Lewis Hamilton: “We were faster than I expected”

Lewis Hamilton admits he was surprised to be fast enough to beat Red Bull to pole in Abu Dhabi, and has no explanation for McLaren’s pace given that there are no updates on the car.

Hamilton’s first run in Q3 was good enough to take pole, and he was able to abort his final effort and save a bit of tyre life.

“No, I don’t know,” said Hamilton when asked about McLaren’s resurgence. “The car’s been feeling fantastic all weekend. We haven’t come with upgrade packages, we haven’t got any – we’re always modifying small, little wings but it does very, very little.

“But the car’s felt great from the get-go this weekend and done some fine tuning and every now and then you’re fortunate enough to make the right change and it feels even better, which it did. So, I didn’t really have to change too much going into qualifying. Actually I didn’t change anything going into qualifying from P3. That lap felt fantastic.

“The next lap I was up a little bit, I think I was up a tenth or so, and then I lost it. I had no idea I’d done a good lap, so it was just about going completely over the line and seeing if you can get something – but it didn’t work.”

Hamilton said he thought the Red Bulls would be faster.

“They were slower than I expected but we were faster than I expected as well. Mark did a great lap as well – what’s the margin, it is three tenths? I knew that they were very, very quick but I would never have imagined being this far ahead of them.

“But I did do a really, really good lap, very happy with the lap. I thought that we would be a match or slightly slower than them this weekend and it’s a blessing in disguise to be ahead of them.”

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