Barcelona: Nico Rosberg ended Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton’s qualifying stranglehold on Saturday when he secured his first pole position of the season in a tense and closely-fought qualifying session for Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix.

Mercedes teammates Nico Rosberg (left) and Lewis Hamiton celebrate their Spanish GP qualifying results in Barcelona on Saturday. Pic/AFP

The 29-year-old German produced a fastest lap in one minute and 24.681 seconds in the final Q3 segment of the action to outpace the defending world champion by three-tenths of a second on a hot afternoon at the Circuit de Catalunya, where Hamilton won from pole last year.

His lap was quicker than Hamilton’s 2014 pole time and ended the 30-year-old Briton’s run of four straight poles this year. Rosberg now has to convert that advantage into a first win since last year’s Brazilian Grand Prix to reduce Hamilton’s 27-point lead in the title race.

Rosberg, who has won once in 13 races since his home German Grand Prix victory last year, said he had enjoyed “a good day at the office” to end Hamilton’s run and prevent him enjoying a fifth straight pole success.

Four-time champion Sebastian Vettel was third-fastest for Ferrari ahead of Finn Valtteri Bottas of Williams, Spaniard Carlos Sainz and his Toro Rosso teammate, Dutch teenager Max Verstappen.