Lewis Hamilton admits his run to a record seventh British Grand Prix pole position proved the “hardest turnaround” as he recovered from a spin midway through qualifying.
Despite beating Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas to pole, Hamilton had found himself on the back foot to the Finn in the opening two segments.
Trying to match Bottas’ laptime on the medium tyre in Q2, Hamilton lost the rear of his car on the exit of Luffield, resulting in a spin and causing a red flag due to gravel being disposed on track.
The six-time world champion responded by lapping three-tenths quicker than Bottas on his final lap in qualifying, but Hamilton conceded he was “struggling” prior to clinching his 91st career pole.
“In actual fact it really wasn’t a nice qualifying session for me,” Hamilton said, as quoted by Motorsport.com.
“I had this inconsistency with the balance of the car, I was struggling. I got into Q2 and had that big snap and spin, which is my first spin in some time.
“Luckily the tyres were fine, but then we came in and I went back out on another fresh set, which was just fine. Then it’s just really trying to recompose yourself and get yourself back aligned, because it’s about building, just building blocks when you go through qualifying.
“That was probably the hardest turnaround I would say, knowing that Valtteri had just been putting in quick lap after quick lap. So to go into Q3 with a fresh reset mentally and put in those two laps, I feel great.
“Valtteri has been pushing all weekend, he was incredibly quick here. I think I had a tenth and a half advantage to him after the first lap, and I knew that he would pick up some pace in that second run, so the pressure was still on to go out and do better.”
Hamilton credited Mercedes’ work ethic for its dominant front row lock-out as he lapped over one second faster than the next best car, continuing the team’s streak of poles at Silverstone since 2013.
“It’s pretty incredible, the performance here. This track is really one of the best tracks in the world, especially when the wind is right like today, and the temperatures are just right,” Hamilton said.
“This team is remarkable. I’m incredibly grateful to this team who continue to do a great job back at the factory, and also here during the weekends. Bit by bit we continue to step forwards.
“We’re still powering ahead, we’re not resting on the performance that we have, we’re trying to push the boundaries and the limits. That’s the most impressive thing about this team.”