Lewis showed us some magic driving today!!!Lewis Hamilton and McLaren took pole position for the Spanish Grand Prix by a commanding margin over shock front row man Pastor Maldonado's Williams. In a session full of surprises, Hamilton was half a second quicker than Maldonado, who had been rapid in final practice, topped Q2, and then held provisional pole for a while. Hamilton was the only frontrunner to do two runs in Q3, and his initial benchmark stood until first local hero Fernando Alonso in the much improved Ferrari, then the incredible Maldonado beat him. But there was still more to come from Hamilton, who produced a 1m21.707s to give McLaren its 150th Formula 1 pole. The Briton then stopped on track on his slowing-down lap. Just behind Maldonado, Alonso held second ahead of Lotus team-mates Romain Grosjean and Kimi Raikkonen, who again proved extremely competitive.
Both Saubers made it into Q3, with Sergio Perez going on to take sixth, but Kamui Kobayashi consigned to 10th as his car expired on the way back to the pits at the end of Q2. Nico Rosberg was seventh after just one early run in Q3. Championship leader Sebastian Vettel starts eighth ahead of Michael Schumacher, both choosing not to set a time to conserve tyres for the race.
McLaren's Jenson Button and Mark Webber were the big casualties of qualifying, both drivers missing out on Q3 and starting 11th and 12th respectively. It means Button is faced with an uphill task in Sunday's race having struggled with the hard compound tyre throughout the weekend. It was a bad day for Felipe Massa as well, the Ferrari driver registering his worst grid position so far in this already-disappointing season as he qualified behind the Force Indias and Toro Rossos in 17th.
While Maldonado stormed towards the front, his Williams team-mate Bruno Senna pushed too hard in his efforts to keep up, spinning into the gravel at the end of Q1 and ensuring an instant exit. Vitaly Petrov outqualified Caterham team-mate Heikki Kovalainen for the first time as the back-of-the-grid teams lined up in the usual order. Charles Pic was quicker than fellow Marussia man Timo Glock, and HRT's Narain Karthikeyan will needs stewards' permission to race as apparent mechanical issues left him a long way from the 107 per cent margin.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap 1. Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:21.707 2. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1:22.285 + 0.578 3. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:22.302 + 0.595 4. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1:22.424 + 0.717 5. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1:22.487 + 0.780 6. Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1:22.533 + 0.826 7. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:23.005 + 1.298 8. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault No time 9. Michael Schumacher Mercedes No time 10. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari No time Q2 Fastest time: P. Maldonado 1:22.105s Gap 11. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:22.944 + 0.839 12. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1:22.977 + 0.872 13. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1:23.125 + 1.020 14. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1:23.177 + 1.072 15. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:23.265 + 1.160 16. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:23.442 + 1.337 17. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:23.444 + 1.339 Q1 Fastest time: L. Hamilton 1:22.583 Gap 18. Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 1:24.981 + 2.398 19. Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1:25.277 + 2.694 20. Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1:25.507 + 2.924 21. Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1:26.582 + 3.999 22. Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1:27.032 + 4.449 23. Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1:27.555 + 4.972 24. Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1:31.122 + 8.539
UPDATEPastor Maldonado will start from pole position for the Spanish Grand Prix after Lewis Hamilton was excluded from qualifying for not returning to the pits after setting his best lap. Hamilton's McLaren was found to not have had enough fuel on board to comply with the rules that demand a car returns to the pits under its own power after qualifying with enough petrol for a one-litre sample to be provided to the FIA.
Only under circumstances of 'force majeure' are drivers allowed to stop on that slowing down lap and stopping deliberately because there is not enough fuel to finish the tour and supply that sample is not acceptable. Following a meeting with the stewards at the Spanish Grand Prix, McLaren was informed that the 'technical' problem that it suggested was the reason for Hamilton being told to stop was not enough grounds to justify its action.