Lewis Hamilton said Mercedes’ sweep of the front row for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix was a “great result” for the team after they encountered difficulties with their tyres on Saturday.Jeddah Corniche Circuit, Hamilton was beaten to the quickest time in final practice by his championship rival Max Verstappen.
The Red Bull driver put up a fight throughout qualifying, was quickest on his first run in Q3 and on course to take pole position until he crashed at the final corner. Hamilton, who had complained about his tyre performance earlier in the session, pipped him to claim his fifth pole position of the season, followed by team mate Valtteri Bottas.
“We were quick all through practice but for some reason in FP3 and particularly qualifying, [we were] just lacking pace, struggling with the tyres,” said Hamilton.
“So for us to get a one-two, I’m really proud of Valtteri and the guys, the men and women in our team who’ve just been working so hard. So yeah, this is a great result.
“The collaboration has been just epic with Valtteri,” added Hamilton. “He’s the best team mate there’s ever been in the sport, for sure, and we’ve worked together to work on the set up, get the car to where it needs to be.”
While Mercedes were expected to be the team to beat in Jeddah, Red Bull have been closer to their pace. “Those guys were just so fast,” said Hamilton. “The Red Bull around this track is something else.
“But given where we are, I’m grateful for what we managed to pull out with what we have.”
He expects a close fight between the two teams in the race. “We always get closer in race pace,” said Hamilton. “I think my long run was good yesterday, but they’ve obviously fixed something, whatever set-up yesterday and they’re rapid today.
“So I anticipate there’ll be a close battle through tomorrow, but Valtteri and I will be on it.”
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2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix
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