Spanish Grand Prix – Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton said he knew Ferrari were sandbagging throughout Friday’s practice as they turned up the heat for qualifying.
Mercedes were clearly fastest in Friday practice, with Ferrari failing to trouble the top of the timesheets in either FP1 or FP2. That continued in Saturday’s FP3 session, before the red cars unleashed their pace in qualifying to go fastest in Q1 & Q2.
However, they were unable to trouble Mercedes on the SuperSoft tyre runs in Q3, and had to resort to the Soft tyre to set their best times, and Hamilton said that he had to utilise every bit of performance from his W09 to take the pole position:
“It was a very close qualifying session today and it took everything we’ve got to take pole. Ferrari were sandbagging until this afternoon and Valtteri has been driving exceptionally well; it’s fantastic for the team to get the front row and I know everyone will be very happy.
“Qualifying has always been a strength for me but I’ve had some tricky sessions since Melbourne, so I’m pleased to be back in a good position with it.
“It has been a constant learning process with the tyres, getting them working in a very narrow window, but today we had them working. There is still lots of work to do tomorrow but this is a good way to start the weekend.”
Mercedes took their first front row lockout of 2018, an unimaginable feat at the start of this season considering the extent of their domination over the last four seasons. With the team and Hamilton in particular seemingly off the boil over the last couple of races, the reigning Champion said that everyone had been working hard to rectify their small deficit:
“The team has been working so hard in the last weeks to improve our performance so I must say a big thank you to everybody here and back at the factory.
“They have kept their heads down and been really open-minded to find new ways to try and improve; it’s been great to be part of and that’s what it takes to be a winning team.”