Lewis Hamilton claims 2017 British Grand Prix Silverstone pole position
PUBLISHED: 16:37 15 July 2017 | UPDATED: 14:54 16 July 2017
Formula One racer Lewis Hamilton stormed to pole position in qualifying for the 2017 British Grand Prix at Silverstone with a blistering lap.
The 32-year-old Mercedes F1 driver from Hertfordshire claimed his fifth British GP pole position – and his 67th career pole – with a stunning lap around Silverstone in Q3 today.
Hamilton’s fifth British Grand Prix pole equals the great Jim Clark’s long-time British GP pole record and moves him within one pole of Michael Schumacher’s all-time record of 68.
The three-time world champion clocked 1m 26.600s to beat the Ferraris to first place in qualifying by more than half a second.
Kimi Raikkonen qualified second in the provisional results with a lap of 1m 27.147s.
World championship leader Sebastian Vettel will line-up on the second row of the starting grid after qualifying third with a time of 1m 27.356s.
Hamilton’s Silver Arrows colleague Valtteri Bottas was fourth quickest in qualifying, but will start Sunday’s race from ninth after taking a five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change.
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen was fifth fastest in Q3 ahead of the Renault of Nico Hulkenberg.
Afterwards, Hamilton said: “This is definitely the best position to start from [P1]. I need to make sure I do it tomorrow for these fans.”
Hamilton’s sixth pole of the season is the eighth in 10 races for the Silver Arrows in 2017.
He completed three runs in Q1 (Soft and Intermediate), two runs in Q2 (SuperSoft) and two runs in Q3 (SuperSoft).
Hamilton said: “I can’t really explain in words just how good that pole feels. A fifth Silverstone pole, equal with Jim Clark, it just feels crazy to me – it’s surreal to be up there with these legends.
“I’m so happy with how this weekend has gone.
“We started on the right foot straight from FP1 and we’ve built up from there.
“I loved the conditions in Q1 – it’s tough but those changeable conditions are so much fun.
“Then it was all about pushing to the limit as the track dried out, extracting everything out of the car.”
He added: “Everything has just been so perfect and I knew it was a spectacular lap – I knew that had to be it.
“I feel like I’m driving the best I’ve ever driven, so I hope the results start to show that.
“It’s been super tight recently, so to end up with a gap of seven-tenths to the Ferraris is a nice surprise.”
Hamilton held on to pole after stewards took no further action against the Mercedes driver for allegedly blocking Romain Grosjean.
“I would never intentionally get in the way of anyone,” said Hamilton.
“I don’t think I was in the way of Romain, but if I was I apologise.”
He added: “The home support has been incredible and I’m so proud to take pole here again.
“It blows me away to see all of the flags. There’s nowhere else in the world where a driver gets this kind of love and support.”
Bottas completed three runs in Q1 (two Intermediate, one Soft), two Soft runs in Q2 and two SuperSoft runs in Q3.
The Finn said: “Qualifying was tough. It’s not ideal to be starting P9 but we start tomorrow on a different tyre to the cars ahead of us, which could offer up some good opportunities to move forward.
“The Soft should be a good race tyre and I know anything is possible from there.
“I’ll have to be careful to not get stuck behind traffic, but that Soft tyre should give me the opportunity to move forward as others stop.
“The balance of the car wasn’t bad, but I really struggled for grip.
“The lock-up at Turn 3 on the final run cost me a bit of time, but it doesn’t explain the gap to the front.”
Bottas added: “Lewis seemed to be able to get the heat into the tyres better than me today in the cooler conditions after the rain.
“I just didn’t have enough grip to compete for pole as the track dried out. We’ll look into that tonight.
“We definitely have a strong car here and we’ve been competitive all weekend, so I’ll be pushing all out tomorrow to make up some ground.”
Team boss Toto Wolff described Hamilton’s pole lap as “fantastic”.
The Mercedes chief said: “That was a really fantastic performance from Lewis.
“As he was on the final lap, we could hear the excitement from the crowd in the garage; I think this is the only country in the world where the grandstands cheer the sector times in qualifying!
“But Lewis put everything together at the right moment and delivered something really spectacular for the fans.”
Wolff added: “As for Valtteri, he had a tougher job today, jumping between the tyre compounds so he could start the race on the soft tyre.
“It is not easy to put the laps together when you have this moving target of grip and it was particularly hard to see him lose out to Vettel by just two hundredths.
“But that is what it is and starting on the offset tyre compound will give him opportunities to make progress tomorrow.”
Mercedes technical director James Allison hailed Hamilton’s “flawless” flying lap.
He said: “Lewis did an epic job. It was a flawless final run and good to see him put a decent stretch of clean water between himself and the opposition, demonstrating both his and the car’s pace.”