Hamilton dedicates 'beautiful' pole to Lauda

Niki Lauda(Getty Images)
Niki Lauda(Getty Images)

Monte Carlo - Lewis Hamilton said Saturday he wanted to dedicate his "beautiful" pole-clinching lap at the Monaco Grand Prix to Niki Lauda, who died earlier this week.

The emotional defending five-time champion was animated after the session, leaping into catch fencing and shouting on his team radio, before talking to reporters.

Hamilton had set an outright all-time track lap record in one minute and 10.166 seconds to outpace Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas.

"I had to dig deeper than ever," he said. "I'm so glad I can get that deep. That lap was beautiful. I feel amazing... This is definitely one of the best poles that I can remember.

"Obviously, we've had lots of success over the years, but I can't remember one being like this, especially after a difficult week for the whole team and, personally, a difficult weekend.

"The goal was to get pole. It's amazing we turned up as a team, continuing to take strides together, to get stronger. I'm so proud of everyone."

Lauda had been non-executive chairman of Mercedes.  

"To have a little bit of a cloud over us this weekend and really trying to lift every one up and deliver for Niki.... Valtteri did a sensational job.

"FP1, FP2 was good for me, but today the car didn't feel anywhere near as good as it did Thursday. I was digging deep, throwing the car around, I was struggling to get there on the first lap.

"So, I was throwing the car around and I'm pretty sure I touched the barriers a few times – there's no other way of doing it here.

"I've never quite got that perfect lap here and I think today was as close as I could get to it. So, this one's for Niki..."

Hamilton and Bottas, who delivered a record-equalling 62nd front row lockout for Mercedes, both carried tributes to the three-time world champion Austrian Lauda on their cars, as did many other teams.

Bottas, disappointed not to secure his fourth successive pole of the season for the all-conquering Mercedes team, said he had not given up and would do his utmost to try and out-start Hamilton and beat him in Sunday's race.

"Anything can happen. It would be nice to get pole, but there's no point in giving up after Saturday. I just had traffic and I couldn't get the tyres up to temperature."

Mercedes will be bidding to extend their unprecedented run of five straight season-opening one-two triumphs in the classic contest on the Mediterranean street circuit.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
What is your favourite sport to watch on TV?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Rugby
42% - 9965 votes
Cricket
11% - 2672 votes
Football
19% - 4504 votes
Athletics
2% - 590 votes
Boxing
1% - 223 votes
Cycling
2% - 550 votes
Golf
5% - 1175 votes
Motorsport
8% - 1993 votes
Tennis
3% - 804 votes
Water sports
1% - 212 votes
American sports
1% - 296 votes
MMA / WWE / UFC
3% - 763 votes
Vote