Ecstatic Hamilton celebrates his 100th pole in Spain

Published May 9, 2021
Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton after qualifying in pole position. — Reuters
Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton after qualifying in pole position. — Reuters

MONTMELO: Seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton became the first Formula One driver to take 100 pole positions after lapping fastest in Spanish Grand Prix qualifying on Saturday.

The 36-year-old Mercedes driver was already the record holder by a massive margin, with retired Ferrari great and fellow seven-times champion Michael Schum­acher second on the list with 68. Hamilton’s childhood hero, the late Ayrton Senna, is in third place with 65, then comes Sebastian Vettel on 57 with Jim Clark and Alain Prost on 33 apiece.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen qualified on the front row alongside the championship-leading Briton, who has an eight- point lead over the Dutch driver, with Valtteri Bottas qualifying third for Mercedes.

“I feel very humble and very grateful. I’m ecstatic, like it’s my first,” said Hamilton after the session at Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya.

The pole continued a remarkable run of Mercedes domination in Spain, with the champions on pole in every race at the circuit since now-retired Nico Rosberg began the sequence in 2013.

“I can’t believe we’re at 100 and it’s down to the men and women back at the factory who are continuously raising the bar and never giving up,” said Hamilton, who will be chasing a record-extending 98th career win on Sunday.

“The support that I have, it’s a dream for me to work with these guys and the journey that we have been on has been immense.”

Hamilton, who took his first pole with McLaren in 2007, had set the fastest time of one minute 16.741 seconds with his first flying lap of the final phase and was unable to improve on it with his second.

It had looked like the 36-year-old had been slowed by Mexican Sergio Perez spinning his Red Bull ahead but there were no yellow warning flags.

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc qualified fourth with Esteban Ocon fifth on the grid for Alpine ahead of Ferrari’s Spaniard Carlos Sainz.

Published in Dawn, May 9th, 2021

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