Lewis Hamilton takes dominant pole position for Qatar Grand Prix
November 20 2021 , 10:23 pm
Lewis Hamilton set a blistering pace to take pole position for the Qatar Grand Prix by nearly half a second.
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, 14 points ahead of Hamilton in the title race, was 0.455 seconds behind in second.
Hamilton’s team-mate Valtteri Bottas was third, 0.196secs behind Verstappen with Alpha Tauri’s Pierre Gasly fourth ahead of Alpine’s Fernando Alonso.
Verstappen’s team-mate Sergio Perez was only 11th, putting Red Bull at a strategic disadvantage for the race.
I’m very happy with that qualifying session. Yesterday was difficult for me, I wasn’t feeling well on Thursday or Friday and then struggled in practice. So, I had to dig deep, I was here late last night working with the engineers and we found a lot of areas to improve. I felt fantastic today and slept very well last night, which made a big difference. We made some changes for FP3 and it seemed to work, and I was able to carry that into qualifying. That last lap was just beautiful, this track is amazing to drive and very fast, all medium and high-speed corners. In terms of the race, we don’t have much experience at this track, but I don’t think it will be the easiest of circuits to follow. It’s also not massively degrading the tyres so it could be a one or a two stop, we’ll find out tomorrow. It’s a decent run down to Turn 1 and it’s nice and wide, so we’ll be giving it everything.
It’s been a strong weekend for us but of course, I’m a bit disappointed about qualifying. I felt comfortable in the car yesterday, but I’m a bit confused what happened overnight, because I was missing some speed. I struggled quite a bit in qualifying, particularly in Turn 1, where I wasn’t managing to get the tyres ready. We need to have a look into it, but I tried my best and squeezed everything out of the car. Still, it puts me on the clean side of the grid for tomorrow and we have both cars at the front of the pack. I don’t have much to lose and we have options, with two cars against one Red Bull, so normally that’s a good situation to be in. I’m sure it’s going to be a close day tomorrow.
That was a spectacular qualifying session and what a lap by Lewis to take pole. This is the result of the hard work both in the build-up and during the weekend on understanding the car and finding the right set-up at this new track. Lewis found it today, he wasn’t particularly satisfied yesterday but he had a great car in qualifying to put it on pole and he did so in dominant style. Valtteri was happier with the car yesterday and it wasn’t quite in the sweet spot for him, but nevertheless, we can be satisfied with P1 and P3 on the grid, both on the clean side, for tomorrow. Hopefully we’ll take this momentum into the race, we’ve got both of our cars starting at the front, which is a useful result for us, but I’m sure it’s going to be another close one.