Lewis Hamilton secures his 99th career pole after a fantastic qualifying drive at Imola

Red Bull's Sergio Perez also drove a brilliant lap and secured his maiden first row finish, missing out on pole position by just 0.036 seconds.

Rohan Gulaty Author

Updated - 17 April 2021 8:48 pm

Seven-time F1 champion Lewis Hamilton went close to another major milestone as he secured his 99th career pole at Emilia Romagna Grand Prix on Saturday. The 36-year-old emerged as the fastest driver on track, finishing with an impressive timing of 1:14:823. Hamilton narrowly edged out Red Bull's duo of Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen, who will start second and third respectively on the grid.

Hamilton delighted with impressive show at Imola

The Mercedes driver was himself left surprised after emerging out as the fastest driver on track. With Red Bull looking very fast on the weekend, it was expected that either Perez or Verstappen could start at pole. However, Hamilton showed his class once against in Q3 as he set a flying lap. After securing a place in front row, he said, "I love it, I love the challenge! We've got the two Red Bulls there, I think it's definitely going to make strategy harder, and they've got great race pace."

I should have been on pole today: Perez

Red Bull's Sergio Perez also drove a fantastic lap and missed out on pole position by just 0.036 seconds at Imola. After securing a place in first row for the first time in his career, the Mexican said, "I never expected to be here today with where we were yesterday. I should have been on pole today, I made a mistake on the final corner. Tomorrow is what matters."

Lecrerc impresses while Vettel's struggles continue

Ferrari Charles Lecrerc's scintillating lap secured his place in the second row besides Max Verstappen. While Pierre Gasly and Lando Norris were also impressive, it was another disappointing outing for Aston Martin's Sebastian Vettel as he finished P13. On the other hand, Hamiltion's teammate Valtteri Bottas was another driver who would be gutted with his performance as he starts tomorrow's race at P8.

Check out the complete qualifying classification:

The second race of 2021 season, Emilia Romagna Grand Prix is scheduled to take place on April 18. The action will begin at IST 6:30 pm on Sunday.