x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Hamilton well set for hat-trick

Lewis Hamilton put himself in the best place to try to claim a hat-trick of wins as he claimed pole position for today's Hungarian Grand Prix.

Lewis Hamilton is looking for his third successive victory after qualifying for pole position at today's Hungarian Grand Prix.
Lewis Hamilton is looking for his third successive victory after qualifying for pole position at today's Hungarian Grand Prix.

Lewis Hamilton put himself in the best place to try to claim a hat-trick of wins as he roared to pole position for today's Hungarian Grand Prix. The McLaren-Mercedes driver clocked a time of 1min 20.899secs around the twisting Hungaroring track in Budapest to claim top spot ahead of his teammate Heikki Kovalainen.

Coming off the back of victories in Britain and Germany, the world championship leader is confident of extending his four point lead at the top of the standings in the race. He said: "You can never be too comfortable, for sure, but I feel safe to be in the position I am in. We have speed to push on and challenge for the win. "It would be great to have a one-two for the team. The team deserve it and I think me and Heikki have been pushing hard so we both deserve it."

Hamilton's rapid lap earned him his 10th pole position of his career, and he felt he could have gone even quicker. "It might be half a tenth or a tenth but it is all important. Luckily I could save it and the rest of lap was good, " he said. A delighted Kovalainen said: "We've been improving our package all weekend so it was just a matter of nailing it in qualifying." It was McLaren's first all front row since Belgium in 2005 and comes at an ideal time with chief rivals Ferrari continuing to struggle.

Felipe Massa will line-up third, two-tenths off Hamilton's pace, while the world champion Kimi Raikkonen could do no better than sixth quickest. Massa remains bullish on his chances for the race. The Brazilian said: "We are pretty strong, we didn't seem to be pretty strong until this morning, but then look at laptimes of Q1 and Q2. I think we are there. I think I can push these guys." Robert Kubica was fourth fastest in his BMW, while the surprise package of the day was the impressive Timo Glock.

The German was in fine form in his Toyota, finishing fifth, but was near the top of the timesheets throughout the qualifying session. Fernando Alonso was seventh for Renault, ahead of the Red Bull of Mark Webber, with Alonso's teammate Nelson Piquet completing the top 10. Meanwhile, Renault are in mourning after one of the F1 team's engineers shot himself at the team's headquarters. Police say they are not treating the death of William Millar as suspicious, after he was found on a footpath within the grounds of the team factory near Enstone in Oxfordshire.

His body was discovered shortly after 11am on Wednesday after staff heard a gunshot. Millar was found with a single head wound. A Renault spokesman said: "Everyone at the team is deeply shocked to lose such a valued member of staff who had been with the team for 27 years." @Email:gcaygill@thenational.ae