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Hamilton overtakes a legend

Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff hailed Lewis Hamilton as "mega" and "in a league of his own" on the day he made British Formula One history.

Lewis Hamilton qualifies in pole position for the Chinese Grand Prix at Shanghai International Circuit    Photograph: EPA
Lewis Hamilton qualifies in pole position for the Chinese Grand Prix at Shanghai International Circuit Photograph: EPA

On a grey day in Shanghai, Hamilton at least shone by dominating every Chinese Grand Prix qualifying session to claim the 34th pole position of his career. The 29-year-old is now the most successful Briton over one lap in the sport's 64-year-history, moving ahead of legendary three-time champion Jim Clark, as well as France's four-time king Alain Prost.

Only Michael Schumacher (68), Ayrton Senna (65) and Sebastian Vettel (45) now stand ahead of the Mercedes driver in the pecking order.

After finishing six-tenths of a second clear of Daniel Ricciardo in his Red Bull, Hamilton said: "I definitely feel very blessed. I've had the chance to work with great people and to have had such good cars to be able to put in such good laps, even more so with this team.

"To have had so much success already at such an early stage with them, it's an incredible feeling.

"And to be up there among the greats, I'm very proud of that. To have passed Jim Clark's record, it's unbelievable, so I'm very grateful for that."

After clinching back-to-back wins for the first time in four years with his recent successes in Malaysia and Bahrain, Hamilton is now poised to claim three victories in a row for the first time in his career.

Doing so would allow him to close the 11-point gap on team-mate and championship leader Nico Rosberg, who starts fourth behind Red Bull duo Ricciardo and reigning four-time champion Vettel.

"On one side of it, I want my team-mate to finish - preferably behind me - for points for the team," added Hamilton.

"Of course, I started the season with a big deficit after the first race [won by Rosberg in Australia with Hamilton retiring], and I don't know how long that will take to close.

"But every point counts, although, I obviously don't wish anything bad on my team-mate.

The momentum would clearly appear to be with Hamilton, in particular after his brilliant defensive performance in Bahrain a fortnight ago when he kept Rosberg at bay for the final 10 laps with the German on quicker tyres.

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