Hamilton "just wanted clean air" despite tow advantage

Lewis Hamilton was determined he "just wanted clean air" to blitz Formula 1 qualifying at the Belgian Grand Prix, despite acknowledging a "small gain" from getting a tow at Spa.

Hamilton "just wanted clean air" despite tow advantage
Listen to this article

Hamilton ran at the head of the pack on both of the Q3 flying efforts, setting a new lap record each time as he stormed to his sixth pole at the track, with Valtteri Bottas second ahead of Max Verstappen.

Other teams opted to position their cars in the pack of try and gain the advantage of a tow – Verstappen said "For us it was all about trying to get a little bit of a tow to have a bit of top speed" – which led to drivers backing up heavily before starting their timed laps.

Hamilton explained that avoiding that chaos, which had an impact on tyre temperature at the start of the next lap, was an important consideration ahead of his run to a 93rd career pole.

"From weekend to weekend, Valtteri and I have a choice – one weekend it's his choice to go first or second and others it's mine – and this weekend it was my choice," he said, when asked about his decision to run clear of the pack by Motorsport.com.

"I decided to go first and I just wanted to be out in the clear and not have to back up behind people in the last corner. And I just wanted clean air in front of me – I think it worked.

"There's a potentially a small gain from being in the tow, but then there's equally a potential danger of being caught behind someone, someone making a mistake and causing a yellow flag ahead of you – all sorts.

"I just made sure I was clear of that so I could pull out the best lap I could do."

Hamilton told the TV cameras after he climbed from his W11 after qualifying that he had "studied" the option of getting a tow but decided against trying to get one.

"I wanted to be out in clean air, not having to worry about people up ahead of me giving the gap in the last corner, wondering where there's more than eight seconds," he said.

"Because you are still getting a tow from someone at seven seconds behind and I didn't want anything coming in my way so it worked out."

Hamilton also said his efforts against the clock on Saturday led resulted in "one of the cleanest qualifying sessions I think I've ever had".

"Just every lap was bang on the dot and no mistakes, no real issues," he added. "Q3 is always a hard on because you want to get the first lap, and the first lap was great.

"I thought it was pretty much a perfect lap and the I managed to go out and find a little bit more in a couple of other areas.

"It was nice to have that gap – six tenths I think [over Bottas, who lost time at the exit of La Source] – in the first laps [as] then I could really explore in that next run to try and take even more of a risk.

"[A] phenomenal feeling driving round this track because it's incredible how fast it's become."

shares
comments

Related video

Verstappen thinks running out of energy didn't cost him P2
Previous article

Verstappen thinks running out of energy didn't cost him P2

Next article

Albon welcomes "more predictable" Red Bull F1 car

Albon welcomes "more predictable" Red Bull F1 car
Why is Oscar Piastri F1's most sought-after rookie? Prime

Why is Oscar Piastri F1's most sought-after rookie?

The Australian rising star is fast, consistent, confident, adaptable and has shown excellent racecraft, but there’s already a taint to his reputation. That hasn’t stopped him becoming the hottest property in this year’s F1 driver market and why McLaren moved fast to snap up the 21-year-old

Formula 1
Sep 30, 2022
The unintended benefit that F1's new engine rules era will deliver Prime

The unintended benefit that F1's new engine rules era will deliver

Formula 1's incoming engine rules shake-up has multiple targets. But it may also solve what has been a bone of contention since the hybrids arrived in 2014. The new plan will allow the series to pump up the volume

Formula 1
Sep 29, 2022
How de Vries made himself impossible to ignore for a belated F1 chance Prime

How de Vries made himself impossible to ignore for a belated F1 chance

Nyck de Vries appeared to have missed his opportunity to break into Formula 1 as he was passed over for more exciting talents who have now become frontrunners and title fighters. But after catching the eye outside of the F1 sphere, before his stunning impromptu grand prix debut in Italy, will it lead to a delayed full-time race seat?

Formula 1
Sep 29, 2022
Can Hamilton produce another Singapore magic moment? Prime

Can Hamilton produce another Singapore magic moment?

The Singapore Grand Prix has, explains Ben Edwards, played an important role in Lewis Hamilton’s Formula 1 career. As the series returns to the Marina Bay Street Circuit for the first time in three years, he faces the latest challenge with an underperforming Mercedes car.

Formula 1
Sep 28, 2022
Why Sainz is key to Ferrari achieving its chairman's F1 goals Prime

Why Sainz is key to Ferrari achieving its chairman's F1 goals

Although Ferrari's chances of title glory in 2022 have evaporated, chairman John Elkann expects the team to have chalked up both championships by 2026. Both require drivers to play the team game and, having now become more comfortable with the F1-75, Carlos Sainz may be Ferrari's key to title glory

Formula 1
Sep 27, 2022
How its faltering first turbo car advanced a Williams-Honda glory era Prime

How its faltering first turbo car advanced a Williams-Honda glory era

Stuart Codling charts the development of the Williams FW09, the ugly duckling that heralded the start of the title-winning Williams-Honda partnership

Formula 1
Sep 25, 2022
The Moss-Ferrari farce that current F1 drivers are thankfully spared Prime

The Moss-Ferrari farce that current F1 drivers are thankfully spared

Recent moves within the driver market have reminded Maurce Hamilton of a time when contracts weren’t worth the paper they weren’t written on…

Formula 1
Sep 24, 2022
The seven factors powering Verstappen's 2022 F1 domination Prime

The seven factors powering Verstappen's 2022 F1 domination

After a tooth and nail and, at times, toxic Formula 1 world championship scrap last year, Max Verstappen's march to a second consecutive title has been the exact opposite. But has he really changed in 2022? Here's a dive into what factors have played a crucial role, both inside the Verstappen camp and elsewhere, in the Dutch driver's domination.

Formula 1
Sep 23, 2022