x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Button is in prime position

The world championship leader Jenson Button went out last in the qualifying session for today's Spanish Grand Prix but at the end of it he was first on the grid, setting a track record at the Circuit de Catalunya.

BARCELONA // The world championship leader Jenson Button went out last in the qualifying session for today's Spanish Grand Prix but at the end of it he was first on the grid, setting a track record at the Circuit de Catalunya. The record time served a ominous note for his rivals who are trying to stop the Brawn GP driver from running away with the title.

He stole pole yesterday from Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel after his quickest lap of 1min 20.527sec, broke Felipe Massa's old track record, set two years ago. The last eight winners at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya - and 13 of the last 14 overall - have all started on pole, underlining how notoriously difficult it is to overtake on this track. As well as being his third pole of the season it was Button's sixth of his Formula One career. "It's by far the best lap I've had this weekend," Button said. "All weekend this car has been tremendous through qualifying. I found it very difficult to sort of hang on to it on the low fuel, but I got the lap on the high fuel. I'm very happy, and this was a bit of a surprise in a way."

Pole was snatched in the dying moments ahead of Vettel, with Button's Brawn GP teammate Rubens Barrichello third. Felipe Massa epitomised Ferrari's improvement this weekend as he will start from a season-high fourth, with Mark Webber in his Red Bull fifth. Reigning champion Lewis Hamilton was well off the pace and he will start from 14th, the worst position of his F1 career in the dry. "We did the best we could, but the laps weren't fantastic. We had hoped to be higher up," Hamilton said.

Kimi Raikkonen and Hamilton's teammate Heikki Kovalainen failed to make it into Q2. @Email:sports@thenational.ae More F1 coverage,s8-9