Front of the grid in Hamilton’s sights as McLaren eye improvement in Spain

FORMER world champion Lewis Hamilton is desperate to end his poor qualifying form when Formula One returns to Europe this week at the Spanish Grand Prix.

The Briton has shown flashes of brilliances in the four races so far this season, and may feel unlucky to trail leader Jenson Button, his McLaren colleague, by 11 points.

Yet his performances in qualifying have been a major disappointment, leading to grid positions of 20th, 11th and sixth, and Hamilton knows that will have to improve if he is to prevail at the Circuit de Catalunya.

“We’ll be putting additional emphasis on qualifying,” said the 2008 champion. “It will be more important than ever in Barcelona as traditionally it’s always been a track where overtaking is very difficult. Given that most cars will only stop once, we have less scope for passing, so a good grid position will be vital.”

McLaren may top the constructors’ standings, and Button the drivers’ championship, but the Woking-based team are third in terms of qualifying performance and hope improvements to their car will bear fruit in Barcelona.

He added: “While it would be naive to think these will move us up the pecking order, because almost all the teams produce a major bodywork update for Barcelona, we’re optimistic they’ll again help us to bridge the gap to the leading cars.”