by Russell Atkins

Lewis Hamilton said he was "over the moon" to have sealed his maiden Formula 1 pole position in Montreal at only his sixth attempt and on a circuit he had never so much as seen previously, and described the feeling as "better than sex".

The McLaren-Mercedes ace went into the weekend on the back of five successive rostrum finishes from the opening five races of both the season and indeed his grand prix career. Although it was team-mate Fernando Alonso who utterly dominated proceedings throughout practice around the demanding Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, it was his young rookie team-mate who pulled the time out of the bag when it really counted, and the reward has left him in the perfect position from which to launch an assault on his debut victory in the top flight.

"I'm absolutely 100 per cent over the moon to claim my first-ever Formula 1 pole position and at a circuit where I have never been before," Hamilton proclaimed. "I knew it was a good lap and I was absolutely flat-out - I almost touched the wall at the last corner."

Indeed, the last corner to which the Briton alludes has been a talking point amongst drivers for much of the weekend, as many have come perilously close to clattering expensively into the so-called 'Champions' Wall'.

"When you do a clean lap and then come up to the final chicane at around 200mph you want to try to keep the advantage you've gained," Hamilton told journalists at the circuit. "You can't go in there thinking 'I want to go through it even faster than before' because you will just miss it and that will be your lap over. You just have to grip the steering wheel hard, try to use as much of the kerb as you can without unsettling the car and try not to end up in the wall on the exit. I was very close to that on occasions.

"I was the first guy out in Q3 after the fuel-burn phase. I knew Fernando was at that point on pole with me second. After I came across the line I knew the others still had to finish their laps and everything went quiet. I was trying to look at some of the big screens to see if the cameras were following Fernando because I knew he was going to be on a fast lap. When I came over the line and was told I had pole I was so happy. It's better than sex!"

Although there has inevitably been a considerable degree of media focus on the 22-year-old since his startling entry into Formula 1 in Melbourne back in March, he says he does not feel it is overly intrusive and is happy simply to concentrate on his racing while he is at the circuit, and his family and friends when away from it.

"I'm just trying to take it all in my stride," he underlined. "It's all a new experience for me - this is only my sixth grand prix, but already there's been a lot of attention. At the end of the day I get to race a Formula 1 car around the track and that's an amazing feeling, so anything else that comes into it doesn't really matter. I'm just getting on with the job and enjoying my life; the attention really doesn't bother me.

"Right now I'm really looking forward to the race tomorrow and whilst Fernando and I are not going to do anything stupid, obviously I want to stay at the front. I need a little time for everything to sink in and have a nice, relaxing evening. The car, engine and tyres are working beautifully and the team has done such an amazing job. All of us are working so well together and to have both cars on the front row and leading both championships is a super reward for everybody."

 

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