Lewis Hamilton said he was out to “just have fun” in qualifying after taking his tenth pole position of the season ahead of Sunday’s Bahrain Grand Prix.
The Mercedes driver said he felt “released” after securing his seventh world title in Turkey but admitted he is still searching for the perfect lap despite finishing three tenths ahead of team-mate Valterri Bottas.
“I came today and I was like ‘let's just have fun, let’s enjoy’,” he said. “That’s the most important thing is to enjoy what you’re doing. With the pressure a little bit off it’s a bit of a release to go and drive like I did there today.
“I am on the ragged edge and it’s all about trying to find that perfect balance. You want to take a lot on the way in and keep the exit, you want your cake and eat it. It’s about chipping away at it on the lap.
“It was a very clean lap, I generally staged around 2.5 tenths up, so I was really happy with it.”
Hamilton has been on form all weekend, dominating Friday in both practice sessions and only narrowly being out-paced on Saturday morning.
It was the 98th pole position of his career, his third pole in Bahrain and the 11th front-row lockout of the season for Mercedes.
Bottas was baffled, however, by his lack of pace and said: “It felt good, that’s the problem when it feels good and you’re extracting everything from the car but the lap time isn’t there, that’s the confusing part.
“There were no mistakes, the last lap I thought it was really good. It was small things here and there, there was not one clear corner, but at least it's another front-row lockout for us.”
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