x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Formula One: Lewis Hamilton 'proud' to deliver German pole to Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton gets comfortable quickly in his Mercedes as a new set-up helps him capture the pole for the German manufacturer at their home grand prix.

Lewis Hamilton was uncomfortable in his Mercedes racer during Friday’s second practice session, but after working on a new set-up in Practice 3 he put the car on pole for today’s German Grand Prix.
Lewis Hamilton was uncomfortable in his Mercedes racer during Friday’s second practice session, but after working on a new set-up in Practice 3 he put the car on pole for today’s German Grand Prix.

Lewis Hamilton delighted a vast crowd of Mercedes fans when he secured his second pole position in succession with a dramatic fastest lap in the final seconds of qualifying on Saturday.

Just a week after setting the pace at Silverstone in the British Grand Prix, he did the same again ahead of Sunday's German Grand Prix.

The 28-year-old Briton clocked a fastest lap of one minute, 29.398 seconds in his Mercedes-GP to outpace world championship leader Sebastian Vettel.

It was Hamilton's third pole position of the season and the 29th of his career, pulling him level with Argentine legend Juan Manuel Fangio and defending triple world champion and current series leader Vettel in the record books.

Vettel's Red Bull Racing teammate Australian Mark Webber was third fastest ahead of the Lotus cars of Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean.

Daniel Ricciardo, qualified sixth for Toro Rosso ahead of the two Ferraris of Brazilian Felipe Massa and Spaniard Fernando Alonso - the Italian team having changed strategy to run on medium-hard tyres in the third qualifying session.

Briton Jenson Button was ninth for McLaren-Mercedes and German Nico Hulkenberg 10th for Sauber on an afternoon when Hamilton's German teammate Nico Rosberg missed the cut and qualified 11th.

Both Button and Hulkenberg chose not to clock a time in the session as they, like the Ferrari men, opted to go for race strategy instead of grid positions.

"It's really overwhelming," Hamilton said. "I've been struggling since the first run in P1. It was pretty good, but P2 and P3 were disasters and it got worse this morning.

"I wasn't comfortable with the car at all.

"We went back to the truck, tried to analyse everything and made lots of changes and hoped it would work. Fortunately the car was beneath me and I was able to put in the times.

"I'm grateful to the guys and all the hard work they put in. It's a privilege to drive for this team, they've got great history and this is where Mercedes really started. I'm proud to get pole, but there are no points for today.

"These guys [Red Bull] are good on the long runs. I hope, with my new set-up, that the pace will be as good and we can given them a run for their money."

It was not a perfect day for Mercedes though as a misjudgement in the second part of qualifying ensured that Rosberg will start 11th, his worst starting position of the season.

Mercedes had believed Rosberg had set a time quick enough to put in the top-10 shoot-out, but a number of rivals found pace on their lap of the session, with Raikkonen being the man whose lap ended Rosberg's pole ambitions.

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