Lewis Hamilton was delighted after securing pole position for the United States Grand Prix on Saturday at the Circuit of the Americas, although it was a close-run thing for top spot between him and the two Scuderia Ferrari drivers.
The Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport driver set a new track record of 1:32.237 to take his ninth pole position of the season but was just 0.061 seconds ahead of Sebastian Vettel and 0.070 seconds clear of Kimi Räikkönen when the session came to a close.
Hamilton, who can clinch the title on Sunday if he outscores Vettel by eight points, knew it was going to be close in the session and it was important to get through Qualifying without any errors, which he felt like he achieved.
“I’m so happy, this is a great result,” said Hamilton after the eighty-first pole position of his career. “We knew that it was going to be extremely close today and that we would have to give it everything.
“Q1 and Q2 were fairly straightforward. Once we got to Q3, we made sure that we got out on the track at the right time to have a good window and not be stuck in traffic. My first lap in Q3 was good, but it was really close between us all.
“I think I was ahead by less than a tenth and I knew the others would improve as well, so there was no room for error.”
Hamilton revealed that he had been strict on himself to maintain focus on his second run during Q3 having previously made errors in other Q3’s earlier in the season, and he was pleased to have done so to secure the pole position.
“There have been some Q3s in past races where I had to bail out on the second run, so I was very strict on myself and I told myself “Today, you have to pull through on that second lap”, which is exactly what I did,” said the champion-elect.
Despite being close to securing both championships, Hamilton praised his Mercedes team for keeping their feet on the ground and focusing on the job in hand at the Circuit of the Americas.
“The team has done a really great job this weekend so far, the approach for us has been very sturdy and we’re not getting ahead of ourselves,” said the Briton.
“We knew that it was going to be close this weekend and that we have to put in the same work, effort and diligence as before – and that’s exactly what we will continue to do.”