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F1

Hamilton, oblivious to late night tinkering as he takes pole

Lewis Hamilton admitted he had no idea his Mercedes team had worked through the night to deliver a car which carried him to pole for Sunday's US Grand Prix.

Hamilton, oblivious to late night tinkering as he takes pole
LARRY W. SMITH EFE

Lewis Hamilton admitted he had no idea his Mercedes team had worked through the night to deliver a car which carried him to pole for Sunday's US Grand Prix.

The 31-year-old defending champion grabbed the 58th pole of his career, edging out stable mate Nico Rosberg who leads the title race by 33 points with four races remaining. It was his first pole in five attempts at the Circuit of the Americas.

Hamilton, using a car with a new fuel injection system which was fitted overnight, said he had no idea about the repairs carried out by mechanics who worked until 4am to keep his title push on track.

“I just didn't know anything about that. I have been focused on my job and working on my preparations”, he explained. Despite his pole-setting heroics, Hamilton admitted it was only the first step towards success in his bid to keep his title defence alive when he battles against both Rosberg and the chasing Red Bull team in what promises to be a closely-fought race on Sunday. “I feel amazing. It is just such a great feeling; my first pole here after many years of trying. A lot of great people have tried to get me there and now I've done it. It's taken a while, and I have worked hard. Turn One was always a weak point for me every year and this year I finally got it right. This is a nice positive tip for me, to be on pole, but tomorrow is something else”.

Hamilton confirmed he has been practicing his starts after his poor getaway in Japan, where he was second on the grid and fell back to eighth. He has had five bad starts this season, notably in Australia, Bahrain, Canada and Italy before Japan - races that have cost him four possible podium finishes.

Australian Daniel Ricciardo qualified third and said he believed he has a great chance to claim a podium finish for Red Bull - and mix it with the Silver Arrows - after claiming third place on the grid ahead of his team-mate Max Verstappen.

Meanwhile Verstappen, facing a clampdown on his aggressive defensive driving in Sunday's race by the International Motoring Federation (FIA), said he was disappointed. “I think I felt we could be nearer the Mercedes. But they turned up the power and we could not match them”.