After his qualifying troubles in China and Russia, Lewis Hamilton bounced back with a pole position at the Barcelona circuit in a session where Max Verstappen starred.
As many expected it was all about Mercedes in Saturday’s qualifying for the Spanish GP as the Brackley duo traded blows in the opening segments; Rosberg quickest in Q1 and Hamilton in Q3.
But, when it really mattered, it was Hamilton who came to the fore.
Hamilton made a mistake on his first run, locking up at Turn 10, which allowed Rosberg an easy run to P1. He posted a 1:22.475.
Hamilton responded with a 1:22.000 to take pole position, a time that Rosberg was not able to match. He finished 0.280s down on his team-mate.
Behind them Ferrari and Red Bull engaged in a battle for third with Max Verstappen taking the early advantage as he slotted into P2. Sebastian Vettel was fourth, Kimi Raikkonen fifth and Daniel Ricciardo sixth.
However, on their second runs of the session it was Ricciardo who jumped to third ahead of Verstappen, Raikkoen and Vettel.
Valtteri Bottas was seventh ahead of Carlos Sainz, Sergio Perez and Fernando Alonso, who progressed to Q3 for the first time this season.
There was a bit of drama in Q1 as Felipe Massa failed to progress. The Brazilian put in just one run and qualified P18.
Williams technical director Pat Symonds billed it as a “bit of a shocker” before revealing that GPS data shows that Massa lost time at Turn 5, 7 and 9.
Massa blamed a “timing issue – traffic on the track and then I didn’t have enough time to get back out.”
1 Hamilton Mercedes 1:22.000
2 Rosberg Mercedes 1:22.280
3 Ricciardo Red Bull 1:22.680
4 Verstappen Red Bull 1:23.087
5 Raikkonen Ferrari 1:23.113
6 Vettel Ferrari 1:23.334
7 Bottas Williams 1:23.522
8 Sainz Toro Rosso 1:23.643
9 Perez Force India 1:23.782
10 Alonso McLaren 1:23.891
11 Hulkenberg Force India 1:24.203
12 Button McLaren 1:24.348
13 Kvyat Toro Rosso 1:24.445
14 Grosjean Haas 1:24.480
15 Magnussen Renault 1:24.625
16 Gutierrez Haas 1:24.788
17 Palmer Renault 1:24.903
18 Massa Williams 1:24.941
19 Ericsson Sauber 1:25.202
20 Nasr Sauber 1:25.579
21 Wehrlein Manor 1:25.745
22 Haryanto Manor 1:25.939