For the first time in more than three months, Lewis Hamilton will once again start a Grand Prix from pole position. The Briton was by far the fastest on the Losail International Circuit in qualifying for the Qatar Grand Prix. At the finish, he was four tenths ahead of Max Verstappen, who starts from second place.
Hamilton’s last official pole dates from the Hungarian Grand Prix on August 1. And so, after a shaky start to the weekend, the 36-year-old driver from Stevenage was extremely pleased with his performance. “Yesterday was a difficult day for me,” said Hamilton, who had suffered from stomach problems since Wednesday. “Thursday and Friday I wasn’t feeling well and I really struggled with the practices. I worked with the engineers late last night and found a lot of things that could be done better. I made some adjustments for the third free practice and it seemed to work.”
In the decisive third phase (Q3) of qualifying, Hamilton didn’t really get involved in his first stint, but everything fell into place in his last attempt. “That last lap was beautiful. This track is fantastic to drive. It’s incredibly fast. All medium and high-speed corners, it felt good.”
Hamilton expects a stopper
Hamilton will start for Verstappen and Bottas on Sunday and hopes for a good start. “It’s not the easiest track to follow, but tire wear won’t be too much. All three of us are on the mediums and the hard tire is the C1 (Pirelli’s hardest compound) and it looks like it could last a long time. So it could be a one-stop.”