Lewis Hamilton earned his 100th Formula 1 career pole position in Spain overnight, becoming the first driver in history to reach the milestone.
The defending world champion edged Max Verstappen for pole by 0.036s after neither driver improved on their second run.
Verstappen threw the gauntlet down in Q2 when he surged to provisional pole, setting up an exciting top-ten shootout.
The Barcelona circuit is the place Verstappen etched his name into F1 history books by becoming the youngest-ever race winner.
However, Hamilton posted a marginally quicker opening run in Q3, which would secure him his century of pole positions.
“Who would have thought in 2013 or the end of 2012 when we made the decision to partner we would have been qualifying at 100?” Hamilton said.
“So, I feel very humble. I am ecstatic. It’s like my first.”
Valtteri Bottas ended up third and will start ahead of Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc.
Esteban Ocon slotted into fifth and split the two Ferraris, with Carlos Sainz slipping down to sixth after the final runs.
Two McLarens made it into Q3, with Daniel Ricciardo in seventh and Lando Norris ending up ninth.
A spin on his first Q3 run meant Sergio Perez had only one chance to set a competitive time.
Though he only managed the eighth-best time and was over a second slower than his Red Bull teammate.
Fernando Alonso was the last driver in the top ten on his return to his home circuit.
Lance Stroll was 0.006s from deposing Alonso from a place in Q3 but ultimately settles for 11th on the grid in the leading Aston Martin.
Stroll’s teammate, Sebastian Vettel, was 13th. Pierre Gasly split the pair.
Antonio Giovinazzi and George Russell completed the Q2 runners, with the latter continuing his perfect record of Q2 appearances this season.
An outspoken Yuki Tsunoda was a disappointing 16th. His complaints of a car he labelled as ‘terrible’ led him to have to apologise to his team.
Kimi Raikkonen was a lowly 17th and is joined on the second-to-last row by Mick Schumacher.
Nicholas Latiifi and Nikita Mazepin rounded out the field.
The Spanish Grand Prix is slated to begin at 1 am NZT Monday.
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