Hamilton reveals how Mercedes sealed pole after Friday struggles

Lewis Hamilton beat Max Verstappen to pole position of the 2023 Hungarian GP to set a Formula 1 record.

-

A jubilant Lewis Hamilton said Mercedes‘ simulator work was key for them turning around their 2023 Hungarian Grand Prix weekend, after they turned a difficult Friday to a record-breaking qualifying thanks to his record-breaking pole position.

George Russell finished FP2 dead last at the Hungaroring with Hamilton not much better in 16th, but the seven-time champion topped FP3 before repeating that feat on Saturday to record his ninth pole at the circuit – more than any other driver at a single circuit.

And Hamilton revealed he had a glimmer of hope for the race win despite Red Bull‘s extraordinary pace.

“We come into the week and run the simulator and sometimes the simulator feels good sometimes it feels terrible,” Hamilton told the media.

“And then we come to the track and you’re just always hopeful that when you get in, you’ve got somewhat of a decent balance and the car doesn’t feel bad, but nine times out of 10, you get in the car and you’re like, damn, it really feels terrible.”

“So yesterday just wasn’t great for us. But what we do best is work hard through the night, the team work hard on the simulator and we get a new direction for Saturday, made some really great changes to the car last night and it put us in a much better window.

“So, I was then able to just build on that.”

Max Verstappen lines up second on the grid in his rampant Red Bull, having taken victory in the last six races in a streak that extends back to the start of May.

He won the 2022 Hungarian GP from tenth on the grid against another pole-sitting Mercedes – that of George Russell – but starting third in 2021 he was hit by Hamilton‘s then-teammate Valtteri Bottas and sustained damage to finish ninth.

“Normally it’s not a bad race car, we tend to have decent race pace,” Hamilton added. “Max‘s race pace yesterday was, I think quite extraordinary, I think they were quite a bit quicker than us.

“But, yeah, if there’s a way to hold position then maybe there’s a fighting chance for us.”

Hamilton: I didn’t breathe the whole lap!

Hamilton was almost lost for words after qualifying, his first pole position since the 2021 Saudi Arabian GP.

He was second behind Verstappen going into the final few minutes of Q3, and was even third for a few moments when Lando Norris displaced him at the top.

But Verstappen wasn’t able to improve on his last flying lap leaving the door open for Hamilton, who duly took the opportunity to make history – by just 0.003 seconds.

“I forgot what it feels like to sit in this spot, you’ve been hogging it for a while!” Hamilton said at the post-race press conference with Verstappen.

“I don’t think I breathed the whole lap, I think I hold my breath and I was just so out of breath at the end.

“But it’s an extraordinary feeling after you’ve been here for such a long time and you’ve had success before, even though it’s 104 it feels like the first. It’s hard to explain just how special it feels and we definitely weren’t expecting to be fighting for pole today.”

Adam Dickinson
Adam Dickinson
An international multi-award-winning journalist, Adam Dickinson has written for Total-Motorsport.com since June 2022 and also contributes to TNT Sports, Eurosport and the Rugby Paper. He's also had articles published in the Daily Telegraph and several local newspapers, previously worked for Last-Lap.co.uk and FeederSeries.net in motorsport, and graduated with a First-Class Journalism Degree from the University of Sheffield having also studied in Oklahoma. Adam started watching F1 by accident in 2007, catching the last race in Indianapolis, and attended his first race as a journalist at the 2023 British Grand Prix.
- Advertisment -

LATEST NEWS

Lewis Hamilton, Lando Norris and Max Verstappen 1 at the 2024 British GP | Mercedes

F1 Driver Ratings — 2024 British GP

0
Lewis Hamilton finally ended his long wait for a race victory at the Formula 1 2024 British GP as...
George Russell leads the field into Turn 1 at the 2024 British GP | Mercedes

F1 Winners and Losers from the British GP

0
Lewis Hamilton emerged victorious in one of the most memorable races in recent Formula 1 history, which begs the...
Lewis Hamilton celebrates after winning the 2024 British GP | Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton masterclass proves he can take fight to Verstappen

0
Lewis Hamilton basked in the glory of his long-awaited victory at the British Grand Prix, celebrating in front of...
Max Verstappen looks on at the 2024 Austrian GP | Chris Graythen / Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Max Verstappen rues ‘poor’ British GP as Red Bull battle rare issue

0
Max Verstappen conceded it was a "poor afternoon" for Red Bull at the Formula 1 2024 British Grand Prix...
Lando Norris with engineers at 2024 British GP | McLaren F1 Team

Are McLaren becoming ‘new Ferrari’ after another strategy blunder?

0
Lando Norris' media appearances after the British GP were a genuinely tough watch, with reporters seemingly counselling the 24-year-old...
Race winner Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes Max Verstappen on the podium after the 2024 British Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Lewis Hamilton: British GP win more crucial to Mercedes than Russell victory

0
Lewis Hamilton explained why he felt his victory at the Formula 1 2024 British Grand Prix on Sunday was...
Carlos Sainz at the 2024 Austrian GP | Scuderia Ferrari Press Office

F1 2024 British GP – Fastest Lap

0
Carlos Sainz snatched the fastest lap at the 2024 British GP at the final opportunity as an all-time classic...
Lando Norris during 2024 British GP | McLaren F1 Team

F1 Standings after 2024 British Grand Prix

0
An emotional 2024 British Grand Prix saw Lewis Hamilton take a record-breaking win at Silverstone, outsmarting Lando Norris and...
Max Verstappen leads Lando Norris of McLaren during the 2024 British Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

F1 2024 British GP: Driver of the Day

0
There is a reason why the British Grand Prix remains the hottest attraction on the Formula 1 calendar and...
Lewis Hamilton celebrates after winning the 2024 British GP | Mercedes

Hamilton outsmarts Verstappen and Norris to clinch record-breaking British GP win

0
Lewis Hamilton finally celebrated on the top step of the podium after a dramatic finale to the Formula 1...
- Advertisment -