Hamilton’s 100th pole ‘difficult to compute’

Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton has admitted claiming the 100th world championship pole position of his career is “difficult to compute”.

The Englishman will line up first for tonight’s Formula 1 Spanish Grand Prix after edging out Max Verstappen to top spot by 0.03s in qualifying.

Hamilton is the first driver in world championship history to reach the 100-pole position milestone, a journey which has taken him 14 years.

“I don’t really feel like I can compute it right now. It’s a huge number,” Hamilton said.

“I don’t know how I’m supposed to feel.”

Hamilton’s maiden pole came at the 2007 Canadian Grand Prix, six races into his F1 career and on the same weekend that delivered his first win.

“[The] 100 mark is something that I don’t think anybody, and particularly me, never thought that I’d ever get to that number.

“This journey that we’ve been on all these years, it’s been remarkable, and it’s been so enjoyable.

“It’s crazy that it is 100. And it felt like one of the first and that’s, for me, even more special.

“I can’t remember exactly the feeling in 2007,” he added.

“I think back then it was where I was pushing for equality in terms of fuel load alongside my team-mate, and [it was] the first time they gave us the actual equal fuel load.

“I don’t know if people know, but 10 kilos of fuel here is worth over three tenths of a second, so if you’re carrying an extra lap, so have more fuel – which we were back then – that’s a tenth and a half or so.

“That was special and kind of felt amazing.

“Then just the first few just reassured that I was able to do what I did back then.

“Here we are, 100 poles later and still feel as young, so I’m good to keep going.”

Lewis Hamilton

The lap that secured Hamilton the milestone was his first in the final segment of qualifying in Spain.

He recorded a 1:16.741s despite slowing for gravel on approach to Turn 13, where Sergio Perez had spun moments earlier.

It was a time that narrowly saw off Verstappen with neither driver able to improve on their subsequent run.

For Hamilton, it was a lap worthy of his 100th pole position.

“I think it was a great lap,” he asserted.

“It’s the journey that, sometimes you start qualifying, you’re quick from the get-go and you’ve got the right balance, and then it’s really just down to you doing the job.

“I didn’t have the right balance, and I was behind.

“I was making these changes and hoping that… By Q3, this is all I got, so make the best of it.

“So I do feel like it was a very, very clean and precise lap, and I guess that’s why I managed to just be ahead of Max.

“I’m proud of it, that’s for sure.”

So prolific has Hamilton been in qualifying that only five teams have scored more pole positions than he has as an individual since the world championship commenced in 1950.

Those are Ferrari, McLaren, Mercedes, Williams, and Team Lotus, the latter of which amassed 107 – a figure Hamilton could realistically eclipse by year end.

Three races into the 2021 season, the 36-year-old leads the world championship by eight points over Verstappen.

Victory in this year’s title fight would be his eighth such success, moving him clear of Michael Schumacher as the driver with most world championships to his name.

Should Hamilton win tonight’s race, it would be his 98th grand prix success.

Most poles in world championship history

  1. Lewis Hamilton, 100*
  2. Michael Schumacher, 68
  3. Ayrton Senna, 65
  4. Sebastian Vettel, 57*
  5. Jim Clark, 33
  6. Alain Prost, 33
  7. Nigel Mansell, 32
  8. Nico Rosberg, 30
  9. Juan Manuel Fangio, 29
  10. Mika Hakkinen, 26

* denotes active driver

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