Lewis Hamilton: 'I had my heart in my mouth'
Lewis Hamilton says that, due to the extreme conditions, he had his heart in his mouth during qualifying for the Styrian Grand Prix.
The Mercedes driver stormed to pole position in a wet session, going over a second quicker than his closest competitor, Max Verstappen.
The conditions were so bad that FP3 was cancelled and many expected qualifying to follow suit. However, a small period where the rain eased off allowed it to go ahead, albeit on a soaking wet track.
“Honestly I am [pleased with that],” Hamiton said after taking his first pole of the season.
“What a tricky day. The weather is obviously incredibly difficult out there for all of us, and a lot of the time you can’t actually see where you are going.
“I had one big moment the lap before [my] last, a big aquaplaning moment, which definitely had my heart in my mouth, but I was able to improve on the next lap, nice and clean. I love these days.
“It was a fantastic lap, the last one.
“I think [it was] just the importance of managing your time out there, managing your battery pack, knowing when to use the few laps that you have on the qualifying modes, creating the gap, [and] not making a mistake when it counts.
“That last lap for me was really as close to perfect as I could really get in those conditions. Considering it was raining more, it makes me even happier knowing that we could go a bit quicker during that time.
“It definitely takes me back to times like Silverstone 2008, because when you’re really at one with the car and not fazed at all, and just being very dynamic with your driving style from corner to corner.
“The wet patches arrive, and the puddles are shifting about with the cars that are driving ahead of you, which is a massive challenge.”
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Prior to qualifying, it had been a largely disappointing weekend for the German team. Unlike last week, they failed to top the first two practice sessions.
However, Hamilton says that the team discovered what the issue was overnight and fixed it promptly.
“Yesterday was a difficult day,” he added.
It started off well in FP1, but then FP2 was a big issue for us, but we’ve discovered it overnight and nothing major.
“That’s where I want to start. I’m glad it was a trouble-free session. I didn’t make any mistakes, so that’s always a positive.”
The pole position was the 89th of Hamilton’s career, and his third at the Red Bull Ring. He’ll be hoping to convert and take his second win there tomorrow.
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