Lewis Hamilton says that starting on the second row could pay off for him on Sunday as he will have the benefit of a tow on the run into Turn 1. Hamilton was beaten to pole by Daniel Ricciardo, with his teammate Max Verstappen lining up alongside him.
Hamilton shares the second row with title rival Sebastian Vettel. The two made contact at last year's race, in which Hamilton would go on to seal the title. Hamilton added that the incident with Vettel has played on his mind when asked about what sort of approach he would take at the start.
"Well you saw what happened last year with the red car [Vettel] behind, so I don’t know,” Hamilton said. “It really depends how we get away but third place is a nice place to start because you get a good tow from the guys ahead, so naturally I’m going to be fighting to at least try and gain a position. But of course, I’m aware of the Bulls ahead.”
Mercedes and Ferrari were far behind Red Bull on Friday, but has managed to pull back time overnight, with Hamilton expressing sanctification with his result: “I’m really happy with it. Honestly, we had a difficult day yesterday and it was a big improvement today.
“Yesterday we were much further back, so I wasn’t expecting to be up as high as this, but the team did a great job last night and analysed for today. That was the most I could get but I’m really happy for Daniel. Of course being behind the Red Bulls is not a bad thing.”
Hamilton can become a five-time world champion on Sunday should he cross the finish line in seventh place or better. However, if Vettel fails to win the race, Hamilton will be crowned champion regardless of where he finishes.