15 May 2016

Hamilton laughs off sabbatical rumours

10:18 am on 15 May 2016

Lewis Hamilton has laughed off media speculation that the triple Formula One world champion might take a sabbatical in 2017.

British driver Lewis Hamilton

British driver Lewis Hamilton Photo: PHOTOSPORT

"A year out? No way," the Mercedes driver said with incredulity when asked at the Spanish Grand Prix about reports in the British and German media.

"Whoever wrote that was smoking something. Probably good stuff," added the Briton, speaking moments after qualifying on pole position.

Hamilton beat German team-mate Nico Rosberg to pole in a front row sweep for Mercedes, the 11th pole in a row for the dominant team.

Red Bull filled the second row, with Australian Daniel Ricciardo third and Dutch teenager Max Verstappen a stunning fourth on his debut weekend with the team after moving up from Toro Rosso.

Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel qualified a disappointing fifth and sixth.

Hamilton is currently 43 points behind Rosberg after four of the 21 races.

Rosberg has won the last seven races and could become only the third driver to start a season with five successive victories.