Lewis Hamilton has described himself as “ecstatic” after taking an extraordinary 100th Formula 1 pole, over 30 clear of the second-most on the record list. He said a late balance change paid dividends.
Only 0.03sec split Hamilton and Max Verstappen at the end of qualifying, thanks to the track getting slower at the end. It meant the Mercedes driver took his 100th career pole position in Barcelona, a track he is very fast at.
After qualifying, Hamilton explained the team had made changes to the car just before the session to try and fix balance issues, and despite some apprehension, the changes paid dividends.
“I had a bit of anxiety about the changes we were potentially going to make for qualifying,” he said. “We’re always trying to make the car better but it’s a bit of a gamble because you’ve got to keep the race in mind also.”
“Anyway we made this change and as soon as I got out I was like ‘this is the wrong one’. It was my call at the end. But it was really hard.”
“The set-up that I made I just had so much understeer,” he added. “The car was so lazy, wouldn’t turn into the corner the way I want. So you’re waiting and waiting and waiting.”
“I was making small adjustments within what we’re able to change in order to get the car to turn. And that’s a combination of many things. And then it’s just pulling every millisecond together.”
On getting a century of poles, Hamilton said he couldn’t believe it, and praised his team.
“I can’t believe that we’re at 100,” he said. “Really it’s down to the men and women that are back at the factory that are continuously raising the bar and just never giving up. The support that I have, it’s been a dream for me to work with these guys.”
Verstappen and Hamilton line up side by side for the Spanish Grand Prix tomorrow.