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Lewis Hamilton: Quality of start from pole crucial in Spain

Mark Sutton/Sutton Images

BARCELONA, Spain -- Lewis Hamilton expects the result of the Spanish Grand Prix to hinge on the quality of his start as he attempts to hold off title rival Sebastian Vettel on the run down to Turn 1.

Hamilton took pole position by 0.051s in Barcelona on Saturday as the battle between Mercedes and Ferrari continues to rage in Formula One. Hamilton has only won one race this season to Vettel's two and a win on Sunday would help close his 13-point gap to the Ferrari driver in the standings.

With overtaking opportunities at a premium around the Circuit de Catalunya, Hamilton says holding first place at the start will be essential.

"I think it's going to be a tough race tomorrow for sure," he said. "You can see how close it is between us and it's all milliseconds between us. I think it's the third longest run down into Turn 1 so of course it's going to be important to get a good start.

"We've worked hard on them so I am just going to try and do the best job that we can. Valtteri has had some great starts so I am looking to try and follow his footsteps. Positioning can help a lot here and being on the clean side of the grid is an advantage, generally, it's a bit of an advantage so hopefully I get to utilise it compared to Sebastian."

With the start over and done with, Hamilton said his focus will then switch to tyre management.

"In the race it's just looking after those tyres, it's a very long, hard race here, both physically, mentally and for the car and the tyres. We've prepared in the best way we can and hopefully put the car in a much better position than the last race."