RACE DEBRIEF

    Lewis Hamilton’s record for most pole positions in F1 history was not extended at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, with the Mercedes driver and 97-time polesitter outpaced around Imola by team mate Valtteri Bottas – and understandably not happy about it…

    Hamilton might have added the record for the most race wins in Formula 1 to his list of personal achievements with his 92nd triumph last weekend at Portimao, but he was unable to follow that up with pole in Italy. Despite setting the provisional pole time in Q3, Hamilton was then beaten by Bottas by just 0.097s on the final runs – leaving him feeling that he should have done a better job with his last attempt.

    READ MORE: Bottas beats Hamilton to take pole at Imola as Verstappen survives Q2 scare to take 3rd

    “Valtteri did a great job and that was a pretty p*** poor lap from myself,” Hamilton said. “But these things happen – you can’t always get it perfect.

    "Valtteri did a great job today, so ultimately in Q3… both laps weren’t that great to be honest. The first lap was okay, the second one was pretty poor, so to only have been that far away considering is not so bad. We live to fight another day tomorrow.”

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    Bottas pipped Hamilton by 0.097s

    The pole may only have been Bottas’ fourth this season, with Hamilton having taken the other nine – but Hamilton said his team mate deserved more credit for his performances this year, after the Finn secured his 15th career pole position in F1.

    READ MORE: Bottas says he had ‘the shakes’ after risk-taking pole lap at Imola

    “I don’t think I really need to say much,” Hamilton replied when asked how impressed he’d been by Bottas’ qualifying performances recently. “I mean, jeez, he just got pole position, he’s ahead of me, and I have more poles than anyone here, so it’s not like I’m a slow-poke. He’s doing an amazing job, I think his results speak for [themselves], I don’t really need to say much more, he does his talking on the track.

    “That’s the great thing about Valtteri. I don’t think there’s many people that can do what he’s doing if I’m really honest. I’ve got a huge amount of respect for him.”

    F1 Grand Prix of Emilia Romagna - Practice & Qualifying
    Hamilton said he expected overtaking at Imola to be tricky

    Hamilton, meanwhile, was also predicting a tough time in Sunday’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, saying he expected overtaking around Imola to be tricky – with Hamilton having been able to re-pass Bottas on track to take victory last time out in Portugal.

    READ MORE: ‘It was all a bit messy’ – Verstappen frustrated after Q2 engine scare at Imola

    “It’s going to be a challenge for people following,” said Hamilton, who will start one place up on Red Bull's Max Verstappen. “But the DRS will hopefully give some overtaking opportunities for people.

    “For us, you see we’re within half a tenth of each other, so to have an opportunity to overtake I think you need to have something like a gain of two seconds. Nonetheless I’m going to give it everything I’ve got tomorrow and fingers crossed.”