Spanish GP: Mercedes chief fears collision as Bottas beats Hamilton to pole

Valtteri Bottas grabbed pole position at Spanish GP by beating Lewis Hamilton by six-tenths of a second in final qualifying, making it a Mercedes front row lockout.

Toto Wolff plans to have "a little chat" with both his drives in Sunday's pre-race briefing.   -  Getty Images

Mercedes team chief Toto Wolff admitted Saturday that he fears a possible reprise of Lewis Hamilton's spectacular 2016 opening lap collision with Nico Rosberg in this Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix.

Wolff winced at the memory of the crash that saw both Mercedes men out of the race three years ago.

“I hope we will not be coming back to 2016,” he said. “These guys (Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas) are in a totally different place with each other and they know how important it is to stay out ahead. Barcelona is a track where it is so difficult to overtake.”

But, he admitted, he was concerned. “A bit nervous is probably the right way to describe my state of mind.”

Hamilton and Rosberg's crash in 2016 gifted a maiden victory to Max Verstappen on debut with Red Bull.

RELATED | Bottas edges Hamilton to complete pole hat-trick in Mercedes lockout at Spanish GP

Bottas on Saturday grabbed pole position by beating Hamilton by six-tenths of a second in final qualifying, making it a Mercedes front row lockout.

Wolff's anxieties were raised by seeing the battle in Baku last month, when the pair fought for the lead on the opening lap at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

“We might have a little chat about that,” said Wolff, of his plans for Sunday's pre-race briefing. “But they know exactly what to do and not do.”

Bottas completed a hat-trick of pole positions Saturday when he outpaced Hamilton in a tightly-contested qualifying.

The Finn, who leads defending five-time champion Hamilton by a single point in this year's title race, completed a treble after taking the prime grid position in both China and Azerbaijan.

'Need something daring to beat Mercedes'

Sebastian Vettel hopes that a daring approach to race set-up will enable Ferrari to make up for its disappointment in qualifying at the Spanish Grand Prix.

The four-time world champion qualified third on the grid behind championship leader Valtteri Bottas and his Mercedes team-mate and defending five-time champion Lewis Hamilton.

“We tried a lot of stuff yesterday and again today and we ended up getting the best out of the car today, which wasn't enough,” said Vettel.

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“We are certainly not satisfied, but I am very happy with the approach, with the chance that we took in terms of trying something daring — something that will pay off ultimately. Maybe not today, but hopefully in terms of pace tomorrow.”

He added that he was surprised by Mercedes advantage. “Coming here we did not expect it, but I think also we seem to lose quite a big amount of time in the last sector.”

“There is definitely some homework to do. We know this track very well, as everybody does, but with the conditions today we were just unable to match them. We need to dig deep.”