Lewis Hamilton has described the “emotional rollercoaster” he’s been on with the Mercedes W09 as he secured his 11th pole position of the season ahead of the 2018 Formula 1 finale in Abu Dhabi.

The newly-crowned five-time F1 world champion produced another stunning qualifying displayed that started with an initial new track record in Q2 using the theoretically slower Ultrasoft tyres.

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Hamilton, equipped with the softest compound Hypersoft tyres in Q3, duly charged to his 83rd career pole position with a new record of 1m 34.794s to stretch clear of Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas who completed the teams’ front-row lockout.

By taking over half of the total pole positions in 2018, 11 out of 21, Hamilton revealed his deep “emotional” connection with the W09 having felt his F1 title triumph this year was one of the toughest given the improved challenge from both Ferrari and Red Bull.

“It was quite an emotional qualifying session for me because this is the last time I am going to be qualifying in this car,” Hamilton said. “I know you guys watch it but the emotional rollercoaster that I’ve gone through with this car. I’m probably the closest with this car than I have ever been with any cars in terms of emotionally attached.

“It has not been the easiest, it has been a struggle at times with her but it has been a real privilege to work with her this year.

“I am just so grateful for the team and everyone to put it together. It my guys, my mechanics for what they’ve done for me for the last three years or whatever it might be. Their diligence, the guys back at the factory, I am really so grateful to everyone.

“Today was so much fun to be able to go out there and express myself and push the car the way you want. There is no better feeling.”

Reflecting on his pole-clinching lap, Hamilton says the pivotal part was hooking up his W09 to extract maximum performance around the tight and twisty final section where he feels he gained “four-tenths” on his rivals.

“I never say there is a perfect lap but the first lap wasn’t spectacular there was a couple of excursions and a bit of movement from the rear end,” he said. “That last one started calm but got more and more aggressive as it went through in the last sector.

“If you look back it was the last sector that was the killer for me. That’s where I really was able to make the different. I came out four-tenths up. That is not an easy thing to do from one lap to another so I am pretty grateful for that.

“Valtteri also did a great job and I know Seb was pushing really hard. It has been a real privilege working and racing against the drivers here.”

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