The trend looked set to continue in Barcelona, as the Silver Arrows trailed Ferrari through Q1 and Q2, only for Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas to step up in the pole shootout, the pair lapping 0.040s apart to secure the first Mercedes qualifying one-two of 2018.
"I am happy considering I had such a good week coming into this weekend so to have the performance so I am very happy with that".
"It was important for me to get back into a good position with qualifying, as it's usually a strength of mine".
The Briton was expected to be the frontrunner when the season got underway after the Mercedes team looked to be clearly quicker than their closest rivals Ferrari and Red Bull Racing after the pre-season tests in Barcelona. Lewis had a very good qualifying and, for us, as Lewis said, it's a ideal result for us and hopefully we can continue like this tomorrow. "We though the Super Soft was the better tyre for us and it worked, bit it was still marginal the gains we made". "In qualifying, we will have a clear reference how much we have improved compared to the others".
In a qualifying session where the leaders diverged with their tyre strategies, Hamilton and Bottas used Supersofts to claim a 1-2, as Soft-clad Vettel finished third. Obviously we were quite OK this morning and we were trying to find the right direction. "We've got some work to do overnight, I'm hoping it's cooler and calmer tomorrow". Even if they look the same, they are harder.
"At the start of the season they were very strong in Australia and then we took over but they were struggling".
"This is the auto we should have had in Australia".
"So far we can be happy", Vettel said. I think tomorrow it will be an interesting race and we'll be close; the same as happened in the last couple of races.
"Normally we make up six places every race, so starting eighth, if we keep up that tendency", he said. "I'm a bit disappointed but it could have been worse", he said.
"If it's within one tenth, a tenth and a half, you always think that maybe..." With the laps we put in I thought we would be more like a couple of tenths from pole, not six or seven, as our auto didn't feel too bad which is a little frustrating. The conditions were very tricky out there, the track was unpredictable and it was unclear which tyre to go with.
"I am feeling really good in the vehicle at the moment and, looking to tomorrow, I think we will be strong on race pace".