For the first time this season, Lewis Hamilton secured a top three qualifying result and is set to start the Singapore Grand Prix from P3 – his best starting position so far in 2022.
Throughout the season, it's been challenging for Hamilton to achieve a front-row spot off the starting grid in the W13 and the seven-time World Champion said its “rewarding” for the team to finally have a chance at pole position.
“It feels incredibly rewarding, I think, for everyone in the team. We've really started with a real handful, difficult deck of cards that we've created for ourselves and reshuffling, and lots and lots of work. Everyone staying really positive, or as positive as possible and everyone just being incredibly diligent and never giving up” Hamilton said during the post qualifying press conference in Singapore.
The Mercedes driver was also surprised and admitted he didn’t realize that his P3 in qualifying was the highest he’s achieved so far in 2022.
“This is the highest I've qualified? I didn’t realise! Hamilton said.
However, despite a difficult season with no race wins yet, Hamiliton claims that it has been an inspiring year and credits his fans for their strong support.
“So, it's been an inspiring year for me, witnessing what my team do and being a part of that and yeah, I so badly want to… naturally the will and desire to get a good result for them, to pay them back for all their great work is part of it.
“Also, my fans have been the most incredible this year, on and off track. And we couldn't have survived the year without them. So, I also want it for them. But I think we've got a great turnout here this weekend. And I hope that tomorrow we can give them a good show.”
Hamilton also revealed that the team put in extra work on the W13 overnight to prepare it for a solid and clean qualifying session.
“Oh, it was incredibly close. And a really exciting session in general. The car felt a lot better today. We did a lot of great work overnight, back at the factory, but also here and a really clean qualifying session.”
The Britton finished 12th in the final practice session and although, the team worked diligently on the W13 overnight, Hamilton said he lacked the confidence heading into qualifying due to the wet conditions in FP3.
“Well, everyone had a wet session in P3, so I couldn't say that I had confidence. After P2, it looked like we were half-a-second behind these guys. And the car didn't feel good in P3, quite a big gap to these guys and all of a sudden, in those damp conditions we were right with them.
“So that was a bit of a surprise. And in that moment, I was like ‘okay, it's on’. Maybe this is our moment, maybe finally we have a chance to fight for the front row, fight for pole. So, I was giving it my all but I think for all of us, just very tricky conditions. For them, it was Turn 13; for me it was Turn 16, was a bit of a handful, lost a bit of time there, but I still have to be grateful to be on the front row (sic). And yeah, we'll see what we can do from here.
While the Marina Bay Street Circuit remains a difficult track for overtaking, Hamilton hopes that strategy will work in the team’s favor for the race.
"And obviously, competing for front row constantly. So, I think at the end, it was so difficult to get that lap perfect. And I was hoping for some sort of lap like 2018 but the car definitely doesn't want to drive like that one, so you know, I gave it everything. And to be so close between the top three, I think is still great. So, let's hope we can do something in the race tomorrow. It's very hard to overtake here, but maybe we can have a better strategy than these guys."