Lewis Hamilton has explained how he feels “quite comfortable” in the changing weather conditions, after the Briton stormed to his fourth successive pole position for Mercedes. During the all-important qualifying hour, the 2008 World Champion rose to the top in stunning form at the last minute as the track began to dry out.
Just as the opening segment of qualifying was set to begin the heavens opened over the legendary Spa-Francorchamps circuit, creating a frenetic 20 minutes of track action as the 22 drivers wrestled with their cars in the inclement weather conditions. In Q2 the conditions began to improve as normality was resumed, however the rain once again began to fall just before the start of the all-important top ten shootout. Unfortunately the top ten had all just left the confines of the pit-lane as the ran began to fall, each of them sporting Pirelli’s P Zero dry tyre compounds.
Whereas Paul di Resta decided to brave the elements on his set of dry tyres as the rain increased, the rest of the field including Lewis Hamilton elected to pit for intermediate tyres. This failed to benefit the nine drivers, as Paul di Resta produced a fairly decent lap on the dry tyres just before the rain intensified. However, as quick as the rain had begun it slowly began to dry out. This saw Paul di Resta’s advantage and provisional pole position evaporate with the rain, as the likes of Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton found themselves luckily on the right tyres at the right time.
After securing his 31st pole position in Formula 1, Lewis Hamilton explained how he feels comfortable in the varying weather conditions. The same is forecast for tomorrow, which would create an equally entertaining 44-lap race as the drivers battle against Spa’s unpredictable weather. During the session Lewis Hamilton was unsure as to how he was performing, as the dashboard in the cockpit of his car instead showed him way off of the pace, roughly three seconds off of the benchmark.
“I think generally I feel quite comfortable in changing conditions and I feel I’m able to find the limits when the conditions are really on the edge.” Explained Lewis Hamilton, who will start the race alongside Sebastian Vettel. “And in the middle I pushed quite a lot in the middle sector particularly as I thought I was down three seconds, so I was really caning it. But, yeah, the car’s feeling good. It was obviously a good job by the team. I was so surprised when I crossed the line. I went wide in turn one and the dash display is usually telling you whether you’re up or down and it said I was three seconds down and then five seconds and six seconds, so I didn’t understand what was happening in the lap but I just kept pushing. I could see I was catching Sebastian [Vettel] towards the end but what a blessing, I feel so fortunate to be up here.”
Although Lewis Hamilton managed to once again thwart Sebastian Vettel to pole position, the Red Bull outfit have still showed competitive pace throughout the weekend. At the Hungarian Grand Prix last time out Lewis Hamilton managed to translate his pole into his first victory for the German marque, after Sebastian Vettel found himself unable to overtake Jenson Button during the early stages of the race. Despite Red Bull’s pace, Lewis Hamilton is hopeful that both he and team-mate Nico Rosberg can enjoy a decent battle at the front with the Red Bull duo.
“I think this weekend they’ve [Red Bull] both shown that they have incredible pace this weekend.” Continued Lewis Hamilton, “But I’m hoping that whatever the conditions are tomorrow we can try to fight it out with them. The guys have done a fantastic job in bringing a good package here. I generally feel we’re quite close. I still feel the Red Bull is generally a little bit ahead of us in performance and that’s why results like this today feel even better because it feels like we extracted more than what the car can actually do, so I’m really happy with it.”
Lewis Hamilton has only won once around Spa-Francorchamps, at the 2010 Belgian Grand Prix for McLaren after starting 2nd. The British sensation will be undoubtedly looking to continue from where he left off last time out in Hungary, as he strives to catch Sebastian Vettel in the Championship.
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