Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport Toto Wolff was full of praise for the team on an impressive afternoon, but is expecting a big fight with the red cars come Sunday.
“I’m very pleased indeed with how the team has worked this weekend,” said Toto. “We have improved the car from session to session, made good decisions with the set-up and, with a sensational lap from Lewis on top, pole is the reward.
“We spent the first half of qualifying working out which timed lap was the optimum for tyre performance and, in the end, settled on the first timed lap.
“It was all on the line for Lewis in that final run, so to find three tenths was very impressive; it takes him to a very significant milestone in his career, level with Ayrton Senna in terms of pole positions, which I know means a lot to him. For Valtteri, third on the grid is a strong starting position but he wasn’t as comfortable with the car today.
“It was very closely matched with Ferrari and I’m sure we will see more of the same tomorrow. I am always the skeptic when it comes to making predictions – but that’s the mind-set we need to cover all the bases tonight and have a strong race.”