Hamilton takes pole at Spanish GP ahead of Vettel

Posted May 14, 2017

FERNANDO ALONSO stormed out of the Spanish Grand Prix to play tennis after his McLaren suffered another breakdown.

The two-time world champion is having the most frustrating season of his long career.

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen, who won the race a year ago at 18 to make history as the youngest victor, and Daniel Ricciardo were next.

Asked if he'd been given an extra lift by driving in front of his home fans, Alonso added: "Always here".

MONTMELO, Spain (AP) - Lewis Hamilton took pole position ahead of Sebastian Vettel at the Spanish Grand Prix, restoring Mercedes' dominance in Formula One qualifying on Saturday.

But rather than watch his contemporaries rack up the mileage during the 90-minute session, he deserted the paddock, with his trainer Edoardo Bendinelli in tow, for a game of tennis.

In the morning, Alonso had just made his entry on the track before his Spanish fans, when he stopped at the third corner, rear wheels blocked.

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His actions could be viewed as a very public gesture to those at Honda to solve the issues which have thwarted both his and McLaren's season. His afternoon session was marginally better, 21 laps but he was last and complaining the engine was even slower. Alonso said after the humbling day. "It is not my ability".

"I drive to support the team, and drive as fast as I can, but the problem is not entirely mine. It is much bigger for them".

"The engine was not good enough".

"From the data we lost the oil first so the pressure went down and still the engine was running, so the engine was OK, but once the oil pressure was down then the engine was broken", Hasegawa explained. "The engine blew up after 400 metres so I guess it was not ready for FP1". It was not a amusing thing to go outside of the circuit to play tennis, it was a preparation.

"I have very little time in these weeks, with travelling, with planes", he told reporters. "We knew that with one tenth between three or here we had to put a flawless lap together and today was one of those days when everything came together".

"Conditions were quite tricky, quite windy, but my vehicle was always giving me confidence that I was able to push 100 percent".

McLaren, the second most successful team in Formula One history in terms of race wins, have yet to score a point in four rounds of this year's championship and are last in the standings.