• European Grand Prix - Qualifying

Hamilton happy with third in Valencia qualifying

ESPNF1 Staff
June 26, 2010 « Vettel happy with pole | »
Lewis Hamilton thinks third was the best he could have expected © Sutton Images

Lewis Hamilton said he felt fortunate to be starting from third on the grid for Sunday's European Grand Prix because of the upgrades employed by rival teams.

Mercedes, Renault and Ferrari all introduced their revised exhaust-blown diffuser systems for Valencia but McLaren will not have theirs ready until the British Grand Prix.

"I am really happy to be here, I feel so fortunate this weekend," said Hamilton. "We knew everyone else would be bringing updates and we saw from practice we were quite some way behind, so I was a little bit cautious [in expectations], pushed to the limit, and didn't realise we would be so far up."

Hamilton said he was all the more surprised at his pace because he made an error on his last Q3 run.

"On the second lap I was up in the second sector but locked up rears in Turn 12 and did it later in the lap. I thought for sure I was going to drop back but was surprised when I came back and was third."

Despite the seemingly dominant pace of the Red Bulls, Hamilton still believes it will be possible to challenge for victory if the team makes the most of its pit stops and tyres.

"I think definitely it is going to be an interesting race tomorrow. How we manage the tyres and hopefully they will behave better than the last race.

"I can't complain about where we start from. The stops will be crucial and obviously the first corner, the first few laps will be crucial for positions. We will push as hard as we can to win."