Lewis Hamilton felt delighted to have bounced back from a difficult start to the Austrian Grand Prix weekend by scoring his 45th career pole position at the Red Bull Ring.
Hamilton appeared to be struggling for rhythm during practice and the first two stages of qualifying, trailing Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg at the top of the timesheets.
The first time he managed to get the upper hand on Rosberg came in Q3, when he went two-tenths of a second clear with his second flying lap to claim provisional pole.
However, the Briton was sure he had lost it when he spun off during his final run, only to find out that Rosberg had done the same and missed the chance to take pole away.
“Generally it was quite a difficult qualifying session I think for everyone just with the track conditions,” Hamilton said. “I was grateful that I got my third lap in on the first run in Q3, I was pushing for that bit extra on the next run and just lost the rears.”
Hamilton explained how after spinning off, his first thought was to recover the car and get it back on track before then thinking he had lost pole.
“I wasn’t particularly concerned about it at the time, I was just trying to get the car going and get the car, that was the biggest concern for me,” Hamilton said.
“I’d been backwards and I was in seventh gear or something like that, standing still so I was trying to look after that. But naturally, shortly afterwards, I was kinda like, ‘probably lost it there’.”
As a result of Rosberg’s error, Hamilton’s lap time of 1:08.455 was enough to hand him pole position for Sunday, although he is expecting a stiffer challenge from Ferrari across the course of the 71 lap race.
“Ferrari have really shown some great pace this weekend, as have the Williams,” Hamilton said.
“Tomorrow it’s going to be a tough race. I don’t think the tires are going to be too much of a problem for everyone, but I think every little bit of time will count tomorrow.”
The Austrian Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 7:30am ET on Sunday.