MONTMELO, Spain (AP) — Formula One leader Valtteri Bottas won pole position for a third straight grand prix after topping qualifying at the Spanish GP with a new track record on Saturday.
Teammate and defending champion Lewis Hamilton was next, setting up Mercedes’ dominant pair with a good shot at scoring a fifth consecutive one-two race finish to start the season.
Bottas bettered Hamilton’s track record from 2018 qualifying at the Barcelona-Catalunya Circuit with a lap of 1 minute, 15:406 seconds.
“I really enjoyed that adrenaline rush from those laps,” Bottas said.
“It started well, this season. Just the way I hoped for. I am feeling better and better in the car.”
Hamilton praised his teammate, who has emerged as the No. 1 challenger to stopping him from winning a sixth world title. Bottas leads Hamilton by one point in the standings.
“Valtteri did a fantastic job. He has been quick all weekend,” Hamilton said. “I just didn’t do the job on my side.”
Hamilton then said he hoped to celebrate another Mercedes team victory on Sunday, but with him on top. “I’ll be giving it everything. Great for the…