Lewis Hamilton says it was important for him to gain a good result in qualifying for the Belgian Grand Prix after his engineers worked tirelessly to make sure his car could even compete in Q1 after a crash in the last practice session.
It hasn’t been a routine weekend so far for the championship leader, who only completed a handful of laps in FP1, before crashing out of FP3 completely in the Saturday morning before qualifying.
Hamilton’s engineers were still fixing his car in the moments preceding the start of Q1, and he was full of praise for their efforts after finishing third in Q3.
“P3 was a terrible session for me,” he said on the track in Spa.
“It's painful because you know how many people work so hard to build those parts, and how hard the guys work to put the car together, and I knew that was going to be a tough challenge.
“My guys are just faultless. They always work and give 110% and I'm so grateful for that. I was just trying to pay them back with a good qualifying session. So, considering I missed all of P3, and a lot of P1 actually, I'm grateful to be up here.”
In Q3, drivers trying to take advantage of slipstreams ahead by purposefully staying behind other cars led to a batch of traffic. However, Hamilton isn’t using that as an excuse for not finishing first, saying Leclerc deserved pole, even though he was forced to slam on the brakes behind team-mate Valtteri Bottas.
“That was a bit slow. Obviously [Bottas] - he was trying to keep tow with the car in front, so I was trying to hold behind him and everyone was behind me,” he explained.
“But, nonetheless, Ferrari have done a great job today. Charles did an exceptional job.”
Hamilton has won eight out of the 12 races in the 2019 season and currently leads the drivers’ championship ahead of Bottas in second.
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