Lewis Hamilton 'overwhelmed' with German GP pole after problem-filled Nurburgring practice
Briton now aims to give Red Bulls race-day "run for money"
By James Galloway. Last Updated: 06/07/13 11:30pm
A delighted Lewis Hamilton hailed his German GP pole "overwhelming" after admitting his preparation for qualifying at the Nurburgring had proved a series of "disasters".
For the second successive weekend, Hamilton had gone into Q1 firmly on the back foot after being far from happy with the handling of his W04 during the course of the three practice sessions at the Nurburgring.
Having dropped from first on the P1 timesheet to eighth in P2 following an erroneous set-up change on Friday lunchtime, things only seemed to worsen on the resumption of track activities on Saturday morning as amid complaints over the radio of "huge oversteer" the Briton lapped over a second off the pace
However, in a repeat of his qualifying surge at Silverstone, Hamilton spectacularly turned his fortunes around when it mattered most and in a tight duel with Vettel in Q3, beat the triple World Champion to pole by a tenth of a second courtesy of a brilliant final lap.
Speaking after claiming the 29th pole of his career, Hamilton explained the work that had gone in during the break between P3 and Q1 to improve his set-up.
"It's really overwhelming because I've been struggling," Hamilton admitted.
"Since the first run in P1, which was pretty good, P2 and P3 were just disasters. It got even worse this morning and we were miles off: I was a good eight-tenths of a second off and wasn't comfortable with the car at all.
"But we went back into the track, worked hard and just tried to analyse everything and made lots and lots of changes. I just hoped that everything would work and fortunately the car was beneath me and I was able to put in the times we did.
"So I'm grateful for the work the guys did with me and again this is just down to all the hard work the team have been putting in."
The pole is the third of Hamilton's nascent Mercedes career and the first for the German manufacturer at their home race since Juan-Manuel Fangio in 1954.
Fangio went on to win that race for Mercedes, their own home victory as a team owner to date, and after losing the chance to open his victory account for the outfit last weekend through a tyre blowout, Hamilton is optimistic he will be able to take on the Red Bulls, which start second and third, again on Sunday,
"Obviously it's a privilege to drive for this team; they're got great history and it is where Mercedes really started. So I feel proud to get the pole for them but obviously there's no points for today. Tomorrow's the important day," a focused Hamilton added.
"These [Red Bull] guys are good on their long runs and I hope with my new set-up hopefully it will be as good and we can give them a run for their money."