deliver it. It has been a close battle between our two drivers this weekend so far, with swings in performance each way, and Lewis came out on top this afternoon. That"s one of our keys right now: we have two drivers who are pushing each other really hard which is crucial for delivering this kind of team performance.
Paddy Lowe: It was great to get a dry qualifying session this afternoon, for only the second time this season so far, and to get a proper read on the performance of the cars and drivers without the uncertainty of wet conditions. Yesterday, Lewis was particularly happy with the car and Nico less so, but that situation had switched around this morning during practice. In the first two parts of qualifying, Lewis was still struggling quite a bit with the car, and we saw a few examples of this when he was trying to put together a fast lap in Q1. On the other hand, Nico was able to set strong lap times straight away. However, the balance swung again in Q3, when Lewis found a small edge over Nico with an impressive lap on his final run on new tyres. It"s positive to see such healthy competition in the garage and great to get the front row at such an important track for our season. Thank you to all the staff back at Brackley and Brixworth for their huge effort developing the car for this race. Looking ahead to tomorrow, key factors will be the start, tyre strategy and reliability. It will be a tough race, as it always is here in Barcelona.
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