Lewis Hamilton admits he was “a little bit gutted” to miss out on the front row in the British Grand Prix but will be aggressive in the race to try and improve from fifth on the grid.
Mercedes has made another clear step forward at Silverstone, with upgrades coupled with a circuit that suits its car leaving it in the mix with Ferrari and Red Bull throughout the weekend so far. Hamilton felt he was in with a chance of the front row in a wet qualifying but says the timing of his final attempt limited him after he aborted when set for a bigger gain on his previous lap.
“The team have worked incredibly hard with some upgrades for this weekend. We had a bunch of parts around the car and the car has improved but we still have bouncing in the corners which is where, particularly, the Red Bull was pulling away from us,” Hamilton said. “In the rain we were fighting for the front row and it was all the way up to the second to last lap we were up, but I was asked to back off and wait for the last lap, but then it rained, so that was a bit unfortunate.
“I wanted to go to a more racy power mode for the last lap, charging the battery, etc. and as we did that it rained a bit more on the last lap. I was really so hopeful because we have got this incredible crowd and all of a sudden I was in the fight so I was feeling great, going second by 0.02s or something, so I thought I could definitely go quicker. I think I was two tenths up so I backed off to go again on the next lap but it wasn’t to be.”
Given the trend for Mercedes to be more competitive in races than qualifying, Hamilton is targeting an attacking race on Sunday to try and fight forward against the two Red Bull and Ferrari cars.
“It makes it a little bit harder tomorrow but still we have got a good race car and will continue to work. It is not the worst position to start of course, and in the past races I would’ve been super happy with that. Of course, it is the British Grand Prix and you are hopeful for something more. I think I was on course for that. Anyway, we move forwards and I will try to pull something special out for tomorrow.
“I don’t know if we can challenge for a win. The Red Bulls are so quick in the dry. They are pulling away on the straights and through the high speed [corners] as they don’t have any bouncing, whereas we have bouncing here, particularly in the corners, and that is where they are pulling away from me.
“I think our race pace was a little bit better yesterday. I still think they are ahead but let’s see. I am hoping we are a little bit closer on race pace compared to the last race, and if we are and I can just hold on to them, maybe we can somehow progress. I will be aggressive tomorrow.”