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Lewis Hamilton

Hamilton wary of Red Bull threat: No doubt they'll be quick

Lewis Hamilton is expecting Max Verstappen to fight back against him during Sunday's Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

Hamilton Saudi
To news overview © RN365/Michael Potts

Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton says he has no doubts that Max Verstappen will be out to make up for his qualifying error in the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, after the Red Bull driver threw away a likely pole position by hitting the wall on his final flying lap.

Verstappen looked set to snatch pole away from title rival Hamilton when he ran wide at the final corner and struck the wall.

Verstappen will start the race from third, with initial fears of a gearbox change eradicated after Red Bull inspected the unit. Had he needed one, he would have been required to serve a five-place grid penalty.

"No doubt Red Bull will be quick"

With Hamilton leading a Mercedes 1-2 in qualifying, he is wary of Verstappen's pace starting from directly behind him.

"We're here to win. That's where all the prep has been going towards and, no doubt, they [Red Bull] will be quick in the race," Hamilton told media, including RacingNews365.com, after qualifying.

"Collectively, it's about being smart and working together as a team, which I think Valtteri [Bottas] and we all do exceptionally well.

"I think also [I] just [want to] enjoy it. It's a night race. It's a new track. It's lots of unknowns but we'll be pushing."

Hamilton proud of Mercedes' efforts

Given that Verstappen threw away what looked to be a certain pole, having gone quickest of all during the first two sectors of his final flying lap, Hamilton said that qualifying had been remarkably intense as he wrapped up his fifth pole position of the season.

"[It was] very close between us all, but I think the Bulls were definitely faster," he commented.

"I don't know if we lost performance or they just gained, but still, I'm proud of the job that we have all done and I'm proud of the job that Valtteri has done - he nearly beat me out there.

"That was one of the most intense qualifying sessions we've had for a while. I'm grateful for it, even though it's only the fifth of the year!"

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