Lewis Hamilton proud to master 'terrifying' Styrian GP qualifying
"There's an element of fun in it, but then there's a massive area of sheer terror"; Watch Styrian GP on Sky F1 on Sunday at 2.10pm
By Matt Morlidge
Last Updated: 12/07/20 7:00am
Lewis Hamilton says the "terrifying" qualifying conditions made pole position for the Styrian GP all the more special, with the Mercedes driver describing his final lap as "fantastic" and "close to perfect".
Hamilton lived up to his reputation as Formula 1's rain master on Saturday with a scintillating display, out-pacing the rest of the grid by over a second in a qualifying which had to be delayed due to heavy showers.
Sky Sports' Jenson Button called his final lap "extraordinary" given the conditions, and Hamilton admitted to F1: "It was frickin' awesome.
"I like these conditions, but it's terrifying. There's an element of fun in it, but then there's a massive area of sheer terror."
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Expanding on those emotions and the challenges of driving in the wet, Hamilton added: "You've got this whole group of people behind you relying you to deliver in the most treacherous and most trickiest conditions you could be provided with.
"Particularly raining as much it is, it's hard to see, it's hard to see where the lines are, and you're feeling the car skip across aquaplaning moments. It's even difficult sometimes just to stay full throttle down the straight because the car twitches and you're accelerating kind of blind sometimes.
"But it's something I enjoy doing and I don't do too bad in."
Hamilton was being modest in that particular statement, having produced many memorable wet-weather drives over the years, while his Saturday pole was his fourth in a row in a rain-affected qualifying.
It gives him the ideal starting position for Sunday's race, when he will lead Max Verstappen off the grid as he bids for his first victory of a unique 2020 F1 season.
Hamilton on 'close to perfect' pole lap
Hamilton's fastest lap of Q3 came as heavy rain started to fall at Spielberg, and just after Verstappen went for a big spin while trying to chase down pole himself.
"The last lap was really fantastic, the whole build-up had to it," said Hamilton, who still had a big advantage even before Verstappen's spin.
"I had good laps previously, but this was the last lap, the last moment, the last chance to improve. I didn't know how close they were, so for me it was the most crucial lap of the whole weekend. [I thought I had to] get the job done, and I did."
He continued: "That last lap for me was really as close to perfect as I could really get it in those conditions.
"Considering it was raining more, it makes me even happier knowing that I went a little bit quicker during that time."
Hamilton also praised F1 and the FIA for going ahead with a qualifying session, which was delayed by 46 minutes due to the rain.
"It was definitely on the limit, but that's racing," said the six-time world champion. "I'm glad they didn't take that away from us, because today, it's so special being out there, it's so difficult.
"I don't know how it comes across on the cameras, but it is the hardest conditions that we ever drive in."
The new Formula 1 season is underway in dramatic style on Sky Sports F1 and continues this week with the second race at the Red Bull Ring - the Styrian GP. Find out more & subscribe.