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Formula 1

Charles Leclerc takes pole for Spanish GP while Lewis Hamilton will start in SIXTH behind Mercedes team-mate

CHARLES LECLERC took pole for tomorrow’s Spanish Grand Prix with a last-gasp flying lap.

Max Verstappen had set a provisional pole time with a cracking first run while championship leader Leclerc spun on his maiden attempt.

Max Verstappen, Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz, left to right, finished in the top three in qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix

But the Ferrari man made up for it on his second attempt with a blistering run that eventually proved to be 0.323 quicker than the Red Bull man, who did have some power problems.

Carlos Sainz qualified in third place as he strung together some clean laps while Mercedes were encouraged by George Russell‘s fourth place start.

The Silver Arrows had looked much-improved after a terrible start to the season and Russell’s performance, with team-mate Lewis Hamilton starting in sixth behind Sergio Perez, will give them more reasons to feel optimistic.

Meanwhile, Haas were left delighted after both Kevin Magnussen and Mick Schumacher reached the top 10 – despite the team bringing no upgrades to this race.

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While the likes of McLaren and Aston Martin chomped into their budget, with spending on development limited to £112million this season, Haas spent nothing and still outperformed them.

All the talk pre-qualifying was about Aston Martin’s car looking similar to Red Bull’s design.

But while it might look the same – it doesn’t go the same.

While the Red Bulls made it into Q3 comfortably with Verstappen leading the way, both Aston Martin’s were eliminated in Q1 with Sebastian Vettel starting 16th and Lance Stroll in 18th.

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There was also some disappointment for the home fans in the 110,000 strong crowd as two-time world champion Fernando Alonso was given the boot from qualifying in Q1.

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The Spaniard qualified in 17th in his Alpine after appearing to get blocked by Lando Norris.

However, having blasted the stewards the previous day for their poor decision making, they failed to take any action against the McLaren driver.

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