Hamilton 'ecstatic' to secure landmark century of poles


Lewis Hamilton normally brushes off reaching new heights in Formula 1, but even he couldn't play down the historic success of becoming the first driver ever in the sport ever to secure 100 pole positions.

The Mercedes driver had surpassed Michael Schumacher's previous record of 68 pole positions as long ago as 2017 when he claimed the top spot in Italy. Now, nearly four years on, he's finally attained triple figures.

“I can’t believe that we’re at 100,” he admitted when interviewed in parc ferme after the end of qualifying at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

"I don't know how I am supposed to feel. It's such a big number, it's hard to express how crazy and amazing it is."

Hamilton had notched up 26 poles at McLaren, but the majority have come since he switched to Mercedes at the end of 2012.

"Really it is down to the men and women down at the [Mercedes] factory who continue to raise the bar and just never giving up," he said. "The support that I have, it’s been a dream for me to work with these guys.

“The journey that we’ve been on has been immense,” he continued. “Who would have thought in 2013 or 2012 when we made the decision to partner that we would be qualifying at 100?

Pirelli Pole Position Award for Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1. 08.05.2021. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 4, Spanish Grand Prix, Barcelona

"So I feel very humble, very grateful and I’m ecstatic like it’s my first," he said. “I’ll always remember that one."

It had looked far from certain that Hamilton would be able to claim his 100th pole this weekend. Although he was quickest in second practice on Friday afternoon, he was just third quickest on Saturday morning.

He revealed that he's decided to go ahead with set-up changes for qualifying, even though it risked costing him the top spot. “I had a bit of anxiety about the changes we were potentially going to make for qualifying,” he admitted.

“We’re always trying to make the car better, but it’s a bit of a gamble because you’ve got to also keep the race in mind.

"Anyway, we made this change and as soon as I got out I was like: ‘This is the wrong one!’ It was my call at the end, but it was really hard," he explained. "The set-up that I made I just had so much understeer.

Pole sitter Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W12 in qualifying parc ferme. 08.05.2021. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 4, Spanish Grand Prix, Barcelona

“The car was so lazy, it wouldn’t turn into the corner the way I want, so you’re waiting and waiting and waiting.

"It’s why I was behind the whole way through qualifying," he said. “I was making small adjustments within what we’re able to change in order to get the car to turn.

"That’s a combination of many things, and then it’s just pulling every millisecond together.”

After Max Verstappen put in the fastest lap of anyone in the second round, Hamilton responded with his best run at the start of Q3 when he posted a time of 1:16.741s, a slender 0.036s quicker than Verstappen which proved to be enough for pole.

“The first lap was the best lap that I got throughout the whole session," Hamilton said. "I tried to improve the next lap, I think I was a tenth and a half up, but then I couldn’t keep it.”

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 in the post qualifying FIA Press Conference. 08.05.2021. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 4, Spanish Grand Prix, Barcelona

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