Formula 1

Hamilton: “I just can’t believe we’re at 100”

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Credit: LAT Images

Lewis Hamilton says he’s “humbled” and “grateful” after achieving the 100th career pole of his Formula One career at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. 

The British driver achieved his first pole position back at the 2007 Canadian Grand Prix, and now fourteen years later, Hamilton will start at the front of the grid for a century of times after storming to pole in the Spanish Grand Prix. 

Hamilton was looking off the pace in the first two qualifying sessions, as Lando Norris and Max Verstappen topped the first two sessions, but more importantly, was Q3, and Hamilton showed his quality once again.

The Mercedes AMG Petronas driver broke into the 1:16s in Q3 and was enough to score his century of poles, but only 0.036 faster than Verstappen in second.

Understandably, Hamilton was quite emotional after the session to achieve the milestone, praising the women and men back at the factory for the achievement.

“I was behind the whole way through qualifying and making small tweaks to find pace. I just can’t believe we’re at 100 – it’s down to the women and men back at the factory who are continuously raising the bar and never giving up. 

“It’s a dream to work with them, what a journey! Who would have thought when we started out together at the end of 2012 that we’d be celebrating 100 poles!? 

“I feel so humbled and very grateful for all their work. It feels just like my first! I’ll always remember that one.”

Valtteri Bottas – “Those are the fine margins this year”

His team-mate Valtteri Bottas, once again, fell short of the top two in the final qualifying session and will begin the Spanish Grand Prix on the second row, alongside Charles Leclerc

The Finn looked significantly stronger than Hamilton in the opening stages of qualifying, going faster than him in Q1 and Q2, yet Bottas couldn’t muster anymore time in Q3 and had to settle for third fastest, just over one-tenth slower than the seven-time World Champion. 

Bottas revealed he lost a tenth with a snap at turn ten and suggests that Mercedes could mix strategy for the Grand Prix tomorrow.

“That was close! It felt like I was there in the battle for the pole but I lost a tenth or so with a snap at Turn 10, and those are the fine margins this year. 

“We’ve got a strong package and we’ll be in the fight tomorrow no doubt – it will be another close one between us and Red Bull. If you can keep the tyres in good condition, you’re going to be more competitive around the pit stops. 

“There’s the possibility to mix the strategy and try a one or a two-stop. We’ll do lots of work tonight and you’ll have to wait until tomorrow to know our strategy.”

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