UPDATE: Hamilton has since been disqualified and will start the race from the back – read more here

Qualifying for the Spanish GP produced yet more surprises in what’s already an unpredictable season – Lewis Hamilton took his 2nd pole position of the 2012, and he was somehow more than half a second quicker too – maybe the McLaren updates are working well, but then his team mate Jenson will start 10 places further back in 11th – both he and  Mark Webber had a disastrous qualifying session – the Aussie down in 12th after thinking (or being told?) he’d done enough to get through to the final round.

Ferrari’s hard work seemed to pay off with Alonso’s 3rd place for the start, but this could just be Alonso again making a car go quicker than it’s supposed to – his team mate is well down in 17th.

Lotus continued their strong form with 4th and 5th on the grid and Sauber should be pleased with Perez up in 6th too – another stirling day in the office for Checo.

Vettel faired better than Webber, and made it through to the final round of qualifying, but opted to save tyres played his strategy so that he can start the race on harder tyres – it could pay off, but Lewis could be off into the distance with Vettel starting down in 8th.

The biggest shock of qualifying was Williams – they have a glorious history, but they’ve struggled for years and last year was a season to forget.  2012 has looked good for them so far, but now – off the back of the mid-season testing, they seemed to have found yet more pace.  Sadly Bruno Senna couldn’t take advantage as he lost control on a flying lap and ended up in the gravel to start 18th, but his team mate – Pastor Maldonado managed to keep his Williams right in there with the front runners, right through to the final round of qualifying.

He momentarily had pole position until Hamilton came back with his super-quick final lap.

It’s a huge shame for young Senna, but Pastor must be absolutely beside himself – he’ll start the race tomorrow on the front row alongside Lewis – who could have predicted that!?

Maldonado looking strong for Williams
Maldonado looking strong for Williams - credit: LAT via Williams F1 Media

Speaking of predictions – what are you thoughts looking ahead to the race on Sunday – can Pastor complete a great weekend for Williams, will Lewis grab his first victory of 2012, can Senna come through from 18th, will we see the Lotus duo challenging for victory again or can Mercedes do something magic from 7th and 9th – Let us know in the comments below!

Grid for Sunday:

1Lewis HamiltonMcLaren - Mercedes
2Pastor MaldonadoWilliams F1 - Renault
3Fernando AlonsoFerrari
4Romain GrosjeanLotus F1 - Renault
5Kimi RaikkonenLotus F1 - Renault
6Sergio PerezSauber - Ferrari
7Nico RosbergMercedes AMG
8Sebastian VettelRed Bull Racing - Renault
9Michael SchumacherMercedes AMG
10Kamui KobayashiSauber - Ferrari
11Jenson ButtonMcLaren - Mercedes
12Mark WebberRed Bull Racing - Renault
13Paul Di-RestaSahara Force India - Mercedes
14Nico HulkenbergSahara Force India - Mercedes
15Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso - Ferrari
16Daniel RicciardoToro Rosso - Ferrari
17Felipe MassaFerrari
18Bruno SennaWilliams F1 - Renault
19Vitaly PetrovCaterham - Renault
20Heikki KovalainenCaterham - Renault
21Charles PicMarussia - Cosworth
22Timo GlockMarussia - Cosworth
23Pedro de-la-RosaHispania - Cosworth
24Narain KarthikeyanHispania - Cosworth