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.

IndyCar Grand Prix of Alabama final practice report

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Will Power posted the fastest lap in the third practice session for the Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala. with a speed of 122.953 mph.

Rookie Robert Wickens (122.552 mph) was second fast, foretelling a continuation of his incredible rookie season.

Scott Dixon (122.237), Ryan Hunter-Reay (122.231) and Alexander Rossi (122.106) rounded out the top five.

The practice was interrupted several times for incidents. 

Ed Jones spun off track in turn five after locking up his brakes with 30 minutes remaining in practice three. He was able to drive back to the pits under his own power.

With 20 minutes still on the clock, Jordan King took a trip into the fence after posting a fastest lap of 121.753 mph. He sustained substantial left side damage to his car and came back to the pits on the hook.

“I’m annoyed really,” King said afterward on the live stream at IndyCar.com. “I slightly locked the inside front, then just stayed off onto the grass and that was it. But I wasn’t really even pushing that hard.”

With two minutes remaining, Charlie Kimball lost power and pulled off the track, bringing an end to the practice session.

Dixon also had an off-road excursion.