FORMULA ONE: Rosberg lines up alongside on front row; Ricciardo starts third
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 champion 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.
Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso, winner in front of his home fans last year, qualified seventh and behind teammate Kimi Raikkonen in sixth.
Finland’s Valtteri Bottas starts fourth for Williams, with Frenchman Romain Grosjean fifth for Lotus.
Vettel qualifies 10th
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.
Vettel has switched to a different chassis for the start of the European season after a difficult opening four races in Asia and the Middle East but his luck has, if anything, taken a turn for the worse.
He managed only four laps in Friday practice before being sidelined by an electrical problem and on Saturday the gremlins returned at the crucial point.
Qualifying was twice red flagged, the second stoppage triggered by Vettel’s failure and the first coming right at the start when Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado speared his Lotus into the wall.
Starting grid: 1st row: Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes), Nico Rosberg (Mercedes).
2nd row: Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull), Valtteri Bottas (Williams).
3rd row: Romain Grosjean (Lotus), Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari).
4th row: Fernando Alonso (Ferrari), Jenson Button (McLaren).
5th row: Felipe Massa (Williams), Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull).
6th row: Nico Hulkenberg (Force India), Sergio Perez (Force India).
7th row: Daniil Kvyat (Toro Rosso), Esteban Gutierrez (Sauber).
8th row: Kevin Magnussen (McLaren), Jean-Eric Vergne (Toro Rosso).
9th row: Adrian Sutil (Sauber), Max Chilton (Marussia).
10th row: Jules Bianchi (Marussia), Marcus Ericsson (Caterham).
11th row: Kamui Kobayashi (Caterham), Pastor Maldonado (Lotus).