Hamilton seeking first Spanish GP win next weekend

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After a three week break, Formula 1 is set to return next weekend with the beginning of the European season at the Spanish Grand Prix.

Having won the last three races, the man in peak form is unquestionably Lewis Hamilton, and the Briton is now looking to extend this streak by claiming his first victory at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

“It’s been good to have a bit of a break between races: for us as drivers and also for the team who have been working flat out for so many weeks,” he explained. “But after three great weekends in Malaysia, Bahrain and China I’m obviously keen to get on to the next one and continue that positive momentum into the next leg of the season.

“I’ve never won in Barcelona but I’m in a good place right now and I’m hoping that this will be the year, although it’s clear who the fans’ favorite will be!

“The circuit is fantastic, our car has performed well so far and I’m really looking forward to a good race.”

As Hamilton alluded to, Spanish driver Fernando Alonso will have home support behind him as the grandstands are draped in Ferrari red and Oviedo blue for the weekend.

Having won the race twice, the two-time world champion will be hoping to spoil Mercedes’ party and snatch a win next Sunday, although it might be something of a long shot given the Silver Arrows’ dominance so far this season.

Instead, it looks set to be another intra-team battle at Mercedes as Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg both continue to tussle for the championship lead. Rosberg currently holds the upper hand by just four points, but having seen his teammate win the last three races, he will unquestionably have been rattled slightly.

It is by no means a foregone conclusion, but if there is one man to back at this early stage to win in Spain, it has to be Hamilton.

Josef Newgarden wins pole for Grand Prix of Alabama

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With time running off the clock, Josef Newgarden lapped Barber Motorsports Park with a speed of 122.773 mph to win his third career pole and first on this track in the Grand Prix of Alabama.

Newgarden was .0128 seconds faster than teammate Scott Dixon in second.

Newgarden has two previous wins at Barber. He won last year’s edition of this race after starting seventh and in 2015 from fifth.

“I didn’t know if that was going to be enough,” Newgarden said after winning the pole.

“Team Chevy has done a good job,” Newgarden said. “They’ve really given us good power this weekend – good driveability. We’re going to need some fuel mileage tomorrow, which I think we’ll have. But it’s going to get mixed up with the rain.”

Dixon’s lap of 122.750 mph was not quite enough.

“I’m sure you could pick out a number of different things on a lap when it’s that close,” Power said about what made the slight difference between him and Newgarden. “A little mistake out of 9; a little lift here or there.”

Sebastien Bourdais (122.605 mph) qualified third, with Ryan Hunter-Reay (122.159) and James Hinchliffe (121.859) rounding out the top five.

Scott Dixon was the last driver in the top six.

Fast 12

Newgarden topped this chart with a speed of 123.475 mph.

He brought Power, James Hinchcliffe, Scott Dixon, Ryan Hunter-Reay, and Sebastien Bourdais along with him to the Fast 6.

Marco Andretti (122.480), Alexander Rossi (122.216), Simon Pagenaud (122.050), Robert Wickens (122.042), Zach Veach (121.784) and Ed Jones (120.984) failed to advance.

Round 1, Group 1

Newgarden posted the fastest single lap in round one, group one of qualification for the Grand Prix of Alabama with a speed of 122.550 mph.

Hunter-Reay, Hinchcliffe, Wickens, and Andretti also advance to the fast 12.

Taking the final slot was Jones with a speed of 119.835 mph after an off-course excursion in final practice.

This was Andretti’s first advancement to the fast 12 for the first time since 2014.

Round 1, Group 2

Power had the fastest lap of 121.570 mph.

Bourdais, Veach (who is battling food poisoning-like symptoms), Rossi, and Pagenaud grabbed positions 2-4.

Scott Dixon had an uncharacteristically slow lap of 121.006, but managed to advance to the fast 12 when the session was red-flagged for an incident involving Tony Kanaan.

With three minutes remaining, Kanaan spun into the tire barriers while leaving pit road. Since he brought out the red flag, he lost his qualification time of 119.996 mph.

Takuma Sato had slipped off-course midway through the session and posted only the Ninth-fastest speed of 120.789 mph.