Lewis Hamilton (4/7 – Spanish GP outright) conceded he did have balance issues in his Mercedes during qualifying, but is hoping he can make his 100th career pole count on Sunday at the Spanish Grand Prix.

The Englishman admitted his achievement of securing a 100th career pole on Saturday was difficult to compute, as he finished just ahead of Red Bull rival Max Verstappen (2/1 – Spanish GP outright) and Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas.

However, Hamilton was made to work hard for the fastest time in Q3 and complained of issues during the earlier sessions.

“(This time) I didn’t really have the right balance (at the start of the session), and I was behind,” Hamilton said. “No matter the changes I was making (to the car), I was still slightly behind, still slightly behind, still not quite there.

“I was making these changes and hoping that by Q3: ‘This is is all I’ve got, so make the best of it.’

“I do feel like it was a very, very clean and precise lap and I guess that’s how I’ve managed to be just ahead of Max. I’m proud of it, that’s for sure.”

Seven-time world champion Hamilton was just 0.036 seconds faster than Dutchman Verstappen, who was in turn 0.096secs ahead of Finnish racer Bottas (10/1 – Spanish GP outright).

Further down the grid in fourth Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc produced an impressive lap on his last run to finish just ahead of Alpine’s Esteban Ocon.

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