Hamilton “surprised” with fourth consecutive pole

2013 Belgian Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton said he was surprised to claim pole position for the fourth race in a row in Belgium.

Hamilton was outside the top ten in all three practice sessions and made it through to Q3 in tenth place. But he took advantage of wet conditions in the top-ten shoot out to take his fifth pole position for Mercedes.

“It was obviously a good job by the time but I am just so surprised when I came across the line,” said Hamilton.

“I think when I started the lap it looked like on the board I saw on the screen I was in seventh or eighth. And I was like ‘oh my God’, especially as it was raining more.”

“And I went wide in turn one. And my dash display was usually telling me whether you’re up or down and it said I was three seconds down, and then five seconds and six seconds so I didn’t understand what was going on in the lap and I just kept pushing. I could see I was catching Sebastian [Vettel] towards the end. But what a blessing I feel so fortunate to be up there.”

Hamilton’s pole position was thanks to a strong performance in the middle sector where he was over a second quicker than the Red Bulls. “I pushed quite a lot in the middle sector particularly as I thought I was down three seconds so I was really caning it,” he said.

However Hamilton expects pressure from the Red Bulls in tomorrow’s race: “I think this weekend they’ve both shown that they have incredible pace.”

“But I’m hoping that whatever the conditions are tomorrow we can try and fight it out with them. The guys have done a fantastic job bringing a good package here.

“I generally feel we’re quite close. I still feel Red Bulls generally are a little bit ahead of us in performance. But that’s why results like this today feel even better because we feel like we’ve extracted more than the car can actually do. So I’m very happy with it.”

2013 Belgian Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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50 comments on “Hamilton “surprised” with fourth consecutive pole”

  1. I am honestly sick of the “Dear golly, how’d I ever get pole”-thing Hamilton keeps doing. It just sounds so weird to keep saying it and we just know you were sandbagging…

    1. Totally agree. It’s all trying to show “the car was crap but see what a brilliant driver I am”.

      1. Alonso is far worse in that respect :P

      2. @ifelix – How then do you explain how he managed to squeak through to Q3 by 0.02s ahead of Hulkenburg? Surely no one is that good at judging the cut off point and cutting it that fine to go through. How also do you explain the drying track at the end? Surely no one is that good at predicting the changing conditions. It just sounds like you just don’t like it when he gets pole, but that is not his problem.

        1. Both events were luck and could have easily gone the other way. If they did though Hamilton probably would have slammed his team or publish a telemetry of Nico on Twitter and his fans would have accused of Merc deliberately scuppering his championship charge.
          Frankly, I enjoy Hamilton’s driving and his art of wresting any car to some performance, if only he can shut his mouth (and his twitter account) like my favourite Kimi and let his driving speak. You don’t hear any other top driver boast one day “I have destroyed him [Alonso] in my rookie year” and then a bit later “he [Alonso] is the greatest driver”.

          I liked Hamilton in 2007, esp. when he said he doesn’t want to win championship in court and was happy for him when he won championship in 2008 in that thriller. But after that he suddenly thought he is entitled to multiple championship and when in 2009 his car wasn’t up to it he did things such as lying to stewards (and let’s not even talk about his attitude in 2011).

          Bottom line, he is a great driver and I like to see him on track. I just dislike his desperate verbal attempts to make himself greater.

    2. I really don’t think he’s “playing it” like that. When you look at his Friday performances he does seem to have a few issues, but they usually iron them out before the qualifying session. If he did want to play the “look at what a brilliant driver I am” card whilst sandbagging, he’d just be doing long runs with more fuel on Fridays then just taking pole.

    3. It’s one of the more amusing aspects of this season. And now, on to Monza, where Mercedes will announce themselves “gravely concerned” at their lack of pace on Friday, and “amazed” at their front row lockout on Saturday. “I’m simply gobsmacked”, Brawn will be heard to say.

    4. I wasn’t there, and of course it is understood that you can’t believe a lot of what you read, but – according to a few articles, they brought several new parts and tested them on Friday, with high down-force set-ups.

      And as Lewis says, it started raining harder during Sector 1 and he was significantly behind. Read what Keith C quoted him as saying, “The guys have done a fantastic job bringing a good package here.”

      So, what are you on about?

      1. I wholeheartedly agree with that, I was just extremely frustrated how Lewis Hamilton has never not been surprised that his team, the one which has gotten 8/11 pole positions by now, is capable of scoring a pole. I understand that in this case, things might be a little different, but it’s still annoying to keep hearing the “I totally didn’t expect it to happen” quotes. It’s something Alonso also did last year, and while his car was a dog, the Mercedes is (arguably) the fastest car thus far. I was perhaps just a tad frustrated that the best driver ever to be born, Paul DiResta, didn’t get Paul-position.

        1. “I was perhaps just a tad frustrated that the best driver ever to be born, Paul DiResta, didn’t get Paul-position.”

          LOL! That must be the best joke of the year so far! Thanks mate!

    5. @infinitygc +1000000 – come on Hamilton, who are you trying to kid. The Mercedes is clearly the quickest qualifying car on the grid, so it shouldn’t be a surprise (not saying that he isn’t doing well with it but still, be realistic).

      1. @vettel1
        Mercedes might be the best qualifying car, but “clearly”? I don’t think so.

        In Nurburgring, Hamilton beat Vettel by 0.103 seconds, and Vettel a few small mistakes in the opening sector.
        In Hungary, Hamilton beat Vettel by 0.038 seconds, and Vettel had two lock-ups on his flying lap.

        Today, Lewis beat Seb by 0.188 seconds, and he was the last one over the line (best track conditions).

        The last time Mercedes was “clearly” the best qualifying car was in Silverstone. For granted, the WO4 is still a great car on Saturday, but that doesn’t change the fact that the gap between it and the RB8 is very, very small, if not non-existent.

        1. @kingshark the gap between it and the RB8 is cavernous!

          The gap between it and the RB9 however is quite marked – 8/11 poles don’t lie after all. It may only be a matter of a couple of tenths at times, but that was a similar advantage to what the RB7 had at times and I don’t think anybody argued against that being the best qualifying car. It’s not quite but nearly the same situation now.

        2. Today, Lewis beat Seb by 0.188 seconds, and he was the last one over the line (best track conditions).

          And Hamilton had multiple mistakes on his flying lap today. He also had a few mistakes on his flying lap in Hungary. Can we drop the fiction that Hamilton doesn’t makes mistakes but extracts 100% of his cars performance?

    6. Nah, he’s not sandbagging at all. You guys aren’t taking into account how dominant Red Bull have been for years and Lewis moved to Mercedes not expecting to be competing for pole position or wins in his first season. So it’s all a surprise at how well he’s been doing. And especially in practice it looked like the Red Bulls were the car to beat again, so to be ahead of them is massive.

    7. Hamilton had seen how well it’s worked for Alonso in terms of public perception by constantly downplaying the car.

      I was a bit confused when in the press conference he was talking about Red Bull’s “incredible pace” and how they’re so far ahead of Mercedes. I know the last race was four weeks ago but he surely hasn’t forgotten how dominant the Mercedes was in Hungary. Not to mention that the Red Bull has only been the fastest car this season in Montreal and Bahrain.

    8. dont really care what Lewis keeps doing as long as I dont have to see the Redbulls simply running away to easily ……

  2. lol, how many times do Lewis and Mercedes tell us that they will not challenge and how many times do we fall for it! ;-D

    1. Only fools fall for Hamilton’s downplays. Should’ve learned by now ;)

  3. Are we seeing the start of a Hamilton-Mercedes-Brawn era……….. ????? This is amazing…..

    1. erm… I wouldn’t go that far I still think we are in the Newey-Red Bull era.

    2. What we saw today was Hamilton crossing the line last as the track was developing 1sec per every 30-45 sec.

    3. Daniel (@collettdumbletonhall)
      24th August 2013, 16:06

      Wait until tomorrow, he’s got pole in the last 3 races and won one which isn’t a great hit rate. If he can hold off the Red Bulls tomorrow then perhaps this is the start of something special but he needs to keep this up as the gap is still pretty big.

  4. Daniel (@collettdumbletonhall)
    24th August 2013, 16:03

    Well done to him, not only did he beat the Red Bulls, he beat Paul Di Resta. The Ferrari-worthy, champion waiting in the wings, driving god Paul Di Resta who, if it wasn’t for his team holding him back would’ve walked it.

    1. Lets not forgot that DIR is the best racing driver in the history of motorsport and that Force India are scum privledged with the mere presence of this future Ferrari 10 time world champion xD

    2. I dont think even Ferrari is worthy of his greatness. In fact, I think F1 isn’t worthy of Paul’s talents.

      I’m puzzled as to why Paul isn’t ruling the world already… surely there is no one more worthy

      1. I’ve heard he has asked the FIA for his own series “Formula Paul”

    3. Shreyas Mohanty (@)
      24th August 2013, 17:52

      This is brilliant xD

  5. Loved the onboard lap. He looked like missing aaaaaaaaall of the apexes. Lets see if he can pull out a gap big enough to avoid losing on those hideous DRS zones. Specially considering the Red Bulls seem faster in the faster bits

    1. “Loved the onboard lap. He looked like missing aaaaaaaaall of the apexes.”

      Uh? Have you never watched how drivers take corners in the wet? Theres more time to be found and less risk involved in taking a greater radius.

      1. ALL drivers steer clear of the white lines otherwise you take a spin, look at howw that cost Alonso or he would have been the last man to cross the line and take pole.

  6. A typical GP Friday and Saturday:
    Friday: Mercedes struggle and look off the pace. They don’t look like they will be in contention for pole.
    Saturday: Hamilton snatches pole, much to his surprise. Vettel is on the front row with him. Alonso nowhere.

    Luckily I have learnt from my mistakes of thinking Mercedes won’t get pole based on practice struggles and predicted Hamilton for pole.

    1. @deej92 Really the only way to do it, the only tricky part is when Nico is on fire and then it could be one or the other. Then you have to bite the bullet and just go Hamilton cause I’m starting to think Merc GP may be screwing over Nico in quali strategy.

  7. A typical GP Sunday:

    Vettel or a Mercedes wins, Alonso gets podium, either Maldonado or Grosjean have a crash, Di Resta becomes driving god by reaching an awe-inspiring 10th place.

    1. Uhm, that’s the 2012-edition Grosjean.

      Grosjean 2013 is really fast in the first bit, then get’s asked to slow down for Kimi, and finally get’s a drive through to get only mediocre results.

  8. Hamilton’s pole position was thanks to a strong performance in the middle sector where he was over a second quicker than the Red Bulls.

    So it sounds like Mercedes have gone with a high downforce setup, and Red Bull, unusually for them, with a low downforce one. If it rains for most of the race tomorrow, advantage Mercedes. If it is mostly dry, advantage Red Bull.

    1. I think Red Bull’s hand is a bit forced for Spa as their straight line speed is normally low and they couldn’t have afforded that. But your analysis is more or less right. Tomorrow would be another weather roulette.

  9. In before Vettel swoops past Hamilton on the Kemmel straight lap 1 and disappears into the distance.

    1. Just looking through this, and you nailed it. Spot on @george

  10. I just saw qualifying, and I have to say I don’t know whats the big deal with HAM getting pole, if anything I would be surprised if he didn’t, the Merc is setup for much more downforce than the red-bulls which gives them an advantage in changeable condition, also he was the last to cross the line, anything less than pole would have been under-performing, if anyone was impressive it would be ROS, the two laps he put in towards the end were incredible and much faster than anyone else in the same conditions.

    1. “the two laps he put in towards the end were incredible and much faster than anyone else in the same conditions.”

      Erm no, he set a quick lap in the middle of the session when he had DRS, then it was disabled and noone could match him, then at the end of the session the track was improving, he set a better lap, but then so did everyone else.

      1. he set his fastest lap as the chequered flag came down, he was under the same conditions as everyone else, and was on pole, if VET, WEB and HAM didn’t get another lap he ROS would be on pole

        1. What dont you get?

          Of course he set his quickest lap as chequered came down, the track was getting better at the end, thats why _everyone_ went quicker on their last lap.

          If Vet/Web/Ham didnt get another lap he’d be on pole? rofl, thats like saying if vet/web/hams alarm didnt go off in the morning they’d have still been in bed and Rosberg woulda got pole.

          Rosbergs lap was quicker because he was infront of them on track as the track was getting better, thereore he got ‘first shout’ on best lap, in this game though, ‘last shout’ is more important.

          1. My point is if his team had gotten his timing right and got him another lap he would probably beat HAM, because under the same conditions(before the chquered flag) he was faster, forget it

  11. Check
    the last 35 metres of his pole lap in the link above and you see he backed off. If he seriously thought it was close to pole he surely would have waited for the finish line before he backed off. I think he used to be a ****** but is a genuine and respectful mature guy these days.
    The point at which he slows dow is about three metres behind sixth place starting box where he achieves a top speed of 229 km/h (@ 0.16) and then lifts to coast another 35 metres or so to roll over the finish line at 214km/h.

    1. I forgot the link to the footage in question:

      1. Whoever posted that video obviously wasn’t paying attention to the rest of qualifying or they’d know the timing line at Spa is in the middle of the grid hatchings.

        Watch any video of cars completing their qualifying laps and you’ll see the time pops up as they are halfway across the grid.

        So no, Hamilton didn’t ‘back off’.

        1. Really that is pretty illogical. Why? Also is this just at Spa or other tracks also?

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