Hamilton: Pole is a “blessing” in Spa

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Lewis Hamilton has called pole position for the Belgian Grand Prix a “blessing” after a strong performance in difficult conditions today at Spa-Francorchamps.

The Briton was languishing in eighth place and struggling in the wet conditions before the circuit dried and allowed the 2008 world champion to take pole position with the final lap of Q3. However, Hamilton did not think that it was possible.

“I went wide in turn one and the dash display is usually telling you whether you’re up or down and it said I was three seconds down and then five seconds and six seconds, so I didn’t understand what was happening in the lap but I just kept pushing,” the Briton explained in the post-race press conference. “I could see I was catching Sebastian [Vettel] towards the end but what a blessing, I feel so fortunate to be up here.”

This may be his fourth consecutive pole position, but Hamilton revealed that he felt it was a particularly special one.

“I can’t remember the last time I crossed the line and had such a good feeling.

“It’s just crazy to think that this is my thirty-first pole and it still feels like it’s the first one. It’s just an incredible feeling and I’m very grateful to be here today.”

Hamilton edged out championship rival Vettel by just two-tenths of a second in the dying moments of the session as he took advantage of a change in conditions to jump up the order late on. If he is to reignite his championship charge and cut the sizeable gap to Vettel, Hamilton will need to produce a strong drive tomorrow and claim his second win at Spa – with or without the rain.

Hamilton: Abu Dhabi ‘the last race with good-looking cars’ in F1

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Lewis Hamilton believes that this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will be remembered as the last race with good-looking Formula 1 cars ahead of the introduction of the ‘Halo’ cockpit protection for next year.

Officials from the FIA and F1 Strategy Group confirmed earlier this year that the Halo would be fitted to all cars from the 2018 season in a bid to improve safety standards, with the deaths of Justin Wilson and Jules Bianchi putting head protection high on the agenda for the series’ chiefs.

Hamilton has long made his opposition to the Halo clear, believing it will ruin the look of F1 cars, and echoed his thoughts ahead of the final Halo-less race in Abu Dhabi this weekend.

“It’s the last year of looking good I think in the cars. It’s the last race where the cars will look good,” Hamilton said.

“I think next year, it’s all downhill from there in terms of how they look.

“But safety will go up at least, and maybe it could be successful in some way.”

Hamilton’s F1 title rival Sebastian Vettel was less bothered about the change, believing the field will adjust and move on.

“The cars will look different next year. Everything I’ve seen so far looks different, but on the other hand it is something we all get used to,” Vettel said.

“But no doubt the cars look better now, but we’ll get used to it, and we’ll work on the aesthetics so it can be better. It is less of a big deal.”

Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo shared Vettel’s view, saying: “I don’t think it’s gonna be as dramatic as most people make it out to be.”