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Sport Hamilton shocked to end Red Bull pole run as Perez rues mistake at last corner

21:00  17 april  2021
21:00  17 april  2021 Source:   goal.com

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Lewis Hamilton was shocked to claim his first Formula One pole position in four races as both Red Bull drivers rued missing out by the narrowest of margins.

Sergio Pérez holding a phone: Lewis Hamilton and Sergio Perez © Getty Images Lewis Hamilton and Sergio Perez

Mercedes driver Hamilton took pole in qualifying for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix by just 0.035 seconds over Sergio Perez, with Max Verstappen just 0.087s back in third.

Charles Leclerc was fourth for Ferrari at Imola, with Hamilton's team-mate Valtteri Bottas struggling to eighth place.

That may give Red Bull a strategic advantage for the race, especially with their cars on split strategies as Perez will start on soft tyres while Hamilton and Verstappen will be on mediums.

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Still, Hamilton was thrilled to emerge on pole, which came as a surprise to him after Red Bull's pace this weekend and the fact he did not improve on his first flying lap in Q3.

"It has been great," said Hamilton, who impressively won the first race of 2021 in Bahrain despite Red Bull appearing to have a pace advantage.

"I definitely didn't expect us to be ahead of two Red Bulls.

"They have been so quick this weekend, six tenths ahead at times, but the car was already feeling better from the beginning this weekend.

"Respect to the team for their hard work to narrow down the window [to Red Bull].

"I'm so happy because the first lap was really nice, really clean. The second had some improvements but overall wasn't as good as the first.

Perez rues last-corner mistake after missing out on Imola pole

  Perez rues last-corner mistake after missing out on Imola pole Sergio Perez says a mistake at the last corner on his final run in Formula 1 qualifying at Imola cost him a potential maiden career pole position. Perez responded to a difficult start to his weekend where he collided with Esteban Ocon in Friday’s opening practice session by securing a front row slot for Sunday’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix. The Mexican ended just 0.035s shy of Lewis Hamilton’s pole position time, but the result gave Perez his best-ever starting position, having never qualified higher than third previously. But speaking after qualifying, Perez felt his pace had been enough to steal pole in the closing stages. “I should have been on pole today,” Perez said.

"I came around the last corner and heard that I got the pole and was super grateful."

The first qualifying session was halted with a red flag after a crash for Yuki Tsunoda, a session Bottas topped as both Williams cars progressed.

Perez – on his soft tyres – emerged at the top of the timesheets in a Q2 session that saw Carlos Sainz, Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso among the eliminated drivers.

A dramatic Q3 then saw Hamilton just hold on to his lead set after the first runs.

Lando Norris thought he had put his McLaren on the front row, only to discover he had exceeded track limits, meaning he settled for seventh behind Pierre Gasly and team-mate Daniel Ricciardo.

Perez thanked his team after claiming second but felt he should have had pole.

The Mexican said: "Well done to the team. I made a mistake on Friday and made them the team work hard so it is a good recovery.

Motor racing-Superb pole lap leaves Hamilton on the brink of his century

  Motor racing-Superb pole lap leaves Hamilton on the brink of his century UK-MOTOR-F1-EMILIAROMAGNA-HAMILTON:Motor racing-Superb pole lap leaves Hamilton on the brink of his century(Reuters) - Lewis Hamilton's relentless quest to be the best produced a superb 99th career Formula One pole position for the seven-times world champion at Imola on Saturday.

"The most important thing is we showed progress. I never expected to be here after where we were on Friday but we have been improving.

"It is P2, but I should've been on pole – I made a mistake on the final corner.

"Everything is positive and we have to make sure we keep progressing and Sunday is when it matters.

"Anything can happen – a different [tyre] strategy to Lewis and Max. It will be interesting to see what we can do. The important thing is we get those points and that learning which is the priority."

Verstappen had claimed the last pole of 2020 and the first pole of this season, while Bottas had started at the front in the penultimate race of last year.

World champion Hamilton ended his wait for pole here, but Verstappen is eager to make life difficult to him.

The Dutchman said: "Not so good in Q3. I went off at turn three, so a bit messy, just not a good lap.

"You can't be good every time, so we'll see what went wrong – but it was definitely not the easiest in Q3.

"It's still P3, which is a good starting position. It's going to be interesting. We have the two cars on the different tyres and we will try to make it difficult for them."

A 99th career pole position for Hamilton saw him make Imola the 30th circuit where he has topped the qualifying timesheet.

PROVISIONAL CLASSIFICATION

1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 1:14.411

2. Sergio Perez (Red Bull) +0.035s

3. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) +0.087s

4. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) +0.329s

5. Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri) +0.379s

6. Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren) +0.415s

7. Lando Norris (McLaren) +0.464s

8. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) +0.487s

9. Esteban Ocon (Alpine) +0.799s

10. Lance Stroll (Aston Martin) no time set

Pressure building on Red Bull at Portimao after Hamilton's Imola escape .
Lewis Hamilton came second at Imola despite an awful crash, ensuring he again leads the standings heading to Portimao.Superstar Max Verstappen has finished second and first over the opening two weeks, yet he still trails Lewis Hamilton by a point. Mercedes are also on top again in the constructors' championship, seven points clear even after Valtteri Bottas crashed out of the epic Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

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