Toto Wolff has praised Lewis Hamilton‘s record-breaking lap in qualifying for the 2018 Australian Grand Prix as “unbelievable”, but focuses on the contrasting emotions of the Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport garage following Valtteri Bottas‘ heavy crash in Q3.
Hamilton smashed his previous qualifying lap record around Melbourne’s Albert Park to take his 73rd career pole-position. Wolff, who refuted claims that Hamilton used a “party mode” for his final run in qualifying, claims the impressive lap was down to Lewis “putting all the pieces together”.
“That was an unbelievable final lap from Lewis to see him find so much pace,” said Wolff.
“We didn’t change anything on the car from the first run of Q3, it was just a case of Lewis putting all the pieces together and finding the limit on that last lap, with everything on the line; and this is the result, a really impressive pole position to start the new season.”
Hamilton’s first run in Q3 was interrupted by a brief red flag period following his team-mate’s heavy crash on the exit of turn two. Wolff highlights the extensive work his team will now have to carry out to get Bottas on track for the first race of the year and advises the Finn to put the incident behind him.
“It’s a garage of contrasting emotions today with a really unfortunate end to qualifying for Valtteri,” Wolff said.
“It was a big hit and the boys will have a long job list to get the car ready to race.
“It’s now about putting the incident behind him [Bottas] and recovering as strongly as possible. We expect a very close race between the top three teams tomorrow; there is still a lot to do if we want to score a strong result in the race.