‘Hamilton’s pole lap was not from this world’

Date published: July 12 2020

'Lewis Hamilton's pole lap was not from this world'

Laying down a 1:19.273 to take pole position by 1.2s for the Styrian GP, Toto Wolff says Lewis Hamilton’s lap was “not from this world”.

With the rain bucketing down at the Red Bull Ring on Saturday, final practice was cancelled without a single lap being run.

That meant that when the drivers took to the track on Saturday afternoon, 46 minutes later than scheduled, for the start of Q1 they were all doing so without a single very wet lap under their belts.

That didn’t bother Hamilton at all.

The reigning World Champion was fastest in Q1 and again in Q2 before arriving in the all-important pole position shoot-out up against Valtteri Bottas and Max Verstappen for the coveted grid slot.

Heading into the final few minutes, Bottas went quickest, then Hamilton, then Verstappen, then Hamilton. It was all down to the final lap.

Verstappen spun on his last hot lap while Hamilton, despite already being guaranteed the P1 spot, went purple, purple and purple.

He crossed the line with a 1:19.273 to take pole by position by 1.216s over Verstappen.

“Very rarely do you see performances that are just not from this world,” Wolff told Motorsport.com.

“When you look at the onboard of his lap, he was balancing the car on the edge, aquaplaning, throttle control was incredible.

“I can’t remember that I have seen 1.2 seconds between first and second.

“I think driver and car merge into one, where a perfect car with the tyres in the right window, and perfect driveability on the power unit come together with skill and intelligence of the racing driver.

“Only then do you see this kind of performance.”

Taking to the circuit in treacherous conditions in which the drivers could hardly see, especially when in spray, Wolff highlighted the importance of the team’s communication in getting both drives safely through qualifying.

“[In] these conditions where you really need to be sharp to advise the drivers where the gaps are, how the weather develops, [with] drivers feeding back what he sees on the track,” Wolff said.

“The intercom protocol needs to be very precise. Obviously it’s of great help if engineer and driver have been working together for a long time and trust each other.

“I’m really proud and impressed how it happened today because it was about finding the right spot on the track, analysing the weather, deciding when to put the engine into recharging mode, or when to deploy the party mode, which doesn’t last for long.

“That was perfectly synchronised today.”

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