Lewis Hamilton has described qualifying for the Belgian Grand Prix as “one of the hardest sessions” after he mastered wet-weather conditions to claim his 78th pole position in Formula 1.

Ferrari had set the pace throughout the weekend by topping every session in Belgium heading into qualifying, but a downpour in Q3 opened the door for Hamilton to profit as he turned in a superb lap to record back-to-back poles for the first time this season.

Hamilton made a pair of mistakes earlier in the session but recovered brilliantly to out-pace chief title rival Sebastian Vettel by 0.7s, logging a 1m58.179s on his final flying effort.

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“I think that was one of the hardest sessions that I can remember for a while,” Hamilton admitted.

“You saw I went off at Turn 1 and again at Turn 12. You’re tiptoeing, you don’t know where the limit is, the track looks dry in some places but it’s actually wet. These tyres, it was so hard. I went off twice. But I managed to keep it together.

“I really can’t find the words to express how difficult it was,” he added. “I only had one lap left otherwise I would have been a lot further down in the order. But I knew I had the pace it was just about trying to find the balance of not pushing too much but not backing off too much.

“It’s different in every single corner and at no point you can be complacent. It’s awesome. I am super happy. The team have done a great job and the rain is always a friend of mine.”

When asked if he felt virtually unbeatable in the wet, Hamilton replied: “Definitely not, no. I think I tend to do the job also in the dry every now and then. But no, not at all.

“I wish you could see how tough it is out there for us all, maybe you could see it by all of us falling off, but it’s really about a balance of circumstances and compromises.

“I don’t really know what to say about that, ultimately it’s for you to decide. I love driving in the wet.”

Despite beating Vettel to pole, Hamilton is anticipating he will have a tough battle on his hands if he is to convert his starting position into victory.

“Tomorrow’s going to be a very tough race,” he said. “Sebastian’s long run blitzed everyone’s yesterday so I don’t know if I’ll be able to create pace that’s worthy of building a gap but tomorrow I’ll find out and give it everything I’ve got.

“They [Ferrari] were favourite today and they’re going to be favourite tomorrow, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re going to win. They’ve been favourite for quite a few races now and we managed to somehow turn it on its head and come out ahead.”

 

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