Polesitter Lewis Hamilton hails Mercedes’ team effort

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Lewis Hamilton has praised his team after claiming pole position for Sunday’s Chinese Grand Prix.

The Mercedes driver managed to edge out Kimi Raikkonen, Fernando Alonso and teammate Nico Rosberg in the final qualifying session, and the two-time Chinese GP winner was delighted with the result in just his third race for the team.

“I am incredibly happy,” Hamilton said in the post-race press conference. “So happy to have our first pole for some time and I’m just ecstatic really. The lap was great, the team performed well all weekend so far and I really hope we can carry that into tomorrow.”

The result marks Mercedes’ second pole position since their return to the sport in 2010, but Rosberg missed out on the opportunity to join Hamilton on the front row following a mistake at the final corner which saw him finish fourth.

Hamilton admitted that he was pleased with his early qualifying pace, but the challenge of getting the final lap right meant that pole position was never a certainty.

“We had really good pace for Q1 and Q2, but that last lap is really difficult to get. We left it down to three minutes to go or something like that, then you’ve got to get the perfect out lap, the perfect lap to get yourself up there and I really can’t complain about the lap. So I’m really happy.”

The British driver will be looking to take his first win for Mercedes in the race tomorrow having joined the team during the off season. However, the challenge of the Pirelli tires could mean that strategy is crucial, and Hamilton admitted that he was wary of Raikkonen because of this.

“He seems to be able to look after them a little bit better than most people.”