Lewis Hamilton earns 100th F1 pole position in qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton 100th pole
Dan Istitene - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images
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MONTMELO, Spain — Lewis Hamilton reached another Formula One milestone on Saturday when the British driver steered his way to a record-extending 100th pole position.

Hamilton powered his Mercedes to the top time in qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix with a flying lap that beat out top rival Max Verstappen by just 0.03 seconds.

That smidgen of a second could translate into a big edge come Sunday. Hamilton will aim to maintain his dominance of the Barcelona-Catalunya Circuit and increase the eight-point advantage he has over Verstappen following three races.

“Great job! That was hard work,” Hamilton told his team over the radio after shouting out to celebrate hitting the century mark.

Hamilton’s teammate Valtteri Bottas was right behind in third, followed by Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and Esteban Ocon in his Alpine.

Hamilton said that the 100th gives him the same satisfaction and rush as the first one did back in 2007, when he raced for McLaren. He has won 74 poles since joining Mercedes in 2013.

“The 100 mark, I don’t think anyone, not even me, thought that I would get to that number,” Hamilton said. “But I think about all the people who have helped me, all the men and women in the factories who continually raise the bar.

“It is crazy that it has been 100, but it felt like one of the first, and for me that is special. And we are so close. That is what excites me.”

Verstappen said he had to be pleased by being so close to Hamilton’s Mercedes, but he admitted that starting behind Hamilton will make victory tough.

“We know how hard it is to overtake and follow close here, but I am always optimistic and positive that we can do a good race, and I hope that it is as close as today,” Verstappen said.

F1 Grand Prix of Spain - Qualifying
Lewis Hamilton takes a moment after capturing the 100th pole of his Formula One career (Dan Istitene – Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images).

A Mercedes has won pole at the 4.6-kilometer (2.9-mile) Barcelona-Catalunya Circuit every year since 2013, including front-row lockouts in each of those years except for 2017. Hamilton has now taken six of those poles.

Hamilton’s milestone increases the distance between his mark and Michael Schumacher’s 68 poles in second place all-time.

It is promising to be a season full of milestones for the 36-year-old Hamilton.

It appears to be just a matter of weeks before Hamilton also hits 100 grand prix victories. On Sunday, he will be aiming for a 98th career victory – on a track where he was won for the past four years. He broke Schumacher’s record of 91 wins last year.

And then he will try for the biggest prize of all: surpassing Schumacher’s record of seven world championships that he equalled last season.

Verstappen, however, also has good memories from the Spanish GP where he got his maiden win at age 18 in 2016.

Red Bull has closed the gap with Mercedes, with Verstappen and Hamilton finished either first or second in all three races this year. Hamilton won the season opener in Bahrain and last week’s race in Portugal. Verstappen won the season’s second race in Italy.

Verstappen’s partner, Sergio Perez, had the only mishap in an otherwise clean qualifying session. He lost control of his Red Bull and slid backward off the track, smoke belching from the tires.

Perez managed the eighth-best time, right behind Carlos Sainz in his Ferrari and McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo.

McLaren’s other driver, Lando Norris, will start from ninth. Norris is the surprise of the season and is in a distant third place in the standings.

Alpine’s Fernando Alonso will close out the top 10 on the starting grid in the Spaniard’s first home race since 2018.

Justin Grant prevails over Kyle Larson in the Turkey Night Grand Prix

Grant Larson Turkey Night
USACRacing.com / DB3 Inc.
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On the heels of his Hangtown 100 victory, Justin Grant worked his way from 13th in the Turkey Night Grand Prix to beat three-time event winner Kyle Larson by 1.367 seconds. The 81st annual event was run at Ventura (Calif.) Raceway for the sixth time.

“My dad used to take me to Irwindale Speedway, and we’d watch Turkey Night there every year,” Grant said in a series press release. “This is one of the races I fell in love with. I didn’t think I’d ever get a chance to run in it, never thought I’d make a show and certainly never thought I’d be able to win one.”

With its genesis in 1934 at Gilmore Stadium, a quarter-mile dirt track in Los Angeles, the race is steeped in history with winners that include AJ Foyt, Parnelli Jones, Gary Bettenhausen and Johnnie Parsons. Tony Stewart won it in 2000. Kyle Larson won his first of three Turkey Night Grands Prix in 2012. Christopher Bell earned his first of three in 2014, so Grant’s enthusiasm was well deserved.

So was the skepticism that he would win. He failed to crack the top five in three previous attempts, although he came close last year with a sixth-place result. When he lined up for the feature 13th in the crowded 28-car field, winning seemed like a longshot.

Grant watched as serious challengers fell by the wayside. Mitchel Moles flipped on Lap 10 of the feature. Michael “Buddy” Kofoid took a tumble on Lap 68 and World of Outlaws Sprint car driver Carson Macedo flipped on Lap 79. Grant saw the carnage ahead of him and held a steady wheel as he passed Tanner Thorson for the lead with 15 laps remaining and stayed out of trouble for the remainder of the event.

“It’s a dream come true to win the Turkey Night Grand Prix,” Grant said.


Kyle Larson follows Justin Grant to the front on Turkey Night

The 2012, 2016 and 2019 winner, Larson was not scheduled to run the event. His wife Katelyn is expecting their third child shortly, but after a couple of glasses of wine with Thanksgiving dinner and while watching some replays of the event, Larson texted car owner Chad Boat to see if he had a spare car lying around. He did.

“We weren’t great but just hung around and it seemed like anybody who got to the lead crashed and collected some people,” Larson said. “We made some passes throughout; in the mid-portion, we weren’t very good but then we got better at the end.

“I just ran really, really hard there, and knew I was running out of time, so I had to go. I made some pretty crazy and dumb moves, but I got to second and was hoping we could get a caution to get racing with Justin there. He was sliding himself at both ends and thought that maybe we could get a run and just out-angle him into [Turn] 1 and get clear off [Turn] 2 if we got a caution, but it just didn’t work out.”

Larson padded one of the most impressive stats in the history of this race, however. In 10 starts, he’s won three times, finished second four times, was third once and fourth twice.

Bryant Wiedeman took the final spot on the podium.

As Grant and Larson began to pick their way through the field, Kofoid took the lead early from the outside of the front row and led the first 44 laps of the race before handing it over to Cannon McIntosh, who bicycled on Lap 71 before landing on all fours. While Macedo and Thorson tussled for the lead with McIntosh, Grant closed in.

Thorson finished 19th with McIntosh 20th. Macedo recovered from his incident to finish ninth. Kofoid’s hard tumble relegated him to 23rd.

Jake Andreotti in fourth and Kevin Thomas, Jr. rounded out the top five.

1. Justin Grant (started 13)
2. Kyle Larson (22)
3. Bryant Wiedeman (4)
4. Jake Andreotti (9)
5. Kevin Thomas Jr. (1)
6. Logan Seavey (8)
7. Alex Bright (27)
8. Emerson Axsom (24)
9. Carson Macedo (7)
10. Jason McDougal (18)
11. Jake Swanson (16)
12. Chase Johnson (6)
13. Jacob Denney (26)
14. Ryan Timms (23)
15. Chance Crum (28)
16. Brenham Crouch (17)
17. Jonathan Beason (19)
18. Cade Lewis (14)
19. Tanner Thorson (11)
20. Cannon McIntosh (3)
21. Thomas Meseraull (15)
22. Tyler Courtney (21)
23. Buddy Kofoid (2)
24. Brody Fuson (5)
25. Mitchel Moles (20)
26. Daniel Whitley (10)
27. Kaylee Bryson (12)
28. Spencer Bayston (25)