BARCELONA, Spain -- After breaking Sebastian Vettel's run of three consecutive pole positions on Saturday, Lewis Hamilton has put Mercedes' return to form down to an open-minded approach to problem solving.
Hamilton took his first pole position since the opening round in Australia at the Spanish Grand Prix, beating teammate Valtteri Bottas to the top spot by 0.040s. After three races struggling for one-lap pace, the return to a high-speed circuit with high-energy corners appeared to suit the Mercedes, but Hamilton credits his team's creative approach to problem solving for his return to the front this weekend.
"Definitely the team has been working so hard, so a huge thank you to everyone working hard back at the factory," he said. "We really tried to continue to understand and be open-minded, it is easy for us to get stuck in our ways, and we definitely let loose and be open-minded to try to improve which is great. That is what it takes to be a winning team.
"It was a very close qualifying and you could see all weekend that Ferrari were clearly sand-bagging because they knew they had a quick car, but it took everything from us to get this result and to get the 1-2 in qualifying is fantastic for the team.
"Everyone will be very, very happy and obviously it was very close as Valtteri has been driving exceptionally well, they should call him the flying Finn as he's taken that well. We've got a lot of work to do for tomorrow as it is going to be a tough race but it is definitely a good way to start the weekend."
But Hamilton admits his team still doesn't have a full understand why it struggles so much with the tyres at the last three rounds.
"It is a constant learning process but these tyres they seem to have a small working window whether they give us more rubber or less rubber they appear to be a lot harder than last year even though they went softer. I think that is because the working range is far narrower than it was last year so you give it everything on an out lap and you still don't have your tyres in the window and they heat the tyres up in the blankets.
"That's why everyone struggles and I don't understand why they worked in Australia but haven't worked ever since and today we had them working. I was saying to Valtteri when we get to Monaco we'll be driving around with cold tyres because it is not easy to get temperatures up there."