Mercedes executive director (business) Toto Wolff said Lewis Hamilton was “in a league of his own” during qualifying for the Chinese Grand Prix.
Hamilton took pole position by 0.6s from Daniel Ricciardo, and tellingly beat team-mate Nico Rosberg by well over a second. While Wolff explained that Rosberg's brake issues meant he was never likely to trouble Hamilton, he said the polesitter was performing at a level above everyone else on Saturday.
"Today we saw a mega Lewis Hamilton,” Wolff said. "It doesn't get any better than being on top of his game throughout qualifying, in a league of his own.
"Nico wasn't as lucky in that session. He was caught on the wrong foot, having problems with the dash, with the brakes. It could have panned out in a different direction."
With Hamilton's 34th pole position making him the most successful British driver in qualifying – moving one clear of Jim Clark – he said he hadn't been focusing on the record but was pleased to beat it.
"It's only qualifying,” Hamilton said. “I don't really pay too much attention to the records, and those kind of things. But I definitely feel very blessed I've had the chance to work with great people and have had such good cars to be able to put such good laps in, even more so with this team.
"To have had so much success already at such an early stage with them, it's an incredible feeling. To be up there amongst the greats, I'm very proud of that. To have passed Jim Clark's record, it's unbelievable, so I'm very grateful for that."