• Korean Grand Prix - Qualifying

The race 'is what really counts' - Hamilton

ESPNF1 Staff
October 15, 2011 « Renault struggles in wet - Petrov | Vettel pleased to push McLaren »
Lewis Hamilton appeared a little subdued after taking pole position © Sutton Images

Lewis Hamilton insists he is 'very happy' to be lining up on pole position at the Korean Grand Prix, but said it will be Sunday's race that counts.

His lap of 1:35.820 secured McLaren's first pole position of the season, as the MP4-26 looked in its element through the varied corners of the Korean International Circuit. But as Hamilton got out of the car in parc ferme, he refrained from the usual celebrations with his team and headed straight for the weighing scales.

Asked why didn't appear to be happy, Hamilton said: "No, I'm happy. I'm very happy. I'm happy to be here and am very proud of what the team has been able to achieve over the course of the last few races - for Jenson to have won the last race and for us to be on the front two rows again and the only ones competing with Red Bull. I'm very, very happy about it. It's just that tomorrow's the day that really counts."

After four second place starts at the last six races, Hamilton said a pole had been a long time coming.

"Throughout the year, I don't think my qualifying performances have been too bad - it's only in the last two races that I didn't manage to get my final run in Q3 - so today's result wasn't entirely unexpected," he added. "Still, we've been quick as a team and never stopped making improvements to the car. I'm so, so proud of all the men and women both here at the circuit and back at Woking who've worked so hard to get us back to where we want to be."

And he revealed his plan on Sunday is to control the race from the start.

"We've been working to improve our starts, and I hope we can convert pole into the lead tomorrow. The grand prix's going to be tough, and it'll be difficult to beat the two guys starting immediately behind me, but I hope to keep the lead and control the race in a responsible way. I now want to put all my energy into the race."