Lewis Hamilton: 100-pole position F1 landmark hailed by Jenson Button at Spanish Grand Prix
"Lewis has always been absolutely stunning when it comes to qualifying. From his first race in Formula 1 until now, it has definitely been a strength of his," says Hamilton's former team-mate Jenson Button
By James Galloway
Last Updated: 09/05/21 7:38am
Sky F1's Jenson Button has paid tribute to Lewis Hamilton's "amazing achievement" after his former team-mate became the first driver in Formula 1 history to reach a century of pole positions.
Emerging on top of a qualifying session for the 100th time from 270 attempts across 14 years in the sport, Hamilton won a closely-fought duel with Red Bull title rival Max Verstappen by a mere three-hundredths of a second in Spain.
"An amazing achievement," said Button, Hamilton's team-mate at McLaren in 2010-12.
"Lewis has always been absolutely stunning when it comes to qualifying. From his first race in Formula 1 until now, it has definitely been a strength of his."
Button, who outscored Hamilton during their time as team-mates but was outqualified 14-44, added: "It's in the race that he has improved over the years.
"His understanding of a race car and getting from A to B as quick as possible."
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Hamilton 'humble and grateful' about landmark
F1's seven-time champion was already far and away the most successful qualifier in the sport's history.
Michael Schumacher, whose record Hamilton broke in 2017, is second on the all-time list with 68 poles. Ayrton Senna is third on 65.
Sebastian Vettel (57 poles) is the only other driver to claim more than 40 poles in the sport's 71-year history.
Hamilton claimed the first 26 poles of his career across six seasons with McLaren, with his strike rate since increasing in unprecedented fashion at Mercedes amid their rewriting of the sport's record books in recent years.
"I can't believe we're at 100 and it's down to the men and women who are back at the factory who are continuously raising the bar and never giving up," said Hamilton after qualifying.
"The support that I have, it's a dream for me to work with these guys and the journey that we have been on has been immense.
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"Who would have thought at the end of 2012 when we made the decision to partner [together] we would be qualifying at 100? So I feel very humble and very grateful. I'm ecstatic, like it's my first."
Speaking to Sky Sports F1 afterwards, Hamilton described the feeling as "awesome".
"Isn't it just crazy, that it has been such a long journey and the excitement is still the same? The enjoyment is just as much, if not more," he said. "Naturally I'm much, much better at my job than I was in 2007 [his debut season]. I understand myself and have managed to get myself to a good place.
"My focus is on a way different level to back then and I guess that's why I've been able to continue to do those special laps."
Hamilton will now go in search of race win 98 in Sunday's Grand Prix, ahead of chief title rival Verstappen and team-mate Valtteri Bottas on the grid. Sunday's race starts at 2pm live only on Sky Sports F1, with build-up from 12.30pm.