Lewis Hamilton felt glad to end his Formula 1 pole position drought in qualifying for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, saying it felt like a “long slog” after a string of Saturday defeats.

Hamilton beat Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in the final stage of qualifying at the Yas Marina Circuit on Friday.

It marked Hamilton’s first pole in nine races, his last coming at the German Grand Prix in July, marking his longest spell without a pole position since 2011.

“It’s been such a long slog trying to get this pole position,” Hamilton said. “We just kept our heads down, just continuing to try. The guys have been doing a great job around me, all the drivers, so I was really just trying to focus on continue to do my job.

“Yesterday was quite wobbly, so I had to really recompose myself last night and come back today focused. I managed to really dial in the car with great work from the engineers, mechanics continuing to do a great job.”

The result meant Hamilton ended the season with five poles to his name, as well as marking his final outing in the Mercedes W10 in qualifying trim.

“Of course to end the qualifying season with a pole – it has been a while, because we only had four I think earlier on this year,” Hamilton said.

“It’s been a special car, and it’s the last time I’ll get to qualify with it, so I’m glad I did it proud today.”

With Bottas starting last due to a grid penalty, Hamilton will be joined on the front row of the grid by Verstappen, who he is ready to enter battle with once again following their scrap in Brazil two weeks ago.

“I think we’re in a slightly better position this weekend,” Hamilton said.

“Obviously Max is continuing to drive well, but I’m looking forward to the battle with him for sure.”



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