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Hamilton takes pole in Spanish lottery

NEWS STORY
12/05/2012

If you were ever in any doubt that many of those in Formula One, be they drivers, team bosses, press officers or tacticians, are also mean Poker players, look no further than this weekend's practice sessions and, in particular, this morning's.

While Sebastian Vettel topped the timesheets, it's fair to say that the true running order is far from clear, with many teams continuing to play their cards very, very close to their chests.

It is clear that the Red Bull is looking good here, but what of the true form of the McLarens, Mercedes and Lotus'?

While there is a clear step (indeed two) between the hard and soft tyres this weekend, some drivers appear happier on one compound whilst their teammate are more settled on the other. We say 'happy' and 'settled' but in fact nobody is one hundred percent content, particularly in terms of grip.

Despite all the talk of the importance of pole, the fact is that with one of the biggest runs to the first corner on the calendar pole is not as crucial as it will be in, say, Monaco. Furthermore, with an eye on tomorrow, when temperatures are expected to be up to ten degrees cooler, drivers are thought to be holding back on tyres, with some claiming there will be very little running in Q3.

In the moments before Q1, the air temperature is 28 degrees C, while the track temperature is 40 degrees. It remains bright and sunny, humidity is 35 percent, with barely a cloud in the sky. That said, it is fairly windy, with strong gusts across the main straight

One man who has a mammoth task this afternoon is Romain Grosjean who failed to complete a timed lap this morning due to a fuel pressure problem.

The lights go green but it is several minutes before there is any action, a combination of the desire to conserve tyres and the fact that the track is very dusty and the services of the 'sweepers' are required.

At 15:50, di Resta breaks the deadlock, followed by the Lotus duo, Hulkenberg, Ricciardo and Glock. Alonso and Rosberg are also eager to (finally) get to work. All on hards except the Saubers which are both on softs.

Di Resta posts 25.675 with Grosjean posting 25.025 moments later. Raikkonen can only manage 28.433 - must have made a mistake somewhere.

On his first flying lap, much to the delight of the crowd, Alonso goes quickest (24.326) despite not using his DRS. Raikkonen improves to second (24.580) ahead of Rosberg.

No sooner has Perez gone quickest than he is demoted by Hamilton (24.143), the McLaren on hards the Sauber on softs. As in PF3 this morning, Sauber tweets to say that it is on HARD tyres not softs - the official data supplier appearing to have got it wrong… again.

Schumacher goes sixth and immediately goes quickest in S1 of his next lap. Elsewhere, Kobayashi goes quickest in S1 as Schumacher improves to third overall (24.262).

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