Lewis Hamilton celebrated his fifty-first career Formula 1 pole position with a stunning late lap during qualifying for the Bahrain Grand Prix on Saturday.
The Mercedes AMG PETRONAS driver pulled out a great second fast lap in Q3 to deny team-mate Nico Rosberg top spot after making a mistake on his opening run that had threatened to deny him even a front row start.
Hamilton is now hoping to convert the pole position into a good result on Sunday at the Sakhir International Circuit, providing he makes a better start to the race than he did in the Australian Grand Prix two weeks ago.
“I’m really happy with that – the last lap was so much fun!” exclaimed Hamilton. “Throughout practice and most of qualifying my laps weren’t quite perfect and Nico would be ahead by a tenth here and a tenth there – whatever it might be.
“So, to finally put it all together when it counted was really satisfying – and quite a relief! There was big pressure too, as I went off on the previous lap and knew I had to make a big improvement.
“It will be important to get a good start tomorrow, like always, especially as there’s a longer run down to turn one here than in Melbourne. It’s something we’ve been working on – but we’ve only had a couple of weeks since the last race, so I don’t expect big improvements. Hopefully it’s better than last time – we’ll see.”
Hamilton received a reprimand after qualifying after reversing in the pit lane, something that is not allowed in the regulations, but he escaped any harsher penalty after stewards deemed that he had not been given clear instructions on where to park the car.