Vettel had managed to pass Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas for second at the start, and looked on course for the runner-up spot before making a second stop under virtual safety vehicle conditions around two-thirds distance. But teammate Valtteri Bottas and Ferrari rival Sebastian Vettel were sufficiently close to Hamilton's track-record lap of 1:16.173 to give the Briton some cause for concern.
"It is hard to say how it would have been without the change but I think it probably impacted on us more than the others".
Hamilton was supremely above Ferrari's concerns, as he converted his first pole position since the opening race in Australia into a first-lap lead. I think that is because the working range is far narrower than it was past year, so you give it everything on an out lap and you still don't have your tires in the window and they heat the tires up in the blankets.
After starting the season slowly, Mercedes recorded their first win of the season when Hamilton triumphed at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix a fortnight ago and the reigning constructors' champions were dominant in Barcelona.
See the final word on all the Spanish GP action and latest F1 talking points on the next edition of the F1 Report - make a date with Sky Sports F1 on Wednesday at 8.30pm Get Sky Sports F1. All in all, a pretty good weekend for the reigning world champion then.
"Mercedes" for the first time in the season took all the first row in qualifying.
"I couldn't have done it without this incredible team", said Hamilton.
When asked why Raikkonen was one-stopping and he was two-stopping, Vettel said it was down to the timing of the first pit stop. "I know that sounds weird but today is definitely I think the closest I've been".
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Lauda added: "In the last three races he was faster than Lewis". "I guess Kimi was in a bit of a different position and could choose whatever he wanted to do, so he explored trying to stay out".
Ricciardo said he was frustrated with the gap to the front. His Ferrari was beaten to pole by four tenths.
"I chipped away at my lap time by a few hundredths but it wasn't enough", Ricciardo said. "They could have saved the money and put it somewhere else". "We really tried to continue to understand and be open-minded, it is easy for us to get stuck in our ways, and we definitely let loose and be open-minded to try to improve which is great". Sixth was Haas driver Kevin Magnussen, who helped convert the team's strong pace into a healthy haul of points.
Valtteri Bottas made it a Mercedes one-two ahead of Red Bull's Max Verstappen. He was able to stay out a further eight laps, ultimately taking the medium rubber in a clean stop on lap 26. "So that's a positive thing". The Finn driver had a new engine after Friday practice and complained of losing power.
There was some disquiet with the rear-view mirrors Ferrari mounted on the halos. How will the respective teams plan their race strategy for the Spanish Grand Prix?
Brendon Hartley never qualified at all after crashing his auto in the morning's free practice three, wrecking the rear of his Toro Rosso. Raikkonen is also comfortable here, with a pair of wins to go with five podiums here.
"I believe it is about having a vehicle that does what you want, drives like you expect it to drive", he said.
BC-CAR-F1-TV Launch, 218 Launch of F1 TV marred by "technical difficulties " AP Photo XLB156Eds: With AP Photos.