‘Real struggle’ for Hamilton despite blitzing pole

Mark Scott
Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton has said qualifying was “a real struggle” despite cruising to a seventh British Grand Prix pole position.

In fairness to the six-time World Champion, the whole of qualifying was far from silky smooth as a spin at Luffield in Q2 red flagged the session.

But, like we have seen so many times before, Hamilton held it together when it mattered the most as he landed a 91st career pole position by three tenths to Valtteri Bottas and he was over a second quicker than Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in third.

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“Obviously there’s a relatively big gap between us and third place, but it doesn’t matter at the end of the day – Valtteri is pushing me right to the limit,” Hamilton said in the post-qualifying interviews.

“He’s been doing such a fantastic job all weekend.

“I made some changes going into qualifying and it was worse, it was a real struggle out there.

“This track is awesome because with a gust of wind, you have a tailwind and headwind and crosswind across the circuit so it’s like juggling balls like you’re on a moving plate, at high speed!

“Obviously we had that spin. Qualifying is a lot about confidence building and man, I was already down and down in the first sector every lap.

“I don’t know how, but some deep breaths manage to compose myself.

“Q3 still wasn’t perfect but still a really clean lap, and the second one even better. It never gets old that’s for sure.”

Hamilton has a five-point lead in the World Championship over Bottas, who looks as if he will be the only driver able to take the fight to the Brit at his home Grand Prix.

Bottas said: “It was a pretty good qualifying up until Q3. I felt pretty good with the car but in Q3 I started to drift a bit more than I wanted.

“Lewis found a bit more than I did, he did a really good job and he deserves the pole.

“My performance has been pretty good this weekend. Lewis won it here last year from second place with a different strategy to me so hopefully I will get opportunities tomorrow.”

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