Pole position 65 was a very special milestone for Lewis Hamilton, equalling the career total of the legendary Ayrton Senna. Here he speaks in detail about a very special qualifying lap…
Lewis: It was a sexy lap!
Q: Sixth career pole position here in Montreal. That was an exceptional lap…
Lewis HAMILTON: I’m so happy! Montreal's been good to me over the years; it was a close battle with the Ferraris, they were so quick. They’ve been quick all year, but I was gunning, I was pushing -- I’ve got great support out here and I just wanted to give them a good lap.
Q: The first flyer in Q3 was exceptional. The second almost defied belief. What a lap!
LH: It was a sexy lap! It was a great lap. I can’t believe it came together so well -- the first section was fantastic and I just managed to be a little bit up on each one. The team did a fantastic job to learn from our mistakes in the last race and really build up for this race, so I owe it all to them. To everyone back at the factory, a big thank you.
Q: Lewis, today you equalled your great hero Ayrton Senna to go second of all-time in pole positions. The Senna family wanted to give you something to congratulate you on equalling Ayrton’s record. It’s not a replica, it’s race-worn. From your hero, to you. Lewis, you’ve had a few emotions in Formula One. How does that one rank?
LH: I’m shaking. I’m speechless. Ayrton… I know for many of you he was your favourite driver. It was the same for me – he was the one who inspired me to be where I am today. To match him, and to receive this, is the greatest honour. A big, big thank you to the Senna family, and to everyone here. God bless you all.
Lewis: The lap just started perfectly
Q: Can you tell us a little bit about that lap in detail and where you found it from?
LH: Working the ultrasoft tyre for the first lap is not easy, and obviously that’s been an issue in the past and it’s something I’ve been working very hard to make sure I fully understood and how to capitalise on the use of the tyre. Today was the day that I needed to do that – I knew that number 65 was there in the waiting, I knew that Montreal has been a beautiful place and a beautiful home for me in the many years since my first win here.
So I was like ‘if I’m going to get a pole, get that special pole, if anywhere it’s going to be here. Of course, you go into your last lap and you can’t imagine it. You can only hope and imagine it’s going to go well, but often it doesn’t.
The lap just started perfectly on the exit of the last corner; I built it on the foundations I had already set on the previous lap. Very smooth, no mistakes, just a little bit up everywhere. And then the last part was in the last corner, which has always been a strength of mine throughout my time here. And an incredible reception from the fans, so a big thank you to them.
Lewis: It’s really hard to remember every single pole
Q: Lewis, you said that was a near-perfect lap. Obviously 65 is a lot of pole positions – but is this one of your best, or maybe even your best?
LH: If I’m really honest it’s really hard to remember every single pole. They’ve all been special and unique in their own way, and I think being that it’s hard to remember them, it also feels like it’s the first time. Honestly, coming across that line, almost holding your breathe, hoping, fingers crossed, waiting, knowing that Sebastian was still on a lap, Valtteri was still on a lap, not sure. It was a good lap but you don’t want to get your hopes too much up because you’ll be disappointed if they do a better lap – but in the intensity of the moment, I don’t really recall having as intense a moment, in terms of this battle that we’re having I would like to think that it is one of the best, yeah. And being that it is equalling Ayrton as well, makes it a little bit more special.
Q: Given that the two of you are so close in every way this year, what sort of race are you expecting tomorrow? Is it one of those races that’s going to go down to the last lap?
LH: I believe it will, being that we are so close. Ferrari have great single lap pace but very, very strong always, as they have shown in the races. It was a close battle last year between us and I can only imagine that tomorrow it’s going to be pushing all the way to the end. It’s definitely going to be a good one. I’m excited about it.