ANOTHER MERC DUEL: Nico Rosberg (left), who took pole, with Mercedes team mate Lewis Hamilton after qualifying for the 2015 Spanish Formula 1 GP. Image: AP / Manu Fernandez
BARCELONA, Spain - Nico Rosberg has at last taken his first pole position of 2015 with the fastest qualifying lap ahead of the Spanish GP, blocking Mercedes team mate Lewis Hamilton's bid for five in a row.
Rosberg was also fastest in two of the three practice sessions and continued that form with a dynamic drive in qualifying. He finished 0.267sec clear of Hamilton and 0.777 ahead of Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel.
"Awesome, thanks guys!" Rosberg told his team on the comms link and gave a double thumbs-up as he stepped out of his car. His previous pole came at the season-ending 2014 Abu Dhabi GP; his most recent win was at the 2014 Brazilian GP, where he started from pole.
FIRST WIN OF THE SEASON LOOMS
Rosberg said: "Psychologically it feels great. Starting with the car I have I will be trying for the win for sure. Strategy is going to be important. Overtaking is more difficult on this track so starting in front is a particularly big advantage."
Rosberg is aiming for his ninth career race victory and his first of 2015.
Of the past 24 races held at the Catalunya track, 18 have been won from pole - a fact not lost on Hamilton, who won the 2014 Spanish GP from there.
Hamilton said: "It is very, very difficult to overtake, as has been shown over the years. Nico did a great job."
However, with more than 700m to the first turn, Hamilton can get ahead of Rosberg if he makes a strong start.
Rosberg drove aggressively from the start of qualifying, even beating Hamilton's 2014 pole time in the third practice run. He was keen to make amends for the 2015 Bahrain G, where, by his own admission, he drove too conservatively in qualifying and ended up third on the grid behind Vettel and Hamilton.
Rosberg said: "For sure Bahrain was still in my mind. I wanted to make sure I didn't make that mistake again. I just got myself into a rhythm and it worked out well."
Vettel, who beat Hamilton at the 2015 Malaysian GP, will need a strong performance to challenge the Mercedes cars on Sunday (May 10).
Vettel said: "We would have loved to be a little closer. I hope it will be better in the race, we expected them to be very strong."
McLAREN CONTINUES TO STRUGGLE
The most recent Spaniard to win at Barcelona was Fernando Alonso in 2013, and the double champion has all but no chance of even a podium after qualifying 13th ahead of McLaren team mate Jenson Button.
McLaren, which has struggled since switching to Honda power units, has yet to score a point in 2015; Alonso's best finish has been 11th in Bahrain.
Home fans still had something to cheer about with Toro Rosso driver Carlos Sainz jnr, son of double World Rally champion Carlos Sainz, qualifying fifth behind Williams' Valtteri Bottas and ahead of his Toro Rosso team mate Max Verstappen.
Verstappen will start ahead of Kimi Raikkonen, who was a disappointing seventh for Ferrari.
2015 Spanish GP results at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya:
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