F 1

Hamilton glad he did the 'special' car proud

James Jose/Abu Dhabi
Filed on November 30, 2019
Mercedes' driver Lewis Hamilton drives his car during practice for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at the Yas Marina Circuit. - Photo by Ryan Lim

Hamilton said it as a nice way to send off the 2019 car - the Mercedes AMG F1 W10 EQ Power +, into retirement.

It has been a while, July to be precise, and Lewis Hamilton was quite relieved to end the drought of pole positions at the Formula One Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Saturday night.

The freshly-minted six-time world champion seized pole for Sunday's race at the Yas Marina Circuit, his fifth of the season and the 88th of his career.

But it had been a long time in coming with the Mercedes driver's previous pole being at the German Grand Prix, Round 11 on the calendar. And it was a relief, more than anything, for the Briton as his previous pole position was 10 races ago.

"Such a long slog to get this pole position and we just kept our heads down, just continued to try and keep at it," Hamilton said after qualifying.

"The guys have been doing a great job around me, the other drivers. So, just trying to focus on continuing to do my job. Yesterday (Friday) was quite wobbly. So, I had to really compose myself last night and come back today (Saturday) focussed. It was great work from the engineers. The mechanics continue to do a great job," he added.

The 34-year-old, who was cheered on by the packed Main Grandstand, also paid tribute to the crowd.

"And yeah, what a crowd. Every time I come here, I seem to get a lot of love in Abu Dhabi and also there are a lot of Brits here as well, so, a big thank you to everyone," he said.

Hamilton said it as a nice way to send off the 2019 car - the Mercedes AMG F1 W10 EQ Power +, into retirement.

"There is always room to improve. There's been a lot of growth this whole year for so many people within the team. But, I can obviously speak for myself, there's been a lot of growth but also these last couple of races, there's been a lot of growth, from the drivers' perspective, just constantly looking for these small milliseconds. Valtteri has been rapid also this weekend so, I'm glad that we are in this position. Of course, to end the qualifying season with a pole, which has been a while, I've only had four, earlier this year. It has been a special car and it the last time I will get to qualify with this so, I'm glad I did it proud today (Saturday)," said Hamilton.

Hamilton was also looking forward to another battle with Max Verstappen, with the Dutchman qualifying third. But the Red Bull Racing driver will start from second because Valtteri Bottas, who was originally second, will start from the back of the grid because of an engine penalty.

"Absolutely. I think we are in a slightly better position this weekend. Obviously, Max has continued to drive well and I'm looking forward to the battle with him,' he said.

Meanwhile, Bottas felt he could still make a dash for a win.

"I believe anything is possible. When we didn't have a good car, Sundays are better than Saturdays for us. So, we will give it all we have," said Bottas.

Verstappen was optimistic of a good result. "I think today (Saturday), it was the best we could do. I think we all know that Mercedes is quite dominant here. We are pretty happy and it is good to start on the front row. Of course, I would have liked to get pole. I think there is a lot of chances for tomorrow and we will see what happens," said Verstappen.



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