Lewis Hamilton continues to break records in Formula One. The 8th of May 2021 will go down in history as the seven-time World Champion secured his 100th pole position at the Circuit de Catalunya.
Hamilton described reaching the landmark number as ''crazy'' when speaking after qualifying.
“The 100-mark is something that I don’t think anybody, particularly me, thought I’d get to that number,” he said.
100 POLES! I can’t even begin to describe how this feels. I can’t thank the team and everyone back at the factory enough for everything they’ve done to help us secure this incredible milestone. I feel so humbled and very grateful. This feels like my first win all over again 🙌🏾💯 pic.twitter.com/KkCgShdhq2— Lewis Hamilton (@LewisHamilton) May 8, 2021
“It’s crazy that it is 100 and it felt like one of the first. And that for me makes it even more special because there have been so many qualifying sessions, so many mistakes, so many near misses, so many moments of growth.
“And I love how close it is between us all. I think that’s great for the fans and also for the people who are just behind us.”
“I think it was a great lap, and I think it’s the journey… sometimes you start qualifying and you’re quick from the get-go and have the right balance, and then it’s really just down to doing the right job.
The four-time defending champion admitted to struggling with the balance following changes after FP3 heading into qualifying. Pole did seem unlikely for the Brit as he was 0.2s slower than Bottas in Q1 and main title rival Max Verstappen in Q2.
However, like he has done many times in the past, Hamilton pulled it out when it mattered most and delivered a scorching 1:16.741 in Q3 to beat Verstappen to pole by 0.036s.
“I didn’t have the right balance and I was behind, no matter the changes I was making - still slightly behind, still not quite there. So I was making these changes and hoping that by Q3 this is all I got so make the best of it.
“I just had so much understeer, the car was very lazy, wouldn’t turn around the corners the way I wanted,” he continued. “So you’re waiting and waiting and waiting, so I was just making small adjustments within what we were able to change in order to get the car to turn and that’s a combination of many things. It’s just pulling every millisecond together. It was my cleanest lap. I will always remember that one.”
The magnitude of Hamilton’s achievement cannot be underestimated. Only five teams in the history of the sport have secured 100 poles or more; he now sits 32 clear of Michael Schumacher in terms of pole positions on the drivers' list, too. Understandably, the defending champion seemed lost for words about his historical achievement today.
“I don’t really feel like I can compute it right now; it’s a huge number,” he said. “I don’t know how I’m supposed to feel. Excited it’s so close and it felt amazing.
“Qualifying is so special - you come across that line and you find out you’re just ahead… and you’re thinking how will I squeeze out more? Will the other guys find a tenth or two or three on the next run, or none at all?
“It’s nerve-wracking for the fans and I’m sure it’s the same for you… it’s such a big number that it’s hard to express just how crazy it is and amazing it is. I don’t really know what else to say.”