Hamilton chose ‘clear air’ over tow train

Jamie Woodhouse

Lewis Hamilton chose clear air over a tow en-route to pole for the Belgian GP.

Lewis Hamilton said he decided to be at the front of the pack in Q3 at the Belgian Grand Prix for “clear air”, rather than search for a tow.

And that was a decision that absolutely paid off as the Briton set a new track record at Spa-Francorchamps with a 1:41.252 earning a 93rd career pole for the Mercedes man.

Team-mate Valtteri Bottas will start the race from P2, some 0.511s back, and for qualifying this time around Hamilton got the choice on whether he went out in front or behind his team-mate.

He wanted to stay out of the train of cars searching for a tow around the power-sensitive Spa circuit, and that decision was absolutely the right one as it turned out.

“There’s been times where we’ve had to try and get a tow,” Hamilton told Sky F1 after qualifying.

“We’ve got these three difficult sections where you’ve got, obviously the straight line first section here which is pretty straightforward but getting the right wing level here it’s not so easy.

“Some, as you can see, are really quick in the first and last sector but not so good in the middle sector. We’ve not been the strongest today in the first and the last [sectors], but the middle has been very strong.

“This weekend was my choice to go first or second with Valtteri and I chose to go first. I wanted to be out in clean air, not having to worry about people up ahead of me giving the gap in the last corner.

“I didn’t want anything coming in my way, so it worked out.”

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Hamilton admitted that it had been tough to get back into the zone for qualifying following the tragic passing of actor Chadwick Boseman at the age of 43.

“Today is a really important pole for me, because I woke up to the saddest news of Chadwick passing away. And it’s been such a heavy year, I think for all of us and that news just really, really broke me,” he explained.

“It was really not easy to get back in focus coming in today with that kind of hanging on my heart. I thought I had to go out there and drive it to perfection because what he’s done for the superhero, it shows all these young kids what is possible.

“He was such a shining light. Wakanda forever.”

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