Following his record-breaking pole-position lap, Lewis Hamilton has said his first qualifying effort of 2018 was something “I’m not always able to do” as the reigning champion dominated the session.
After a brief red flag period, Hamilton’s first run in Q3 only narrowly edged out Sebastian Vettel and Max Verstappen. The Briton’s second effort was far superior, over six-tenths of a second quicker than Scuderia Ferrari‘s Kimi Raikkonen.
“It’s the greatest feeling when you live up to your potential and you pull out a lap like I was able to,” said Hamilton.
“I’m not always able to do that but I was really happy with today’s performance. Up until this point, I haven’t thought at all about the race.
“So tonight and tomorrow morning I’ll start to put my focus onto that.”
Last season, Hamilton lost out in the race to Vettel and Ferrari. Hamilton is adamant however, that he and his Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport team won’t make the same mistakes again.
“Last season, Ferrari ultimately did a better job on Sunday. But we generally learn from mistakes and scenarios like that, so I’m hoping we’re better prepared for tomorrow.
“Ultimately it’s also how I’m able to manage the tyres at the start of the race. I remember Sebastian was really at my tail towards the end of my stint which forced me to come into the pits. Then he continued on for several laps and I got stuck behind Verstappen.
“So I’ll definitely bear that in mind and try my best to make sure that I’m in a better position tomorrow.”
Hamilton’s run to the first pole-position of 2018 was interrupted by a heavy crash for his team-mate Valtteri Bottas. The Finn is now likely to start tomorrow’s race from the pitlane but Hamilton backs his team-mate to bounce back strongly.
“I know how hard Valtteri has been working and I know the pain he feels right now, but he will recover.
“He was very quick through practice and he has been putting a lot of effort into growing as a driver and as a member of the team. I have all the confidence in him to pull through again tomorrow.”