Lewis Hamilton became the first Formula One driver to score 100 pole positions ahead of Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix.
Hamilton out-paced title rival Max Verstappen by just 0.036s at Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya to reach the landmark.
Hamilton is completely unmatched in this category. The next nearest number of career pole positions was 68, set by Michael Schumacher, who surpassed Ayrton Senna’s 65 in 2006.
Hamilton has scored a pole position in each of his 15 Formula One seasons, which is also the case for race victories.
After the session, Hamilton let out an ecstatic cry of “Yes” over his radio, and later said the emotions he felt with the 100th pole felt like his first, which he claimed at the 2007 Canadian Grand Prix.
“Oh wow,” he said. “I can’t believe we’re at 100.
“It’s really down to the men and women who are back at the factory who are continuously raising the bar and just never giving up. The support that I have… it’s been a dream for me to work with these guys. The journey that we’ve been on has been immense.
“Who would have thought in 2013… or at the end of 2012 when we made the decision to partner, we would be qualifying at 100. I feel very humbled, very grateful. I’m ecstatic – like it’s my first!”
The seven-time world champion had appeared to be on the back foot until the final qualifying session, where he pulled out a lap of 1:16.741.
Verstappen and Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate, Valtteri Bottas, were unable to improve on their second and final attempts
Speaking on Saturday afternoon, he revealed he had been anxious about the car set-up decision he had made, one he instantly regretted when he struggled at the beginning of qualifying.
“I made some changes… I had a bit of anxiety about the changes we were potentially going to make for qualifying. You always try and make the car better. It’s a bit of a gamble because you’ve also got to keep the race in mind also.
“Anyway, we made this change and as soon as we got out I was like ‘this is immediately the wrong one’. It was my call at the end but it was really hard, but that’s why I was behind all qualifying. I was making small tweaks here and there to try and elevate pace-wise.
“The first lap was the best lap that I got through the whole session, which was great. I tried to improve the next lap – I think I was a tenth and a half up, but I couldn’t keep it.
“The set up I had, I had so much understeer. The car was very lazy, wouldn’t turn round the corners the way I’d want. Was waiting, waiting, waiting, so I made little adjustments within what we were able to change in order to get the car to turn. That’s a combination of many things. It’s just pulling every millisecond together. It was my cleanest lap – I will always remember that one.
Hamilton and Verstappen, 23, are already engaged in a close championship fight. After three races, Hamilton leads the Dutchman by eight points.
While Hamilton is looking to win a record eighth world championship this season, Verstappen is looking for his first.
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