Hamilton bemoans "p*ss-poor" final qualifying lap that hands Bottas pole at Imola
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton was left to lament what he described as "a p*ss-poor" final qualifying lap after seeing pole position for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix snatched away at the death by Valtteri Bottas.
The championship leader looked to have sealed top spot on the grid after improving on a time that was already good enough for pole, only for Bottas to reverse the roles of last weekend's Portuguese Grand Prix qualifying and steal position after the chequered flag.
Although Hamilton conceded his lap was not perfect, he praised the incredible performance of Mercedes at Imola after out-qualifying Max Verstappen by almost six-tenths of a second.
"Valtteri did a great job and it was a p*ss-poor lap for myself," said Hamilton. "These things happen, you can't always get it perfect.
"But what a beautiful place we are in and the track is unbelievable, the speeds going around this track, so grateful to be here, grateful that we have the performance we have which is really remarkable.
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"It feels better here than it was in the last race. It was a real challenge out there but I enjoyed it."
In the single practice session, with Imola playing host to a two-day weekend trial, Red Bull looked competitive and ready to challenge Mercedes.
Although Verstappen dropped back in qualifying, Hamilton expects the pace differential to close during the race, albeit at a circuit he feels where overtaking will be at a premium.
"[Red Bull] were very strong on their race runs," added Hamilton. "What is unfortunate with this track, is it is beautiful to drive, but I am pretty certain you will see a pretty boring race tomorrow. You can overtake on the straight but it is pretty narrow.
"Once you get into turn one, it is a train from there. There is no place to overtake from there. So it is going to be a challenge for people following but the DRS, hopefully, will give some opportunities into turn one for people.
"For us, that means that, as you saw, we are within half-a-tenth of each other. So to have an opportunity to overtake I need to gain two seconds or something to the car ahead to have a chance. Nonetheless, I will give it everything I have."
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