Thanks to a fantastic lap in Q3, Lewis Hamilton took pole position for the Grand Prix of Qatar yesterday ahead of Max Verstappen and Valtteri Bottas. According to Andrew Shovlin, technical director of Mercedes, the way this happened came as a surprise.
The gap with Verstappen was more than four tenths, a huge gap compared to the previous qualifications. Shovlin and Mercedes were therefore impressed by Hamilton. He says this in a press release from Mercedes. “It was an impressive lap for Lewis to take pole. We thought this was within our reach today, but a margin of over 0.45 seconds was beyond our expectations. It’s also great to have Valtteri in P3.”
Hamilton satisfied, Bottas is still looking for rhythm
While Hamilton’s day went smoothly according to Shovlin, this was a different story for Bottas. He had to give half a second to his teammate and will start from P3 on Sunday. “Lewis had a good day and he is much more satisfied with the car,” said Shovlin. “Valtteri’s session wasn’t that great. We really struggled to clear him for his out lap and that was the case with every run.”
Mercedes is difficult to estimate race
Then Sunday’s race. Mercedes and other teams have no data from previous years as this will be the first time Formula 1 will race at the circuit in Doha. According to Shovlin, everyone will have to wait and see how the start and the strategy will go after that. “The question is whether you would rather be second on the dirty side or third on the clean side. We will only find out tomorrow which is best. It is difficult to know what to expect before the race because we are here have not been before. The tires seem to behave well, but they will no doubt heat up and overtaking will probably be difficult”