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Hamilton 'very proud' as Mercedes capitalise on Verstappen crash

Lewis Hamilton says he is "very proud" of his team, after Mercedes locked out the front row for the Saudi Arabian GP.

Lewis Hamilton expressed his proudness for Mercedes following a thrilling Saudi Arabian Grand Prix qualifying session, as he led a 1-2 for the team in Jeddah. Max Verstappen was set to steal pole position away from Hamilton but crashed at the final corner, handing first place to the seven-time World Champion. Verstappen will start third as Valtteri Bottas posted a lap to jump ahead of the Dutchman at the end of Q3. "What a tough track this is," said Hamilton after qualifying. "It's amazing what they've done here track-wise. The speed and the pace around here is phenomenal. "We were real quick in practice, but for some reason FP3 and particularly qualifying we were lacking pace, struggling with the tyres. "So for us to get a 1-2, I'm proud of Valtteri, and the men and women in our team have just been working so hard. This is a great, great result."

"The Red Bull is something else"

Hamilton was fastest in Friday's practice sessions but Red Bull responded on Saturday by setting the pace in FP3 and were looking very strong in qualifying. Verstappen initially led the early part of Q3, only for Hamilton to hit back to take pole position. Hamilton says a 1-2 was the "goal" for Mercedes. "We worked so hard through simulation, through setup," added Hamilton. "Collaboration has been just epic with Valtteri. He is the best teammate there's ever been in this sport, for sure. We've worked together to work on the setup, to get the car to where it needs to be, and Red Bull were just so fast... "That Red Bull around this track is is something else, but given where we are I'm grateful with what we managed to pull out."

Hamilton expecting a close fight

Hamilton trails Verstappen by eight points in the Drivers' Championship and is looking to win a third consecutive race on Sunday. He admits his race pace was strong during Friday practice, but is wary about the steps Red Bull made overnight. "We always get closer in race pace," said Hamilton. "My long run was good on Friday but Red Bull have obviously fixed something with the setup yesterday, and they're rapid today. "I anticipate it'll be a close battle through to tomorrow. But Valtteri and I will be on it."

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