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Lewis chasing 'ultimate' Spain win

Sky Sports logo Sky Sports 13/05/2018 skysports.com
Sebastian Vettel wearing a uniform posing for the camera: Getty © Provided by BSkyB Getty

Lewis Hamilton will start on pole after out-pacing Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas and Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel in a fascinating qualifying, and comes into the race with a slender championship lead after taking his first victory of the season at the last event in Baku.

But the reigning world champion admitted his Azerbaijan GP triumph did not feel as sweet due to the circumstances - Bottas suffered a puncture and Vettel locked up - and Hamilton is determined to win in a different manner on Sunday.

"Of course I want to come here and deliver the ultimate performance and get the win," Hamilton told Sky F1's Natalie Pinkham after taking his 74th career pole.

CIRCUIT DE CATALUNYA, MONTMEL√≤, BARCELONA, SPAIN - 2018/05/12: Sebastian Vettel shakes hands with Lewis Hamilton F1  at the end of the qualifying for the Spanish Formula One Grand Prix. (Photo by Marco Canoniero/LightRocket via Getty Images) © Getty CIRCUIT DE CATALUNYA, MONTMEL√≤, BARCELONA, SPAIN - 2018/05/12: Sebastian Vettel shakes hands with Lewis Hamilton F1 at the end of the qualifying for the Spanish Formula One Grand Prix. (Photo by Marco Canoniero/LightRocket via Getty Images)

"Not through having other circumstances collide, enabling it to happen."

But Hamilton also believes he could have been too harsh on himself following the last race, questioning Vettel's "mistake" when his title rival attempted an overtake.

"A lot of people said I was quite harsh on myself," he added. "I didn't think that way but when I got back to the factory and they showed me the race traces, I actually had really good pace through the race. I thought it was a lot worse than it was.

Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas (77) of Finland, Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton (44) of Great Britain and Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel (5) of Germany after the Q3  celebrated at Circuit of Barcelona 12th May 2018 in Barcelona, Spain. (Credit: Urbanandsport / NurPhoto via Getty Images) -- (Photo by Urbanandsport/NurPhoto via Getty Images) © Getty Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas (77) of Finland, Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton (44) of Great Britain and Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel (5) of Germany after the Q3 celebrated at Circuit of Barcelona 12th May 2018 in Barcelona, Spain. (Credit: Urbanandsport / NurPhoto via Getty Images) -- (Photo by Urbanandsport/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

"Ultimately you have to be in it to win it. I put myself in the position, I hadn't made the mistakes that, for example, Sebastian made."

Mercedes sealed their first front-row lockout of the season in Barcelona qualifying, with an in-form Bottas just four hundredths of a second adrift of his team-mate.

But while their pole streak was ended, Ferrari still appeared to have impressive pace with Vettel just a tenth back from the front row despite setting his fastest lap on the supposedly slower soft tyre.

Lewis Hamilton: I Will Need Luck To Win Title: Provided by Wochit News


Hamilton insisted the Scuderia had been sandbagging through the weekend but that he was "enjoying the battle" of a "very tough" 2018 F1 season.

Vettel, meanwhile, four points behind Hamilton in the drivers' standings, said: "We will try to put on a lot of pressure.

"We tried everything but they were just a bit quicker. Obviously overtaking here is difficult but nevertheless, I think it could be an exciting race."

First placed Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton (R) and second placed Mercedes' Finnish driver Valtteri Bottas celebrate after the qualifying session at the Circuit de Catalunya in Montmelo in the outskirts of Barcelona on May 12, 2018 ahead of the Spanish Formula One Grand Prix. (Photo by LLUIS GENE / AFP)        (Photo credit should read LLUIS GENE/AFP/Getty Images) © Getty First placed Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton (R) and second placed Mercedes' Finnish driver Valtteri Bottas celebrate after the qualifying session at the Circuit de Catalunya in Montmelo in the outskirts of Barcelona on May 12, 2018 ahead of the Spanish Formula One Grand Prix. (Photo by LLUIS GENE / AFP) (Photo credit should read LLUIS GENE/AFP/Getty Images)

He also insisted Red Bull's Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo - starting on the third row - will be a "big threat" come lights out.

"In terms of race pace we should all be the same," he explained "I don't think you can make out a favourite.

"Hopefully after the race we are faster than the others. But that's the exciting bit going into the race, I know that we will be quick but I know that the others will be quick too."

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