Dubai: Lewis Hamilton claimed his 100th career pole position during qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix on Saturday.
The seven-time world champion got the most out of his Mercedes to edge out Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, who was just ahead of Valtteri Bottas in the second Mercedes.
Hamilton pushed his Mercedes to a flying lap of 1 minute, 16.74 seconds. Verstappen in his Red Bull was only 0.03 seconds behind.
"Great job! That was hard work," Hamilton told his team over the radio after shouting out to celebrate hitting the century mark.
"I'll always remember this one," he added at his interview. "This is like my first. Who would have thought back in 2012 we would be here at 100?"
Hamilton leads the Formula One standings by eight points over Verstappen going into the fourth race of the season.
Hamilton has won the Spanish GP five times, including each of the past four years. On Sunday, he will be looking to equal Michael Schumacher's six wins in Montmelo and claim his 98th career victory.
It is promising to be a season full of milestones for the British driver.
It appears to be just a matter of weeks before Hamilton also hits the century mark in grand prix victories. On Sunday, he will be aiming for a 98th career victory - on a track where he was won for the past four years. He broke Schumacher's record of 91 wins last year.
And then he will try for the biggest prize of all: surpassing Schumacher's record of seven world championships that he equalled last season.
Verstappen, however, also has good memories from the Spanish GP where he got his maiden win at age 18 in 2016.
This season, Verstappen could have been even closer _ or perhaps ahead of Hamilton _ in the standings if he had not run afoul of track limit violations that cost him points in Bahrain and Portugal.
Hamilton won the season opener in Bahrain and last week's race in Portugal. Verstappen won the season's second race in Italy. In all three races, Hamilton and Verstappen have finished either first or second.