Formula 1: Hamilton thrilled to move on from mechanical woes

Lewis Hamilton hopes his mechanical problems are behind him after claiming pole position for the Spanish Grand Prix ahead of Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg.

The reigning Formula One world champion's season has been hindered by frequent technical issues, particularly in qualifying.

Unreliability has contributed to the Englishman being unable to prevent Rosberg from winning the first four races of the season to open up a commanding 43-point lead in the drivers' standings.

But claiming first place on the grid for Sunday's race at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya - his third pole from five races in 2016 - was a source of relief for the 31-year-old.

"Very, very happy with getting the lap," he said.

"Obviously Nico has been really strong all week so bit by bit I have been trying to put the pace together. The guys back at the factory have been working so hard to try to rectify the problems we have had over the past few weeks.

"This is now three out of three for me [in qualifying sessions without technical problems] so I'm obviously pretty happy."

Recent rumours Hamilton might seek to take a year off from the sport in 2017 were also dismissed out of hand by the three-time world champion.

"What? No way," he said of the paddock gossip. Whoever wrote that must be smoking something. Pretty good stuff."

Rosberg, meanwhile, remains confident he can challenge for a fifth win of the season from behind Hamilton on the grid.

"I'm of course disappointed to be second," he said. "I wanted to be first of course but Lewis was quicker in qualifying and that's it.

"Fortunately it's the race that counts and there are still a couple of opportunities to take the points on Sunday. Strategy wise, it's not going to be an easy race so I will try and take my chances at the start."

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