Fourth win in a row beckons for Lewis Hamilton after dominating Spanish practice
Mercedes driver fastest in both of the day's practice sessions
By Pete Gill. Last Updated: 09/05/14 4:54pm
A serene Lewis Hamilton looks perfectly poised to claim his fourth successive F1 victory - and, with it, the lead of the World Championship - in Sunday's Spanish GP after dominating Friday's practice sessions.
Fastest by eight-tenths of a second in Practice One, and fastest again in Practice Two by almost half a second from team-mate Nico Rosberg, a resplendent Hamilton was in a class of his own from start to finish at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya as Mercedes emphatically quelled any thought of a fightback from their distant rivals.
Apparently in the form of his career as he pursues the crowning glory of a second title, Hamilton maintained his advantage over the rest of his field - including his beleaguered team-mate - during their race simulations with the Englishman reckoned to be, on average, nine-tenths quicker per lap than the Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo.
"It's gone really well. It felt pretty bad in the morning, but then we made some changes in the afternoon and it felt pretty good and I was pleasantly surprised," Hamilton told Sky Sports News.
"I think with the pace we have, it is always important to get pole and it is very difficult to overtake here - even following backmarkers today it was very difficult to get past people. So positioning is everything and we will do everything we can to get as high as possible, but the race is obviously the most important thing to look after the tyres."
Tyre preservation used to be considered Hamilton's nemesis, but the 29-year-old appears to be an entirely different proposition this year, re-energised by his peerless W05 and the sport's revolutionary rules reset, and utterly devoted to the pursuit of a second World Championship.
"It is an incredible feeling to be part of the huge amount of energy I feel here and and to be an integral part of that," he added. "It's been a great day today and I'm happy to be back in the car after what feels like quite a long break."
Following his triumphs in Malaysia, Bahrain and China, a fourth consecutive win will guarantee Hamilton leads the championship heading to the season's showpiece event, the Monaco GP.
On Friday's evidence in Barcelona, there may be no stopping him.