Hamilton takes 95th career pole ahead of inaugural Tuscan GP

Lewis Hamilton did what he does best, claiming an incredible 95th career pole position in Formula One and seventh of the season, finishing ahead of teammate Valtteri Bottas for yet another Mercedes lockout, as Max Verstappen made it a familiar 1-2-3 on the starting grid, 0.365s off the pole time.

Alexander Albon gave the front of the Mugello grid a symmetrical Mercedes/Red Bull look, and Charles Leclerc at last gave Ferrari fans something to cheer by pulling out a great lap to finish fifth fastest, ahead of the Racing Point duo of Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll. Daniel Ricciardo, Carlos Sainz and Esteban Ocon rounded out the top ten.

“It’s been a really, really tough weekend if I’m really honest,” said Hamilton, after his latest achievement. “Firstly, this track is just phenomenal, it’s a really, really challenging circuit and honestly we saw Valtteri was quicker than me, all day yesterday and even this morning and even in Q1. So I’ve been working so hard in the background to improve on my lines, my set-up and with the engineers we did such a great job and finally got the lap I needed. At the end, the wind picked up, so I wasn’t able to go any quicker, but nonetheless it was a job done.

“It’s crazy but I don’t know if people are able to see on TV, you go through Turns 6,7,8,9 at like 170-180mph and the G-Force you are pulling through there is insane. It gets more and more as you go through 8 and 9. Turns 10 and 1 and 2 are the areas I need to improve. Valtteri did a great job of pushing me but I’m really happy.”

For Bottas, it seemed a case as opportunity lost, as he was going faster on his final run before he had to back off due to yellow flags, Esteban Ocon losing control of his Renault.

And what of last weekend’s hero Pierre Gasly, who scored an emotional and surprise victory in Monza? The Frenchman will line up a disappointing 16th on the grid after some late car tweaks before qualifying didn’t have the desired result.

Fraser Masefield

Sports news and features writer, web editor and author.