Hamilton quickest by some way on Day One in Spain
Lewis Hamilton carried on from where he left off in China two weeks ago, by dominating the first day's practice for Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona. The British driver was appreciably faster than the rest of the field and was almost half a second quicker than his team-mate Nico Rosberg in second place.
Daniel Ricciardo was quickest of the two Red Bulls in third, once again out-pacing his illustrious team-mate and four times World Champion Sebastian Vettel. Vettel only completed four laps during the day following an electrical problem on the new chassis that he is using to replace the car that he used earlier in the season.
Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, looking to do well in front of his passionate "home" Grand Prix fans, was fourth but over one and a half seconds slower than Hamilton. His team-mate Kimi Raikkonen was behind him in fifth. The Finn is much closer to his Spanish team-mate than he has been in the four races to date. It may be too early in the weekend to see what his overall form will be like, but insiders are suggesting that he is beginning to get the handle of the Italian car and could now start to be the force to be reckoned with that Ferrari hope he will be.
Kevin Magnussen was sixth for McLaren, marginally quicker than his British team-mate Jenson Button. McLaren are desperately looking for an improvement in form and have a host of new parts for the cars. Others to improve include the Lotus of Pastor Maldonado. The Venezuelan has had his best Friday of the season and will be encouraged by ninth place, behind the Williams of Felipe Massa, although the team will be concerned by the talk from engine supplier Renault that they will start to withhold engine supply to teams who do not keep up with payments. There is no suggestion that this is directed at Lotus but the other users Red Bull, Toro Rosso and Caterham, have all made statements saying that they are on schedule in their relationship with the French manufacturer.
Yallabahrain will carry up-dates and images throughout the weekend.
Hamilton and Rosberg front row lock-out in Spain
Lewis Hamilton's blistering pace at the Circuit de Catalunya placed him not only on pole for Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix, but in a strong position to walk away with his fourth straight victory in a row and a lead in the World Driver's Championship.
The Englishman dominated free practice and qualifying for this weekend's race and led home team mate Nico Rosberg by just over two hundredths of a second. The Mercedes team will be tremendously pleased with a front row lock-out, but even more pleased with the overall performance of their two drivers and cars. The pace was spectacular, especially when measured against the third place time of Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo, who yet again out qualified his World Champion team mate Sebastian Vettel.
Vettel has so far endured an unproductive weekend; completing few laps in Friday and not registering a lap or a time in Q3; stopping on track and bringing out a red flag. He was classified tenth.
Williams' Flying Finn Valtteri Bottas was fourth with a solid qualifying for the team and his best this year ahead of a vastly improved Romain Grosjean in the Lotus. After a hugely troubled year to date, Lotus will be very pleased with fifth place on Sunday's grid. Grosjean's team mate Pastor Maldonado crashed bringing the Q1 session to a halt and starts last.
Kimi Raikkonen was the fastest of the Ferrari's in sixth with his Spanish team mate Fernando Alonso just behind him in seventh. Ferrari will be encouraged by Raikkonen's better qualifying but alarmed that they are a shade under two seconds slower than Mercedes. Expect a strong race from Alonso in front of the partisan home crowd.
McLaren's woes continue with Jenson Button over two seconds off the Mercedes pace and that of his former stable mate Hamilton. Kevin Magnussen was fourteenth with a performance that underlines the team's frustration. An encouraging start to the year seems miles away now and they are staring down the barrel at another poor year.
Bottas' partner Felipe Massa was ninth and Vettel, with no time in Q3, was tenth.
Yallabahrain will bring you coverage on Sunday afternoon's Grand Prix from Spain - round five of the World Championship - along with pictures from the Sutton Images team trackside at the Circuit de Catalunya outside Barcelona.