Hamilton, who was forced into starting on the red-walled softer rubber when both of his opening runs in Q2 were disrupted, is also concerned about being passed on the long run from the grid to the Sochi track’s first braking point, Turn 2.
The distance from the line to the right-hander means Hamilton will be vulnerable to an immediate attack from Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and teammate Valtteri Bottas – particularly if there is a headwind at the start, as that will exacerbate the tow factor – who also have the advantage of starting on the more durable medium rubber.
“It not a good place to start at all and I think this year you’re seeing our cars are more draggy and there’s more tow this year than we’ve seen in other years,” said Hamilton, after taking his 96th career pole despite nearly failing to set a lap at the end of Q2 following Sebastian Vettel’s crash suspending qualifying on Saturday.
“I generally expect one of these two to come flying by at some point. I think I’m just going to focus on my race and just try to run the fastest race I can.
“Obviously I’m on the worst tyre to start on the race but generally it’s a good tyre to do an actual start but it doesn’t have [the best range].
“It has the biggest degradation, 10 times more than any other…