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FORMULA 1 driver Lewis Hamilton will start the 2012 Spanish Grand Prix from pole position after qualifying fastest in Barcelona.

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2012 Spanish Grand Prix

* Race distance: 66 laps (190.825 miles/307.104km)

* Start time: 14:00 (local)/12:00 (GMT)

* Circuit length: 2.892 miles/4.655km

* 2011 winner: Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull Racing)

* 2011 pole: Mark Webber (Red Bull Racing)

* Lap record: Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari F2008) 1m 21.670s

The 27-year-old Vodafone McLaren Mercedes star snatched first place on the grid in qualifying around the Circuit de Catalunya today (Saturday) with a lap time of 1m 21.707s.

It’s Hamilton’s third pole position of the 2012 season.

However, after crossing the line Hertfordshire-born Hamilton was then told to turn off his engine by his team and he had to get a lift back to the pits.

The McLaren pitwall told Hamilton over the radio: “We need to stop the car. Please stop and switch off.”

The pitwall added: “You are on pole, Lewis. Half a second clear. Great job.”

Pastor Maldonado will line-up alongside the 2008 F1 world champion on the front row for Williams after clocking a 1m 22.285s in Q3.

He just went quicker than Fernando Alonso, who had bagged provisional pole for Ferrari with his final flying lap of 1m 22.302s.

Romain Grosjean qualified fourth for Lotus Renault in Spain with teammate Kimi Raikkonen fifth ahead of Sergio Perez’s Sauber.

Nico Rosberg lines up seventh for Mercedes GP with reigning F1 world champion Sebastian Vettel next for Red Bull ahead of Michael Schumacher in the other Mercedes.

Kamui Kobayashi completes the top 10 for Sauber.

Hamilton’s McLaren teammate Jenson Button failed to make the top 10 shootout in qualifying and will line-up 11th on the grid.

That’s one place ahead of Red Bull rival Mark Webber.

The 2012 Santander Spanish Grand Prix start at 1pm on Sunday.

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