Sports Desk, Nov 28 (efe-epa).- Despite having a seventh Formula One championship in the bag, Lewis Hamilton showed Saturday that he has no intention of resting on his laurels, storming to pole position in qualifying for the Bahrain Grand Prix.
The Briton, who matched German icon Michael Schumacher’s seven titles with a win two weeks ago in the Turkish Grand Prix, extended his own record for most poles in F1 to 98.
“You know I came today and I was like, ‘let’s just have fun and enjoy’ and that’s the most important thing, to enjoy what you’re doing, and with the pressure a little bit off, it’s a bit of a release to go and drive like I just did,” the 35-year-old Hamilton said after grabbing pole position with a time of 1:27.264.
Starting from P2 on Sunday will be his Mercedes teammate, Valtteri Bottas, a mere 0.125 seconds faster than Dutchman Max Verstappen (Red Bull), who trails the Finn by just 27 points in the battle for second place in the driver standings.
Thai driver Alex Albon (Red Bull) went a long way toward redeeming himself after an embarrassing and expensive crack-up in practice on Friday by qualifying fourth.
The third row will be occupied Sunday by Mexico’s Sergio “Checo” Perez (Racing Point) and Australian Daniel Ricciardo (Renault), whose French teammate, Esteban Ocon, took P7.
Briton Lando Norris (McLaren) claimed the ninth spot, between AlphaTauri drivers Pierre Gasly of France and Daniil Kvyat of Russia.
Ferrari’s dismal season continued, as neither Monaco’s Charles Leclerc nor four-time German world champion Sebastian Vettel made it into Q3.
It was also a disappointing day for the man who will be replacing Vettel – winner of the Bahrain Grand Prix on four occasions – with the Scuderia next season, Spaniard Carlos Sainz, who was unable to complete Q2 due to technical problems with his McLaren.
The driver will compete in 2021 for Racing Point (to be rechristened Aston Martin), taking the seat of Checo Perez.
Though Perez, who was excluded from two events because of a positive Covid-19 test, is the only driver besides Hamilton to have pointed in each of his races this season, the Mexican has yet to secure a ride in F1 for 2021 and has promised an announcement about his future on Monday.
Checo was second in the Turkish Grand Prix and is among only a handful of drivers not named Hamilton, Bottas or Verstappen to finish on the podium in the current campaign. EFE arh/dr