Formula One: Hamilton happy as his car 'comes alive'

Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton competes during the qualifying session ahead of the Dutch grand prix. PHOTO: AFP

ZANDVOORT, Netherlands - Lewis Hamilton said he was happy that his Mercedes car had "finally come alive" on Saturday after he qualified in fourth place for Sunday's Dutch Grand Prix.

His Mercedes team-mate George Russell was sixth, but said he was satisfied in being ahead of Sergio Perez of Red Bull after an eventful session settled by a dramatic late lap from Max Verstappen.

Red Bull's world champion and runaway series leader secured pole for his home race for the second consecutive year.

"Only being a tenth behind a Red Bull was a great feeling," said Hamilton. "It really gives me a lot of hope that I could fight for the front row, but then obviously the yellow flag at the end was a bit unfortunate - but that's motor racing."

He added that "I generally feel good... I am really happy that the car has finally felt alive this weekend.

"We've closed the gap, somehow, on a single lap. I can't really understand why, but anyways...

"So, I'm hoping that means we are closer - and even closer in the race - and if we are that would be fantastic. If we can fight these guys and have a battle with these three ahead of me, that would be an amazing experience."

Russell was less enthusiastic.

"It's not brilliant, to be honest," he said. "The car was feeling great all weekend, but it just didn't click for me today."

He added that "P6 is not a terrible place to start. Turn One is going to be vital and the first few laps, but I see no reason why I can't fight for a podium." AFP

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