Last year’s transition to ground-effect cars saw Hamilton and Mercedes entering an uncharacteristic lean streak. The seven-time world champion hadn’t secured a win since 2021, and had to endure a wait of 33 races before triumphantly returning to pole position.
After a less than satisfying practice on Friday, where Hamilton described his car as being “at its worst”, he made a comeback, leading the FP3 on Saturday morning. He then secured a narrow win over Max Verstappen by a margin of only 0.003 seconds during his final lap of Q3, marking his 104th career pole.
During his post-qualifying interview at parc ferme, Hamilton confessed to his surprise at being in pole position contention, adding he gave everything he had for the final lap.
“The past year and a half has been wild,” he said. “I’ve shouted so much in the car that I’ve lost my voice. The feeling is amazing, and I’m so grateful to be here, thanks to my team’s hard work.”
He likened this victory to his very first pole position, saying, “After working so hard for this, it truly feels like the first time.”
Hamilton expressed his gratitude towards the enthusiastic fans in Budapest. “We didn’t anticipate fighting for the pole today. I poured every ounce of energy into that last run and there was nothing left.”
Photo by: Michael Potts / F1 Flow Images
Reflecting on the challenging year and a half that he and his team endured, Hamilton acknowledged that the struggle is likely to continue after Hungary.
“It’s been a roller coaster ride,” he admitted. “But despite the challenges, we’ve remained united and focused on guiding the car in the right direction.”
Despite losing time in Turns four and 11, Hamilton went all in, hoping to keep the car on track. He believes this victory signifies they’re on the right path, provided they maintain their momentum.
Even with the recent triumph, Hamilton remains realistic about the challenges of the upcoming race.
“Tomorrow, we’ll study as much as we can. As a team, we’ll be at our best. It’s going to be a challenge to fight against Verstappen and the third-placed Lando Norris,” he said, also acknowledging Norris’s stellar performance and Verstappen’s constant threat.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Hamilton’s Hungary F1 Pole
When was the last time Hamilton won a race before his latest pole position?
Hamilton had not secured a win since 2021, and had to wait for 33 races before he could once again qualify on pole.
Why was Hamilton surprised about earning the pole position?
Hamilton did not anticipate being in contention for the pole position, particularly as he had been struggling with his car’s performance during the practice session prior to the race.
What were the unique challenges Hamilton and his team faced during this period?
Hamilton and his team faced a challenging period following the switch to ground-effect cars. They also lost time in Turns four and 11 compared to the other racers, adding to their challenges.
How did Hamilton describe the feeling of his latest pole position win?
Hamilton described the feeling as amazing and likened it to the excitement of his very first win. He expressed his gratitude towards his team for their hard work and determination.
What are Hamilton’s expectations for the upcoming race?
Despite his latest triumph, Hamilton remains realistic about the challenges of the upcoming race. He plans to study as much as he can and bring his A game, acknowledging the competitive prowess of Verstappen and third-placed Lando Norris.