Lewis Hamilton beats Valtteri Bottas to pole for Spanish Grand Prix

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• Bottas just four-hundredths behind Mercedes team-mate
• Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen take third and fourth

There was no sense of complacency and far from any suggestion that anything except a long, hard battle lies ahead for Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes at Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix. Yet it was hard not to discern a sense of relief and satisfaction after he claimed pole position and in doing so completed a powerful demonstration both of his skill and the fact Mercedes are very much still a force to be reckoned with.

Hamilton’s 74th career pole is a return to form just when he needed it, having been outpaced over the single lap at Bahrain and China by his team-mate Valtteri Bottas – who was second here – and by Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, who took pole in the last three races but was third in Spain.

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