Lewis Hamilton Feels Confident He “in a good position” for 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

(Image credit: LAT Images)

Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton is confident that he is “in a good position” to secure an eighth Formula One title, despite missing out on pole position for 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Hamilton topped FP3 ahead of Verstappen but it was his title rival who claimed pole position by 0.371s, although Verstappen must start on the higher-degradable soft tyres after setting his fastest Q2 time on the softs following a flat-spot on his mediums.

Praising Verstappen for his “great lap” albeit aided by a “fantastic” tow from Sergio Perez, Hamilton felt that he just wasn’t able to match that lap time but feels that he is “in a good position,” by escaping Q2 on the medium tyres and is hopeful that he “can have a good race.”

Explaining what went wrong in Q3, Hamilton commented: “On the first lap of Q3, I dropped a bit of time in the last corner and Turn 5, but my final lap was nice and clean, I just couldn’t go any quicker.

I don’t know if it’s tyre prep or whatever it may be, in terms of the out lap, but nonetheless I couldn’t beat that time so he deserved the pole.”

Hamilton though is pleased to be on the front row and doesn’t have the worry of where Verstappen is lurking, as he added; “I’m still on the front row for tomorrow, with the tyre difference and I’m grateful I can see where he is, so we can try and navigate from there.”

Valtteri Bottas meanwhile qualified sixth on the grid and the outgoing Finnish driver admitted that he “was hoping for more,” despite bringing his time at Mercedes to a close with a 100% Q3 record since joining in 2017 as he prepares to join Alfa Romeo in 2022.

Bottas though is confident that he can enjoy a positive race as he said; “My setup was definitely more focused on the race rather than Quali so as the grip levels increased, I couldn’t improve my times and hit a bit of a limit. I’m happy with my setup for tomorrow which should make it exciting.”

Bottas also will start on the medium tyres which he believes “opens up different strategy options” in going long in his first stint, whereas Verstappen and Perez won’t be able to do so which Bottas hopes will create “an interesting race.”

Mercedes Team Principal, Toto Wolff meanwhile added that Verstappen simply found his tyres “in the perfect window” with a tow that simply “functioned flawlessly” to give him pole ahead of Hamilton, although he added that he is “happy” with a medium tyre start.

Wolff proceeded to explain that his team will relish the fight as he commented; “We are on the back foot and sometimes that’s not bad as a starting point. Lewis will be super motivated for tomorrow and just go hunting, as always.

“For Valtteri, the gap between P3 and P6 was all within a tenth so its unfortunate he’ll be starting in that gaggle but he just needs to make it through the first lap or two, and get back up.”

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