Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes on top in crash-hit Spanish GP practice

Phil Duncan

The top four were separated by only 0.132 seconds at the end of the session? which promises a close race on Sunday at the Circuit de Catalunya.

The City of Miami Commission and Miami-Dade County unanimously granted their preliminary approval on Thursday for a proposal to authorise city manager Emilio Gonzalez to negotiate a contract with Formula One by July 1.

Lewis Hamilton secured pole position for the Spanish Grand Prix, leading the first Mercedes front-row lockout of the 2018 Formula 1 season. Bottas topped F1 while Hamilton was ahead in FP2 and marginally ahead of his team-mate in third and final practice this morning.

"It was important for me to get back into a good position with qualifying as it is a huge strength of mine so it is definitely important".

Hamilton, who won from pole a year ago and who is seeking to extend his record run of points-scoring finishes to 30 races, had started the day unexcited by his prospects following Mercedes' struggle to extract a strong performance from their new vehicle.

The former race victor was 19th, in 1:21.510, and faster than teenage Canadian team mate Lance Stroll in last place on the timesheets with a best of 1:22.756 after his vehicle went off into the gravel.

Valtteri Bottas will start second after finishing less than a tenth of a second behind his Mercedes teammate.

Qualifying was later Saturday and there was a small chance of rain.

The two Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo were fifth and sixth.

"If this weekend, we happen to get on top of the issues we have with the auto and start to be more consistent, then I will be a lot happier because I know then I can punch either at my weight or a little bit above". "The day was pretty good, but it was a tricky one because it was so windy", Hamilton said. A fuel pressure problem at the start of Q1 meant that he only had time for one hotlap at the end of the session.

Hamilton said: "It is going to be relatively close between the top three teams but I can't really say who is quickest at the moment".

"We just need new parts as soon as possible and to keep going in this direction". Renault's Carlos Sainz finished ninth ahead of Haas' Romain Grosjean.

Brendon Hartley failed to set a time after destroying his vehicle in a heavy crash in final practice, meaning he will start from the back of the pack. Without diving too deeply into rubbery topics, Hamilton's Mercedes was again uncomfortable on the softer compound tyre, suggesting qualifying might be tricky.

A hard weekend for Williams, who were well off the pace, was compounded when Lance Stroll crashed in Q3, going wide on the exit of turn 12.

Sirotkin has a three-place grid penalty, however, as a result of a collision in Azerbaijan.

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