Lewis Hamilton has said he is 'proud' he was able to deliver pole position today in Australia for McLaren.
Hamilton put in a great lap in Q3 and added afterwards that he thought it felt like a 'pretty special lap'. He now believes that good tyre management will be the key to a strong result on Sunday at Melbourne's Albert Park, scene of the F1 2012 season opener.
“I'm massively proud of my team. We've been working incredibly hard throughout the winter: we've never given up, and everyone has just kept pushing and pushing. We've had some tough years, but everyone in this team wants to succeed: to be the best. I'm proud that I was able to do the job for them today,” Hamilton reflected after taking the 20th pole position of his career.
“My first lap in Q3 felt pretty special – at the end of it, I felt it'd be surprising if anyone could push ahead of that. I tried even harder on my final run, but braked a little too late into the first corner and spoiled the lap. After that, I was just hoping that nobody would go any quicker.
“I just love qualifying, especially when you get the lap just right; when it all flows, the tyres work and you hit the sweet-spot everywhere. It's like heaven.
“Today we showed that we not only have the most beautiful car in F1, but also the fastest! Of course, there's still a long way to go tomorrow – looking after the tyres will be key – but we're in the best possible position to have a strong race.”
McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh meanwhile was also very happy and with Jenson Button taking second, just 0.152 seconds slower in the sister car, the Woking-based outfit locks out the front-row. It is the first time ever Hamilton and Button have lined-up 1-2 for McLaren.
“It feels very good to be back at the front of the grid, not only bagging pole position but also P2, to tie up the entire front row for Vodafone McLaren Mercedes,” Whitmarsh commented. “Both our drivers have driven really well all weekend, and this afternoon they were fantastic. Lewis's pole lap – the 148th in McLaren's F1 history – was a brilliant combination of commitment and control.
“It wasn't easy though, for either Lewis or Jenson. Traffic was a challenge in Q1, and in Q2 and Q3 it was a question of working hard to get the best out of the tyres. But, as I say, today we notched up McLaren's 148th ever Grand Prix pole position, and tomorrow we'll be aiming to score McLaren's 176th ever Grand Prix victory.
“We think we'll have a good race car; we know we'll have two great race drivers; so, although we never under-estimate our competition, and although we're sure tomorrow's race will be as demanding as it will be entertaining, I guess you could say we fancy our chances.”