100 times Hamilton: Briton sets hundredth career pole in Spain, followed by Verstappen and Bottas

A 1:16s741 lap time earned the Mercedes driver another historic milestone: “I’m ecstatic! It’s like my first”

By Yuri Coghe
“I can’t believe we’re at 100,” Hamilton said in the post-session interview (Photo: F1/Twitter)

Lewis Hamilton has reached another huge career milestone in the qualifying session for the 2021 Spanish Grand Prix on Saturday. The Briton has set the pole position for the hundredth time in his career, followed by championship rival Max Verstappen and teammate Valtteri Bottas.

The seven-time world champion, who broke Michael Schumacher’s record for most all-time poles in Monza in 2017, has now since then added another 31 poles to his name with the 1:16s741 lap time set in Barcelona.

“I can’t believe we’re at 100, Hamilton said in the post-session interview. “It’s down to the men and women back at the factory, it’s been a dream to work with these guys. Who would have thought at the end of 2012 we’d be at 100. I’m ecstatic! It’s like my first.”

The top 3 order was established midway through the Q3 and remained unchanged as the three drivers couldn’t improve on their lap times on their final runs.

“Second for us here on this track is good for us. I can be happy with that,” said Verstappen, who finished 0s036 slower than the Briton.

“That was close,” said Bottas, 0s132 slower than his teammate. “(I was) definitely in for the battle for pole. I think it’s going to be very close between us and Red Bull in the race.”

Sergio Pérez spun early in the Q3 and probably won’t be happy with his end result as well. The Mexican improved all his sectors in his final go but was still only able to take his Red Bull to eight.

Ferrari, on the other hand, enjoyed a great session and edge both McLarens. The two teams are the strongest contenders for third in the constructors’ championship. Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz Jr. will start the Spanish Grand Prix on P4 and P6, with Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris coming seventh and ninth.

Lance Stroll missed out on a Q1 spot by 0s008 but managed to outqualify teammate Sebastian Vettel for the third time this season. The German will start the Spanish Grand Prix two positions behind the Canadian.

Both Alpines look set to build off from the improvement in pace seen at the Portuguese Grand Prix last Sunday, with Esteban Ocon starting fifth, five positions ahead of teammate Fernando Alonso.

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Bottom of the grid

The Q1 saw an incredibly tight timesheet with only 0s550 separating the second-fastest time from the 16th. A lot of drivers set their personal bests late in the session, including leader Lando Norris, who skyrocketed from 15th to first with a 1.17s821 lap time.

Yuki Tsunoda and Kimi Raikkonen will start 16 and 17th on Sunday. The Finn managed to improve his lap time late but it still wasn’t enough. His Alfa Romeo teammate made it to Q2 and will start the race on P14.

The Japanese driver enjoyed a great point-finish performance in his F1 debut in Bahrain and has failed to impress ever since. This time, he made a mistake on turn 9 and was knocked out in Q1, complaining about the car on team radio later. His AlphaTauri teammate, who finished the first part of the session in fifth place, will start 12th on Sunday.

The usual trio of Mick Schumacher, 18th, Nicholas Latifi, 19th, and Nikita Mazepin, 20th, completed the grid. George Russell, the Canadian’s teammate on Williams, made it to yet another Q2 as he continues to show why he has earned the ‘Mr. Saturday’ nickname. He’ll start 15th.

The Spanish Grand Prix, the fourth round of the 2021 Formula 1 season, is set for 9 AM Eastern Time on Sunday.

See the full qualifying results below:

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