Nico Rosberg takes pole in Spanish GP

BARCELONA: Nico Rosberg denied world champion teammate Lewis Hamilton a fifth pole position in a row by seizing the top slot for Mercedes at the Spanish Grand Prix on Saturday.
Hamilton, who leads the German in the Formula One standings by 27 points after three wins in four races, lost out for the first time this season and had to settle for second on the starting grid.
The pole on a sunny afternoon in Barcelona was the 16th of Rosberg’s F1 career, his first since Abu Dhabi last November, and came as a timely boost in a battle that has seen Hamilton take the upper hand.
“I needed it sooner rather than later,” the German told reporters. “It is one step in the right direction to winning the race this weekend. It was a good day in the office.”
Hamilton, who had spun in final practice at the exit to turn three, said he had simply lacked the pace.
“Nico did a great job…I don’t know if I really have the balance (of the car) where I would like it but I did my best with it and I think tomorrow there is a lot to play for.”
Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel will line up in third place with Finland’s Valtteri Bottas, in a Williams, alongside on the second row.
The crowd, although sparse in the main grandstands, were cheered by Toro Rosso’s Spanish rookie Carlos Sainz taking fifth place on the grid on his home debut.
Hamilton won from pole last year but eight different drivers have triumphed in the past eight years at the Circuit de Catalunya and Rosberg is perfectly placed to continue that trend.
Force India struggle in Spanish GP qualifying
Meanwhile, It wasn’t the perfect day for Force India as its Formula 1 drivers Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez will start Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya here in 17th and 18th places. The duo were totally off the pace in Saturday’s qualifying round and ended only ahead of the two Marussia cars of Roberto Merhi and Will Stevens.
While German Hulkenberg clocked one minute, 28.365 seconds, he was followed by his Mexican teammate, who came home in 1:28.442, with both failing to get out of Q1.
It will be a tough race  for the Indian duo as they lacked straight line speed. (Agencies)

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