Lewis Hamilton took his second pole of 2018 and the 74th of his F1 career this afternoon in Barcelona. Valtteri Bottas took his first front-row qualifying position of 2018 in P2, just 0.04s behind his team-mate. Today’s results scored the 90th pole position and 51st front-row lockout for Mercedes in F1. Both drivers will start on the Soft compound after setting their fastest Q2 laps on this tyre.
The team has been working so hard in the last weeks to improve our performance so I must say a big thank you to everybody here and back at the factory. They have kept their heads down and been really open-minded to find new ways to try and improve; it’s been great to be part of and that’s what it takes to be a winning team. It was a very close qualifying session today and it took everything we’ve got to take pole. Ferrari were sandbagging until this afternoon and Valtteri has been driving exceptionally well; it’s fantastic for the team to get the front row and I know everyone will be very happy. Qualifying has always been a strength for me but I’ve had some tricky sessions since Melbourne, so I’m pleased to be back in a good position with it. It has been a constant learning process with the tyres, getting them working in a very narrow window, but today we had them working. There is still lots of work to do tomorrow but this is a good way to start the weekend.
Qualifying was good for me but not quite perfect – and it ended up very close on the final times. But for us as a team this is a perfect result with two cars on the front row. I had a mistake on the first run in Q3, which meant I only had one proper shot at it – that was a good run and, of course, if you do the laps again then you can always find something more. It was good to work the SuperSoft tyre a bit better today, it felt like a better tyre for us so we have made some good progress in that area. I am feeling really good in the car at the moment and, looking to tomorrow, I think we will be strong on race pace. I have some catching up to do overall in terms of the points, so I will be aiming to do as well as I can.
That was a fantastic qualifying session from both drivers and from the team as a whole – and a well-deserved front row. The aerodynamic upgrades we brought to this race are working well and the competition between Lewis and Valtteri is incredibly close – and we can feel that driving us forward at each race weekend. Although the gaps in practice looked to be in our favour, we knew that things would close up in qualifying and that proved to be the case. But the guys stayed calm, made the right calls and delivered when it mattered. Now, we need to turn our attention to the race and the challenges it brings; on the long runs yesterday, Ferrari were very competitive and Red Bull particularly strong, so we know it will be a hard-fought Grand Prix. First, we need to win the start and maintain our positions – and then maximize our opportunities tomorrow as they come.
Source: Mercedes-AMG F1