Rosberg breaks Hamilton's run with pole in Spain

© XPB 

Nico Rosberg ended Lewis Hamilton's dominance of qualifying by taking pole position for the Spanish Grand Prix.

The result is the first time Hamilton has been beaten in qualifying this season, with Rosberg looking strong throughout the afternoon at the Circuit de Catalunya. Having been quickest in Q2, Rosberg then put down a marker at the start of Q3 by posting a time 0.3s quicker than Hamilton. With neither driver improving on their final runs, Rosberg took his first pole of the year ahead of his team-mate.

Sebastian Vettel will start from third place having ended the session a little under 0.8s slower than Rosberg, and he will be joined by Valtteri Bottas on row two. An impressive performance from both Toro Rosso rookies saw Carlos Sainz take fifth ahead of Max Verstappen in sixth.

Kimi Raikkonen's qualifying woes returned as he could only qualify seventh on the grid, a full second slower than team-mate Vettel. Daniil Kvyat, Felipe Massa and Daniel Ricciardo complete the top ten.

The drop zone was set early in the second part of qualifying, with both Lotus and McLaren drivers joined by Felipe Nasr outside the top ten after the first runs. All five were well adrift of the Red Bulls in ninth and tenth, and despite a few improvements none of them were able to bridge the gap.

As a result, Romain Grosjean dropped out in 11th place, half a second away from a spot in Q3. He heads team-mate Pastor Maldonado, with the two McLaren's of Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button also failing to improve sufficiently and Nasr the slowest of the five to drop out.

Q1 saw the order changing rapidly at the end of the session as the majority of teams opted to run the medium compound tyre. With the two Force India drivers dropping down the order to join the Manors in the bottom five, Button required a final flying lap to make it through in to the second part of qualifying.

Mercedes had already set down a marker in Q1 as Hamilton and Rosberg set the pace on hard tyres ahead of Kimi Raikkonen, despite the latter opting to run the medium tyre late in the session.

Click here for Saturday's gallery from the Spanish Grand Prix

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Pos Driver Team Q1 Q2 Q3
01 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:26.490 1:25.166 1:24.681
02 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:26.382 1:25.740 1:24.948
03 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:27.534 1:26.167 1:25.458
04 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:27.262 1:26.197 1:25.694
05 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso 1:26.773 1:26.475 1:26.136
06 Max Verstappen Toro Rosso 1:27.393 1:26.441 1:26.249
07 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:26.637 1:26.016 1:26.414
08 Daniil Kvyat Red Bull 1:27.833 1:26.889 1:26.629
09 Felipe Massa Williams 1:27.165 1:26.147 1:26.757
10 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:27.611 1:26.692 1:26.770
11 Romain Grosjean Lotus 1:27.383 1:27.375
12 Pastor Maldonado Lotus 1:27.281 1:27.450
13 Fernando Alonso McLaren 1:27.941 1:27.760
14 Jenson Button McLaren 1:27.813 1:27.854
15 Felipe Nasr Sauber 1:27.625 1:28.005
16 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 1:28.112
17 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:28.365
18 Sergio Perez Force India 1:28.442
19 Will Stevens Manor 1:31.200
20 Roberto Merhi Manor 1:32.038