Lewis Hamilton delivered a superb lap in Canada to match his idol Ayrton Senna’s record of 65, now two weeks later the Mercedes driver has gone one better than the late great Brazilian, claiming pole position for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix with a lap that he believes was even better than the one in Montreal.
Pole position in Baku was the 66th of Hamilton’s F1 career, two shy of Michael Schumacher’s all time top spot starts. It was one of those special laps which again stunned the F1 paddock, coming after a problematic couple of days of practice, and then delivered in trying circumstances on his final run of the session.
Hamilton said afterwards, “I came across the line so happy because even if I was second it was still an awesome one, single lap, which I was really proud of. I just want to say a big thank you to the guys who worked all really super late last night to make sure the cars are where they are today. Yeah, excited. For me that lap was… my last lap in Montreal was pretty special but I think this one topped it.”
“I would say definitely [on Friday] we were at a bit of a loss as we started in the wrong place and we had to make a lot of changes overnight. So to come in this morning not really knowing if those changes were going to be right or not… of course we’ve got full confidence in the team but it’s still very difficult with these tires as to whether you an switch them on or not.”
“But the changes… the guys did fantastic work and analysis again last night and we made fantastic changes to the car and it went in the right direction and it just progressed from there into P3 and into qualifying.”
“Obviously the lap before I had was very good and went into the last corner and it was so weird because literally just before I went into it I was going: I’m up quite a lot here, just don’t be greedy – and of course I was greedy and I locked up and I lost pole position there.
“A lot of pressure went onto getting that last run in with only a minute left, basically. All weekend we’ve not been able to do a one-lap [flyer] – some others had, but it was all or nothing, so I had to give it everything I had. Valtteri was just up ahead of me and I could see he was obviously on a great lap as well.”
Matching the Senna pole position record two weeks earlier was an emotional moment for Hamilton and on surpassing the milestone he revealed, “I mean, it’s already an amazing thing to have matched him.
“The crazy thing is the hunger for another pole… I thought maybe once I matched him maybe it would fade but I was hungrier than ever today, even more hungry than I was before, so that’s a good thing.”
“I’m grateful for that because that’s what drives me and hopefully I’ll continue to grow and get better as a driver – and as a human being. That’s the goal. Everyday,” concluded Hamilton who lies second in the championship standings and will be hunting his fourth win of the season on Sunday.