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The pole position fight came down to the wire, as Hamilton beat Max Verstappen by just three thousandths of a second in the last flying lap of the session. That came despite a slide in the last corner, which almost cost him the top spot.
Hamilton on pole: The stats
The seven-time champion has not started from pole position since the 2021 Saudi Arabia Grand Prix, which also is still the last race he has won to this day. Mercedes have taken one more pole position since that day, coincidentally in Hungary last year with George Russell.
The Hungaroring has been a circuit where Hamilton has historically excelled, with nine pole positions and eight race wins to his name. His record at the twisty circuit includes a victory in the underperforming McLaren MP4-24 in 2009, as well as his first victory with Mercedes in 2013, his only one that season.
Last season, Hamilton started seventh but finished second in the race, in what was one of his best showings of the season. This year, he is chasing his first victory and this should be one of his best opportunities.
Mercedes is also hoping to be the first team to beat Red Bull in 2023, as the Austrian outfit has won all ten races so far. In fact, it has not been beaten since last season’s Brazilian Grand Prix, when George Russell claimed his maiden victory.
— Lewis Hamilton (@LewisHamilton) July 22, 2023
Hamilton on pole: What the Brit had to say
Speaking to Danica Patrick after qualifying, Lewis Hamilton talked about his emotions after an unexpected and brilliant pole position.
It has been a crazy year and a half! I’ve lost my voice from shouting so much in the car! It is amazing, that feeling. I feel so grateful to be up here because the team have worked so hard.
We’ve been pushing so hard over this time, so to finally get the pole… It just feels like the first time.
Wow. I didn’t expect coming here today that we would be fighting for pole. When it came down to that last run, I gave it absolutely everything, there was nothing left in it.
It has been massively challenging for every single person in the team. There have been ups and downs, it has been a big rollercoaster ride.
But none of us have lost faith, we are united together, we are focusing to steer the car into the right direction.
Today we were losing so much in Turns 4 and 11 compared to the others, so I just sent it and hoped I would stay on track.
But it has been tough, and it will continue to be tough moving forward. Hopefully this shows we are on the right track and we can do it if we just keep pushing.
It was a contrasting session for the Mercedes drivers, as George Russell will start down in eighteenth, after an equally surprising Q1 exit, which was caused by bad traffic management in the closing stages of the session.
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