Hamilton: Topping the times felt “very surreal” · RaceFans

Lewis Hamilton said his brief return to the top of the timing screens during today’s qualifying session felt strange.

The Mercedes driver headed the times during Q3 but was quickly deposed by Max Verstappen.

“Honestly, that felt like a great lap,” said Hamilton. “And it was very, very surreal to see us at the top for a second. Then obviously I saw Max was finishing his lap, so just about lost it.”

The Red Bull driver went on to take pole position while Hamilton claimed third on the grid behind team mate George Russell. Hamilton said he wasn’t able to get the best out of his tyres on his final run.

“The last lap just wasn’t really that great, unfortunately,” he said. “I left plenty of performance on the table just in the sense of I couldn’t get the tyres really working.

“So the second lap was a bit average but I still managed to get it up there for the team and tomorrow I’ll do better.”

Hamilton was unable to prepare for his final lap as he wanted to as he encountered Nico Hulkenberg’s Haas in the final sector. “It definitely was a little bit confusing and definitely wasn’t an optimum way of starting your lap,” he said.

“Normally you need to try and keep pace up in that last sector, but there was a lot going on so it wasn’t as good as the start of the previous lap.”

Having to slow down behind Hulkenberg did compromise his final lap, said Hamilton. “I think we did lack a little bit of temperature, it picked up towards the end of the lap and my last sector I think was a little bit better. But that’s how it goes sometimes.”

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2023 Australian Grand Prix

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