Lewis Hamilton explains how he trumped Valtteri Bottas tactic to secure pole position

Lewis Hamilton will start the Portuguese Grand Prix on pole position after a clever change of tactic enabled him to out-manoeuvre team-mate Valtteri Bottas – who was the quickest all weekend.

Bottas set the fastest times in FP1, FP2, FP3, Q1 and Q2 but when it mattered the most in Q3, Hamilton came out on top.

The Brit is looking to surpass Michael Schumacher’s race wins record when the lights go out tomorrow.

And he will attempt to do so from the front of the pack because he decided to do three out-laps in the final qualification session.

Bottas wanted to save his tyres for the race so chose to only do one real burn-out.

The Finn’s gamble was almost justified as his time was not beaten by Hamilton or any other driver for the majority of the session.

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But Hamilton crossed the line for one final shot just before the clock ticked down to zero and it paid dividends.

“At the end, I chose to do three laps to give me a chance at beating his time,” Hamilton said. “That last lap, it got better and better as I went through it.

“It’s a really really hardcore circuit. There’s places where you can’t see where you’re going, you’re looking at the sky for long periods.

“It really is one of the most challenging circuits that I’ve been to.”

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Bottas rued his mistake and in hindsight he would have opted for an alternative tactic.

“I went for one lap [on mediums], it was my decision as it worked well in Q2,” says Bottas.

“But it might be that doing the two timed laps like Lewis was better.

“The lap was good. Ultimately I should have gone for two times as well.”

Hamilton knew he had his work cut out heading into Q3 and he feels Bottas will bring the same intensity during the race.

“I can’t tell you how hard that was today,” the six-time world champion said.

“Yes, we’ve got a great car but you have to drive the nuts off of it to pull out a lap.

“Valtteri’s been so quick this weekend, he’s topped every session. So I’ve just been digging and digging and digging to find that extra time.”

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