Lewis Hamilton says he had to compose himself and recover after a spin in qualifying to take his 91st pole position at the British Grand Prix.
The defending champion was struggling to match teammate Valtteri Bottas in the early part of qualifying and then spun on his first run in Q2 with Bottas already quickest. Understandably Hamilton was still adrift of the Finn at the end of that part of the session, but he bounced back in Q3 with an impressive response to take pole by 0.3s.
“Obviously there is a relatively big gap between us and third place, but it doesn’t matter,” Hamilton said. “At the end of the day Valtteri is pushing me right to the limit and he’d been doing such a fantastic job all weekend and I made some changes going into qualifying and it was worse, so it was a real struggle out there.
“This track is just awesome because with a gust of wind, you have a head wind, a tail wind, a cross wind in different parts of the circuit. It’s like juggling balls while you’re on a moving plate, at high speed.
“Then, obviously we had that spin. Qualifying is a lot about confidence building, and damn, I had that spin. I was already down, I was struggling through the first section every lap and I don’t know how but with some deep breaths I managed to compose myself and Q3 started off the right way. It still wasn’t perfect the first laps but still a really clean lap and the second one even better. It never gets old, for sure.”
Hamilton usually enjoys a large following at his home race but Formula 1 is racing behind closed doors at Silverstone this weekend, and the six-time world champion says he tried to remind himself of the support watching from afar while out on track.
“I kept it in mind. Normally when I approach this weekend there’s this much different feeling — I think it’s part excitement and also nerves when you come to this race, knowing how many people do come. And that nervousness is just really through just wanting to excel and deliver for everybody, because you go on a pretty incredible journey together.
“So I try to keep that in mind still this weekend. While I didn’t have that same feeling coming, knowing that no one’s going to be here, I just really tried to reminisce about the last years and try and somehow get that energy and utilize it today, which is not so easy … I can’t imagine how many people are watching and if it’s the same energy-wise back home where they are, if it’s the same as it is when we’re at the track. But I hope this gives some people some hope.”