Hamilton: Fastest ever Bahrain lap ‘incredible’ after struggles

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Lewis Hamilton made no secret of his delight after bouncing back from a series of defeats to Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg in practice for the Bahrain Grand Prix to take his 51st Formula 1 pole position on Saturday.

Hamilton trailed Rosberg in FP1, FP2, FP3 and Q1 before finally getting ahead in Q2 ahead of the final fight for pole.

Rosberg enjoyed the early advantage after Hamilton made a mistake on his first run to provisionally leave him fourth on the grid, only to dig deep and take pole position by 0.077 seconds.

“It’s not been a smooth sailing weekend in terms of pace, Nico’s been right on it all weekend,” Hamilton said.

“I was generally struggling to put laps together. Luckily the one lap that I did put together was the last lap, that was the only lap probably of the whole weekend so far. I hope the first of many. The car felt great.

“For my engineers and mechanics who were biting their nails throughout the weekend, working so hard to get the car to where it is today. Big thank you to everyone here and also at the factory.”

Hamilton’s lap of 1:29.493 was the fastest ever recorded around the Bahrain International Circuit, beating Mark Webber’s time of 1:29.527 set in practice for the 2005 race.

“It’s quite incredible to think we’re quicker now than the V10 days and it shows how far technology has come,” Hamilton said.

It is however worth noting that Hamilton’s time does not go down as the official lap record in Bahrain, with F1 rules stating that this must be set in the race.

The Bahrain Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 10:30am ET on Sunday.