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Lewis Hamilton

Hamilton recovers from illness to claim 'beautiful' pole

Lewis Hamilton was feeling unwell throughout Friday practice in Qatar, but recovered in time for qualifying.

Hamilton Qatar
To news overview © Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton has explained how he recovered from stomach issues to claim a dominant pole position for the Qatar Grand Prix.

Hamilton was off the pace during Friday's practice sessions, cutting a noticeably downbeat figure and conceding that "I'm definitely not close" to the front of the field.

However, he found his form on Saturday to match Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas in FP3 and then deliver an eye-catching qualifying performance, lapping almost half a second clear of title rival Max Verstappen.

"Yesterday was a really difficult day for me, actually," said Hamilton after the session.

"[On] Thursday and Friday I wasn't feeling too well, so I really struggled throughout practice. I was just off yesterday, so I really had to dig deep."

Asked on specifically what was wrong with him, Hamilton added: "I had a bit of a stomach ache from Wednesday, but felt fantastic today. I slept well last night so that makes a big difference."

Hamilton worked until midnight

After his practice struggles, Hamilton said he stayed late at the track to determine where he could improve for Saturday's running, prior to resting up.

"I was here until midnight last night, working with the engineers, who also always work so late - they're such hard workers - and found a lot of areas which I could improve in," added the reigning World Champion.

"We made a lot of changes for P3 and it seemed to work. Then, of course, you've got to carry that through to qualifying.

"I'm so grateful for the timings they put us out on track, we didn't have any traffic. Then that last lap was beautiful. It was a really sweet lap."

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