Japanese Grand Prix – Lewis Hamilton was full of praise for Mercedes’ tyre call during the final part of qualifying, which earned him his 80th Formula One pole position.
With Mercedes looking like the fastest team ahead of qualifying, Hamilton and team-mate Vallteri Bottas were in a battle of their own as Ferrari’s decision to run the intermediate tyres backfired.
That battle was won by Hamilton, who took his 80th Formula One pole position, extending his lead at the top of the all-time pole positions list.
Speaking after qualifying, Hamilton praised the team’s decision-making and operational effectiveness, which gave him the opportunity to compete for pole.
“The team have done an amazing job this weekend, and the call that we made to go out for Q3, which is probably the most difficult call – you saw all of us fumbling and kind of trying to figure out what to do – the team just were spot on with it and gave us the opportunity to grab this pole position.
“While it was a bit of an anti-climax, because we didn’t get to do the last lap, it’s still… it’s my 80th, I can’t believe I have 80, and I couldn’t have done it without the team. We worked so hard on this car to refine it, to improve it in all areas. And even in ourselves, and how we function, the processes that we go through, our communication, everything.
“It is so difficult out there to make the right call but I think that’s another real big difference that we as a team have made this year. Every team has smart people but ultimately, when it comes to being under pressure, making the right decisions, the right calls, that’s why we are the best team in the world. And rightly so, they deserve that.
“And so, it’s really just such an honour to race for this team, for the guys and I’m just so thankful. Big, big thank you to everyone back at the factory. I’m so proud to be on this journey with them. I never in a million years thought I would get to 80.”