Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Albert Park, 2023

Hamilton: Topping the times in qualifying felt “very surreal”

2023 Australian Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton said his brief return to the top of the timing screens during today’s qualifying session felt strange.

The Mercedes driver headed the times during Q3 but was quickly deposed by Max Verstappen.

“Honestly, that felt like a great lap,” said Hamilton. “And it was very, very surreal to see us at the top for a second. Then obviously I saw Max was finishing his lap, so just about lost it.”

The Red Bull driver went on to take pole position while Hamilton claimed third on the grid behind team mate George Russell. Hamilton said he wasn’t able to get the best out of his tyres on his final run.

“The last lap just wasn’t really that great, unfortunately,” he said. “I left plenty of performance on the table just in the sense of I couldn’t get the tyres really working.

“So the second lap was a bit average but I still managed to get it up there for the team and tomorrow I’ll do better.”

Hamilton was unable to prepare for his final lap as he wanted to as he encountered Nico Hulkenberg’s Haas in the final sector. “It definitely was a little bit confusing and definitely wasn’t an optimum way of starting your lap,” he said.

“Normally you need to try and keep pace up in that last sector, but there was a lot going on so it wasn’t as good as the start of the previous lap.”

Having to slow down behind Hulkenberg did compromise his final lap, said Hamilton. “I think we did lack a little bit of temperature, it picked up towards the end of the lap and my last sector I think was a little bit better. But that’s how it goes sometimes.”

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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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    7 comments on “Hamilton: Topping the times in qualifying felt “very surreal””

    1. Surreal? Like, totally? Is it a cultural thing? Something like valspeak? This sort of verbal overdramatising? I mean the guy has 103 pole positions, more than anyone else ever and the last one was just 1.5 years ago… I sincerely wish Lewis to win tomorrow (why not, it’s possible) so i can hear again about the best crowd and the best win ever.

      1. Let’s hope your wish does not come true.what a farce that would be.
        We should be more concerned by the fact that a “drink”manufacturer is beating ;every weekend a 100 year +old car manufacurer(Mercedes)as well as an overpriced sports car brand Ferrari;just to name the two?
        IIt is a total embarassement for Mercedes as well as Ferrari;to still show up and be beat up in such a pity fashion every weekend by a drink manufacturer.
        Toto wolf should have been fired years ago.
        As to Ferrari?I really feel sorry for all the idiots that buy a car (a sport car?)incapable to finish first in any championship for 10?15 years?

        1. The 2018 car was definitely capable to win the constructor’s championship, or even the driver’s championship, blame vettel and his mania to spin, not the car!

      2. Lol.
        You maybe forgot he will have to overtake George, and that will easily be one of the greatest overtakes ever.

      3. Did Hulkeburg do a lap at all or did he just imped Ham?

      4. you must be really angry because he has 103 poles.

      5. Actually wouldn’t mind it either: “we got the best fans here!”, and since it will likely be a 1-off, his fans from the other places will get jealous of australian ones for becoming second best!

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