Hamilton snatches dramatic Monaco GP pole with record lap - GulfToday

Hamilton snatches dramatic Monaco GP pole with record lap

Lewis-Hamilton

First placed Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton jumps at a fence to greet fans as he celebrates winning the pole position at the Monaco street circuit on Saturday. Agence France-Presse

Lewis Hamilton snatched a dramatic pole position for Sunday’s Monaco Grand Prix with an all-time circuit record lap in the final seconds to outpace Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas by 0.086 seconds.

The defending five-time champion and series leader clocked an unprecedented lap in 1min 10.166sec to end Bottas’ run of three successive poles as Mercedes, mourning the death this week of non-executive chairman Niki Lauda, produced a record-equalling 62nd front row lockout.

It was an emotional Hamilton’s second pole in Monaco and the 84th of his career as he dug deep in the final seconds to find the speed required to grab the prime grid position from his team-mate.

Max Verstappen was third for Red Bull ahead of four-time champion Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari, Pierre Gasly in the second Red Bull and Kevin Magnussen for Haas.

Last year’s race winner Daniel Ricciardo was seventh for Renault ahead of Daniel Kvyat of Toro Rosso, Carlos Sainz of McLaren and Alex Albon in the second Toro Rosso.

Luckless local hero Charles Leclerc qualified 16th after a strategic muddle by Ferrari in the opening Q1 section of qualifying.

Hamilton said he wanted to dedicate his “beautiful” pole-clinching lap at the Monaco Grand Prix to Niki Lauda, who died earlier this week. The emotional defending five-time champion was animated after the session, leaping into catch fencing and shouting on his team radio, before talking to reporters.

“I had to dig deeper than ever,” he said. “I’m so glad I can get that deep. That lap was beautiful. I feel amazing... This is definitely one of the best poles that I can remember.

“Obviously, we’ve had lots of success over the years, but I can’t remember one being like this, especially after a difficult week for the whole team and, personally, a difficult weekend.

“To have a little bit of a cloud over us this weekend and really trying to lift every one up and deliver for Niki.... Valtteri did a sensational job.

“So, I was throwing the car around and I’m pretty sure I touched the barriers a few times -- there’s no other way of doing it here.

“I think today was as close as I could get to it. So, this one’s for Niki...”

Agence France-Presse