Mercedes AMG Petronas’ Toto Wolff and Andrew Shovlin were full of praise for Lewis Hamilton after the seven-time World Champion achieved the 100th pole of his Formula One career.
Hamilton stormed to a century of poles at the Spanish Grand Prix ahead of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Valtteri Bottas, despite struggling in the opening two sessions of qualifying in which he was slower than his team-mate on both occasions.
The British driver pole also meant the ‘Silver Arrows’ have started at the front of the grid in Barcelona for the last seven Grand Prix, with Pastor Maldonado for Williams the previous driver to achieve pole that wasn’t in the Mercedes.
Mercedes team principal Wolff and race engineer Shovlin wanted to congratulate Hamilton, and the whole team, for reaching a fantastic milestone.
Wolff said: “I’m not one for statistics but 100 pole positions is a pretty impressive milestone! I told Lewis on the radio that it was quite an okay lap, but of course it was a little bit more than that.
“It looked like Max and Red Bull had a big advantage in Q2, but we kept chipping away at it and in the end, the top three drivers were covered by a tenth of a second; exactly how we want it to be in F1, battling for every thousandth of a second.”
“Well done to Lewis on his 100th pole position – it’s a phenomenal achievement and the whole team is proud of him, and proud to have played a part in him reaching this milestone.” Shovlin said.
Both were pleased to see both ‘Silver Arrows’ at the front of the grid, especially for a strategic view, and says team are likely to use both soft and medium set of tyres for tomorrow’s race.
“Both Lewis and Valtteri did a fantastic job in those final laps, and when it’s such tiny margins, every detail makes a difference.” Said Wolff.
“Looking ahead to tomorrow, we have the advantage of two cars on the clean side of the grid, and both drivers in the top three; that will provide us a strategic opportunity, and we need to make the most of it for the race.”
“As expected, it was a real scrap for pole and it was good to have both of our cars in the mix today. Having two cars at the front is very also useful from a strategic point of view for the race tomorrow.” Shovlin added.
“Tyre choice for the race start was quite straightforward; the hard tyre isn’t working well so everyone in the top 10 opted for the soft and we’d expect most to only use soft and medium tomorrow.”