Formula 1

Lewis Hamilton: “I’m very happy with that qualifying session”

2 Mins read
Credit: LAT Images

Lewis Hamilton was delighted to take pole position for the first-ever Qatar Grand Prix on Saturday, with the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team driver almost half a second clear of the rest of the field.

Hamilton revealed that he had been suffered with illness running up to the weekend at the Losail International Circuit, so to come out of top in Qualifying meant he had to dig deep, with the Briton staying late at the track with his engineers to find the right set-up for the rest of the weekend.

And the reigning World Champion put his W12 on top of the standings with a superb first lap in Q3, only to then beat his time and extend his advantage over title rival Max Verstappen to 0.455 seconds.

“I’m very happy with that qualifying session,” said Hamilton.  “Yesterday was difficult for me, I wasn’t feeling well on Thursday or Friday and then struggled in practice. So, I had to dig deep, I was here late last night working with the engineers and we found a lot of areas to improve.

“I felt fantastic today and slept very well last night, which made a big difference. We made some changes for FP3 and it seemed to work, and I was able to carry that into qualifying. That last lap was just beautiful, this track is amazing to drive and very fast, all medium and high-speed corners.”

Hamilton says it could either be a one or two stop race on Sunday, although the track is not showing signs of causing heavy degradation to the tyres.  However, he will be doing everything he can to close the gap on Verstappen in the Constructors’ Championship.

“In terms of the race, we don’t have much experience at this track, but I don’t think it will be the easiest of circuits to follow,” he said.  “It’s also not massively degrading the tyres so it could be a one or a two stop, we’ll find out tomorrow.

“It’s a decent run down to Turn 1 and it’s nice and wide, so we’ll be giving it everything.”

“I’m a bit disappointed about qualifying” – Valtteri Bottas

Team-mate Valtteri Bottas had been quick all weekend long but was unable to match Hamilton when it mattered, with the Finn ending more than six-tenths of a second back in third place.

Bottas admitted to being disappointed with the final outcome of Qualifying, with the speed he had shown in the free practice sessions seemingly deserting him.

However, he will start the race on the clean side of the grid, and he will be looking to do his best to aid his team and team-mate as they battle for both World Championships in 2021.

“It’s been a strong weekend for us but of course, I’m a bit disappointed about qualifying,” said Bottas.  “I felt comfortable in the car yesterday, but I’m a bit confused what happened overnight, because I was missing some speed.

“I struggled quite a bit in qualifying, particularly in Turn 1, where I wasn’t managing to get the tyres ready. We need to have a look into it, but I tried my best and squeezed everything out of the car.

“Still, it puts me on the clean side of the grid for tomorrow and we have both cars at the front of the pack. I don’t have much to lose and we have options, with two cars against one Red Bull, so normally that’s a good situation to be in. I’m sure it’s going to be a close day tomorrow.”

Valtteri Bottas will start the Qatar Grand Prix from third – Credit: LAT Images
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Thirty-something motorsport fanatic, covering Formula 1, Formula Renault 2.0 and Formula 3. Feel free to give him a follow on Twitter at @Paul11MSport.
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