What you need to know:
- Championship leader Hamilton took his fifth pole at the Barcelona track and the 92nd of his career in total
- Sunday will be Hamilton's 150th front row start from a session that may have seen Mercedes enjoying their 'party' qualifying engine mode for the final time. It was the 'Black Arrows' record 68th front row lockout
- Verstappen was ahead of the two Racing Points of Sergio Perez, back in action after missing two races with coronavirus, and Lance Stroll with Alex Albon taking sixth place in the second Red Bull
Lewis Hamilton claimed pole position for the Formula One Spanish Grand Prix on Saturday after pipping teammate and title rival Valtteri Bottas in a Mercedes qualifying one-two.
Championship leader Hamilton took his fifth pole at the Barcelona track and the 92nd of his career in total after finishing 0.059sec ahead of Bottas, who is third in the drivers' standings.
"I couldn't go quicker on my second lap, which I thought I could, but the first lap was a good job thankfully," said Hamilton.
"I was here with my guys until 10 o'clock (2300 EAT) last night just looking all the details and how to improve because the Red Bull guys are super fast."
Bottas said: "I knew it was going to be close with Lewis -- as always. The start will be my best chance."
Sunday will be Hamilton's 150th front row start from a session that may have seen Mercedes enjoying their 'party' qualifying engine mode for the final time. It was the 'Black Arrows' record 68th front row lockout.
Red Bull's Max Verstappen, who is second in the driver standings, 30 points behind six-time world champion Hamilton, qualified in third after finishing 0.708sec back.
"We can be a bit closer in the race... it is hard to overtake around here but we're going to do everything we can to be close and make it difficult," Dutchman Verstappen said.
Verstappen was ahead of the two Racing Points of Sergio Perez, back in action after missing two races with coronavirus, and Lance Stroll with Alex Albon taking sixth place in the second Red Bull.
Carlos Sainz was seventh ahead of his McLaren team-mate Lando Norris, Ferrari's Charles Leclerc and Pierre Gasly of Alpha Tauri.
On a hot summer's day at the Circuit de Catalunya, the air temperature was 30 degrees celsius and the track a sweltering 50 degrees as Q1 began with the Williams drivers leading the way.
A gusty wind had arrived since the final practice in the morning, adding another factor to the struggle for grip experienced by most drivers.
Hamilton topped the initial runs ahead of the two rapid Racing Points and stayed on top while Raikkonen, for the first time this year, proceeded to Q2 leaving his Alfa Romeo team-mate Antonio Giovinazzi 20th and last.
The Italian was eliminated along with both Williams drivers, Nicholas Latifi and George Russell, Romain Grosjean and his Haas team-mate Kevin Magnussen.
The Q2 segment started with both Mercedes out early on soft tyres, Hamilton pipping Bottas by one-tenth of a second before Verstappen, half a second down, went third and Sainz fourth.
The second run was preceded by desultory preparation laps, as they preserved their soft tyres, before in the final seconds Gasly jumped to fifth and, in the process, dumped the luckless Sebastian Vettel out of the top 10 shoot-out by 0.002 seconds.
The four-time world champion was 11th ahead of Daniil Kvyat of Alpha Tauri, Daniel Ricciardo of Renault, Raikkonen and Esteban Ocon, in the second Renault.
"It must be one of the most difficult challenges he has faced in his career," observed 2016 champion Nico Rosberg, talking on Sky Sports F1 of Vettel's plight as he struggles to recover his form.
In Q3, Hamilton was fastest again on the opening runs, securing provisional pole ahead of Bottas by 0.059 with Verstappen third, seven-tenths adrift of the champion - a gap that may be reduced next time with the likely ban on 'party' modes for qualifying.
Bottas did his utmost on his second run, but it was not enough to overhaul Hamilton's lap time and the Briton was on pole before he completed his flying lap.