The seven-time world champion hit 100 F1 pole positions on Saturday in Barcelona with a sensational lap that saw him outpace Red Bull’s Max Verstappen by a mere 0.036s to keep up his run of scoring a pole in all 15 seasons he has contested in the sport. 

Hamilton claimed his very first pole in just his sixth F1 race during his rookie campaign at the 2007 Canadian Grand Prix, while he topped a qualifying session for the 100th time in his 270th attempt. 

The Briton is now a remarkable 32 poles clear of the next driver on the all-time list, fellow seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher

With countless superb efforts to choose from across his 15 years in F1 we will have undoubtedly missed some out, but we’ve done our best to count down some vintage Hamilton qualifying laps here…


10. 2013 British Grand Prix 

Hamilton took a special second pole at the British Grand Prix in what marked his second time topping qualifying for Mercedes. 

In a season largely dominated by Red Bull, Hamilton led a Mercedes 1-2 on Saturday at Silverstone with a stunning 0.452s margin over teammate Nico Rosberg, while he was half a second up on third-placed Sebastian Vettel

9. 2018 Australian Grand Prix

Hamilton started the 2018 F1 season with a statement of intent as he blew his rivals away with a blistering lap in qualifying at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix. 

A close three-way fight between Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull looked to be on the cards after Hamilton, Vettel and Max Verstappen were split by less than a tenth following the opening runs of Q3. 

But on his final effort, Hamilton elevated himself to another level as he found a massive eight-tenths improvement - 0.4s of which came in the first sector alone - to storm to his seventh pole at Albert Park and leave his rivals trailing in his wake by over half a second.


8. 2012 Hungarian Grand Prix 

Hamilton was in a league of his own at the Hungaroring in 2012 as he completely dominated qualifying on his way to claiming his third pole of the year. 

Hamilton had already produced two laps good enough for pole before he went even faster on his final run, beating nearest challenger Romain Grosjean in his Lotus by four-tenths of a second. 

His McLaren teammate Jenson Button could only manage the fourth-best time with a gap of over six-tenths on a day when few could get close to Hamilton.


7. 2015 Monaco Grand Prix

In the second season of Mercedes domination, Hamilton charged to his maiden Monaco pole in style. 

The then two-time world champion lapped the Principality a full 0.342s faster than his Mercedes teammate Rosberg to inflict revenge on the German, who had beaten him in qualifying at Monaco in the previous two years. 

"It was a difficult session,” Hamilton said afterwards. “A lot of things threw me off my rhythm and I did not have one until the last two laps.

"It is difficult to express how difficult this track is. It is important to get into a rhythm and improve. It is like climbing a ladder and if you slide back down sometimes it is hard to climb back up again.

"It wasn't easy and that makes it more special."

6. 2011 Korean Grand Prix 

2011 was Hamilton’s lowest point in F1 as he endured car problems, a breakdown in relationship with his father Anthony and then girlfriend Nicole Scherzinger, and several on-track clashes with Felipe Massa

But amid all the troubles, Hamilton enjoyed a brief high as he knocked Red Bull off pole position for the first time in the season with a stunning lap in Korea

It was a demonstration of Hamilton at his brilliant best against the odds, with the McLaren driver outpacing Vettel by over two-tenths of a second.

5. 2017 Italian Grand Prix

Six races after joining his F1 hero Ayrton Senna on 65 poles, Hamilton accomplished another piece of history as he broke Michael Schumacher’s all-time record for pole positions with the 69th of his career. 

In awful, wet conditions at Monza that some drivers described as underivable, Hamilton turned in a masterful display as the rain came down harder to set a lap that was nearly 1.2s quicker than what Red Bull’s Max Verstappen could manage. 

It was a performance that was befitting of the milestone reached. 

4. 2018 British Grand Prix 

Hamilton pulled out one of the laps of his life to seal the 76th pole of his career at Silverstone that left him visibly shaking with adrenaline after he got out of his Mercedes car. 

Hamilton ultimately came out on top in a thrilling qualifying duel against title rival Vettel, who had sat on provisional pole by 0.057s following the opening salvo in Q3. 

But Hamilton snatched pole away from Vettel by just 0.044s with a last-gasp effort to send his home crowd wild.

3. 2007 Canadian Grand Prix 

Hamilton claimed his maiden F1 pole in just his fourth race at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve - one of his all-time favourite tracks that he has gone on to take a further five poles at since his remarkable rookie campaign. 

In the first qualifying session he had been given the same weight of fuel as his then teammate, two-time world champion Fernando Alonso, Hamilton usurped the Spaniard by just 0.036s in Q2. 

A mistake cost Alonso in Q3, while Hamilton went on to secure pole with an advantage of more than four-tenths to the sister McLaren. 



2. 2020 Styrian Grand Prix 

Hamilton was once again at his breathtaking best as he produced another sublime display of wet-weather driving skill in treacherous conditions to land a sensational pole at the Red Bull Ring.

Wet conditions always test drivers to their absolute limit, and in qualifying at the 2020 Styrian Grand Prix, Hamilton once again excelled to underline why he is arguably the greatest driver in F1 history with an epic lap to outpace Verstappen by a staggering 1.2s. 

"It is difficult for an athlete to explain why they are good at something,” Hamilton said afterwards. "I know how good I am and that's a belief we have to have inside of us, all of us.

"It is the same for every athlete and it should apply to everyone doing their jobs around the world. You have to try to be the best and believe you can be the best.

"It is down to focus, to how you study the track, your innate ability to be dynamic and manage the trickiest of conditions with the pressure on you.”

1. 2018 Singapore Grand Prix

During qualifying for the 2018 Singapore Grand Prix, Hamilton produced one of the best laps of his career - and one of the greatest laps in F1 history - to take a surprise pole.

Mercedes had traditionally struggled at Singapore and Ferrari were the firm favourites heading into qualifying, but Hamilton dug deep to extract an astonishing lap that came totally out of the blue.

It was 1.3s faster than Hamilton’s own previous best lap, 0.3s clear of Verstappen, and 0.7s quicker than what teammate Valtteri Bottas could manage. Hamilton said it “felt like magic”, while Mercedes boss Toto Wolff called it “stardust” and the best lap he has ever seen.

At that moment in time, Hamilton was on another planet as he delivered a lap for the ages.

Are there any poles we've missed out that you think deserve to be on this list? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below...

 

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