Hamilton delighted with “incredibly special” Monaco pole

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Defending Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton made no secret of his delight after securing his first pole position at the Monaco Grand Prix in qualifying on Saturday.

Hamilton entered the race weekend with 42 pole positions in F1 to his name, but had not started from first place on the grid in Monaco since he was racing in GP2 back in 2006.

However, the Briton produced a sparkling display to finish fastest in Saturday’s qualifying session by three-tenths of a second from Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg.

“It’s been a long, long time,” Hamilton said when asked about the wait to start from pole in Monaco. “I can’t express to you just how happy I am.

“It wasn’t the easiest session. I didn’t have the rhythm until the last two laps. I was really, really happy with it. Coming across the line, just hoping for once that you’ve got it.

“This is incredibly special for me and my guys who have worked so hard this weekend, so I’m very, very happy. At this track, it’s so hard. It’s difficult to express just how difficult this track is. Getting your head around it and improving, it’s important to get into a rhythm and it’s important to continue to improve.”

Ten of the last eleven Monaco Grands Prix have been won from pole position, but Hamilton is refusing to get complacent ahead of tomorrow’s race.

“Not even half the job is done, there’s so much to do tomorrow,” he said. “There’s a long, long way to go, many many laps here. It’s going to be mentally and physically challenging.

“I’m so happy today, nothing was able to get in my way today thank goodness. I’m looking forward to tomorrow. I think 2006 in GP2 was the last time I started on pole here. Very special day, a big thank you to the team.”

F1 Countdown for the Monaco Grand Prix is live on NBCSN from 7am on Sunday, before switching over to NBC at 7:30am ET for the race.