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Hamilton: Qualifying hasn't been good enough in 2019

Hamilton: Qualifying hasn't been good enough in 2019

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Hamilton: Qualifying hasn't been good enough in 2019

Hamilton: Qualifying hasn't been good enough in 2019

Lewis Hamilton admits he has not hit his usual standards in qualifying in 2019, after signing off for the season with a fifth pole position of the year at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

This season would have left Hamilton with his worst return in qualifying since joining Mercedes had he not secured P1 at the Yas Marina Circuit, the drivers' champion doing so with a new lap record time.

Hamilton had not taken pole position in nine races – his worst run as a Mercedes driver – before the final weekend of the season, where he has racked up a 88th career pole, now 20 clear of Michael Schumacher on the all-time list.

The previous Hamilton pole had come in Germany, where he was suffering from illness, leaving the Bruton somewhat bemused as to how he has managed to take as many qualifying wins as he has done.

He said: "It feels longer than the German Grand Prix and, if I'm really honest, I don't even understand how I got the German Grand Prix pole!

"It's been really hard because you come back from the break, and the competition's been spectacular, all the drivers have been doing an amazing job.

"I don't think my qualifying has been terrible, but it's just not been at my usual standard perhaps. Of course it is incredibly satisfying to know that we put the work in.

"Honestly [88 poles] it's really strange, it honestly feels like the first. I don't know why. It feels super fresh, maybe because it's been so long since earlier on in season.

"I'm well aware that you can't win them all and I've been extremely fortunate and done a relatively decent job over the years.

"I think it's just understanding the car and ultimately just squeezing out the best, not overdriving, not underdriving, trying to find the right balance throughout the year."

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