Lewis Hamilton celebrated his third consecutive pole position of the season and his seventh at Silverstone in total, after coming out on top in qualifying for the 2020 British Grand Prix.
Hamilton set a new qualifying lap record of 1:24.303s along the way, after bounding back from a rare mistake in Q2 which saw the Mercedes spin at Luffield and trigger a red flag stoppage.
But despite that scare, Hamilton ended the afternoon with a comfortable gap over team mate Valtteri Bottas, and was a full second ahead of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.
“Ultimately it’s obviously a relatively big gap between us and third place,” Hamilton told Jenson Button after the end of qualifying. “But it doesn’t matter at the end of the day.
“Valtteri is pushing me right to the limit, and he’s been doing such a fantastic job all weekend.
“This track is just awesome, because with the gusting wind you have a head-wind and tail-wind and cross-wind at different parts of the circuit,” he explained. “It’s like juggling balls whilst you’re on a moving plate and at high speed!
“I made some changes going into qualifying and it was worse. It was a real struggle out there,” he said of his second round mishap. “Obviously we had that spin: qualifying is a lot about confidence building, and damn we had that spin.
“I was already down through the first section every lap and – I don’t know how – but with some deep breaths managed to compose myself.
“Q3 started off the right way. It still wasn’t perfect, the first lap, but was still a really clean lap and the second one even better.
“It never gets old that’s for sure,” he added of his 91st F1 career pole.
For his part, Bottas was understandably disappointed not to be closer to Hamilton at the end of qualifying, having been fastest of anyone in Q2.
“It was a pretty good qualifying until Q3 really,” he sighed. “I felt really comfortable with the car and with both tyre compounds so I was really waiting til Q3 to get everything right.
“But by the time we got to in Q3 I started to drift a bit more with the rear end than I was hoping,” he conceded. “Obviously Lewis found a more than me and ultimately did a really good job and he deserves the pole.
“Disappointing, but we’ll need to look into it.”
And naturally he’s not giving up, taking inspiration from what happened at Silverstone a year ago.
“Lewis last year managed to win it from second place with a different strategy to me,” he said. “My long run performance this weekend has been really good so I believe there will be opportunities.
“Everything is still wide open and no doubt the guys behind will try and mix it up!”
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