Lewis Hamilton back on track with pole in Spain

Spanish Grand Prix

Verstappen took third despite damaging his front wing

There's been so much happening, on and off track, and with Barcelona being the first race on the European circuit, interest is even higher.

"I needed this pole - I've not had one for a while", said Hamilton who leads Vettel in the drivers' title race by just four points after four races. Team mate Valtteri Bottas took second place while Red Bull's Max Verstappen took third place after a botched pit stop ruined Sebastian Vettel's chance of making podium during a virtual safety auto stint.

Lance Stroll, for the second time this week, spun off the track, this time in the final sector, and got bogged in the gravel and exited round one.

The safety vehicle was deployed for six laps here to deal with the debris before Hamilton executed a masterful restart to leave Vettel for dust, and by lap 15, the Brit had already moved 6.5 seconds clear of his rival. No, we have enjoyed a keen start to the season. He has won more thrilling races in the past and will do so in the future.

Hamilton has been desperate for a return to form over the single lap and with his Mercedes finally performing as expected and required he managed it superbly.

While Hamilton reported drizzle on his visor on lap 21, Bottas' pace surged, over 1.2 seconds faster than Vettel. Once again, Ferrari's strategic decisions have been called into question.

In recording a strong finish for Red Bull, Verstappen rounded off a good weekend. Mercedes have not been able to get the most from their vehicle since the opening round in Melbourne and have been repeatedly out-paced by Ferrari.

"I'll have a good sleep and come back tomorrow fresh, anything is possible", he said. We just didn't have enough pace at the end.

After spending the last three full days in the paddock, we couldn't possibly be more excited about the race itself.

Hamilton issued 74-th pole in his career and second of the season, ending a run of three Grand Prix without a win in qualifying.

Hamilton checked out upon the re-start and opened up a big lead in the first quarter of the race.

Ferrari was Mercedes closest rivals as four-time champion Sebastian Vettel and his team-mate Kimi Raikkonen finished at the third and fourth spot respectively.

Mexican Sergio Perez was ninth for Force India and Monegasque rookie Charles Leclerc took the final point for Sauber.

Only 14 of the 20 starters completed the race. He lost control of his auto behind team-mate Magnussen at Turn Three and spun, but then bizarrely kept his foot buried in the throttle, causing the vehicle to spin around back onto the track shrouded in clouds of tyre smoke.

Toro Rosso's Pierre Gasly and Renault's Nico Hulkenberg were unsighted and could do little to avoid Grosjean as they both crashed into his out-of-control vehicle.

Clearly upset and crestfallen, Grosjean kept his helmet on as he slumped on some nearby steps before going to the medical centre for a check-up.

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