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Lewis Hamilton sets new track record to grab British Grand Prix pole

Mercedes driver delivers blistering lap at Silverstone

Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton after qualifying at Silverstone on Saturday. Reuters
Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton after qualifying at Silverstone on Saturday. Reuters

Lewis Hamilton smashed the Silverstone track record to put Mercedes on pole position for his home British Grand Prix on Saturday.

Hamilton delivered a blistering lap of 1 minute 24.303 seconds at the Northamptonshire circuit to secure the 91st pole of his career and cement his status as the pre-race favourite to win at the circuit for a seventh time.

Hamilton saw off team-mate Valtteri Bottas by an impressive 0.313 seconds, with the all-black machines continuing to crush their bewildered opposition.

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen finished third, but the Dutchman was a full second slower than Hamilton. Charles Leclerc was further back in fourth for Ferrari. British driver Lando Norris finished fifth for McLaren.

Hamilton headed into the top-10 shootout at a windy Silverstone having failed to finish fastest in either of the three practice sessions, and with Bottas quickest in Q1 and Q2.

There was also the rare sight of a Hamilton spin, after the six-time world champion lost control of his Mercedes on the exit of Luffield.

Hamilton made it back to the pits as the session was halted for eight minutes to clear up the mess of gravel and stones he had left behind.

NORTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 01: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain driving the (44) Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team Mercedes W11 on track during qualifying for the F1 Grand Prix of Great Britain at Silverstone on August 01, 2020 in Northampton, England. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)
Lewis Hamilton drives at a windy Silverstone. Getty

He recovered to ensure he progressed to the final stage of qualifying and then predictably delivered when it mattered most, to claim pole on his seemingly unstoppable march towards a record-equalling seventh world championship. It also marked his seventh pole at his home race.

"It was real struggle out there," said Hamilton. "We had that spin and qualifying is about confidence.

"I was down in the first sector, too, so I don't know how but I managed to compose myself for Q3.

"Q3 started off the right way, it was a clean first lap and the second one was even better. It never gets old qualifying on pole.

"Normally you have the sirens going off, the flags, the smoke and the atmosphere is buzzing. We miss the fans here but hopefully they are happy with my turnaround watching at home."

Sebastian Vettel finished 10th, an eye-watering two seconds slower than Hamilton while Alexander Albon's rocky campaign continued as he was unable to get his Red Bull through to Q3.

Red Bull are historically ruthless in axing drivers and the London-born Albon, who qualified only 12th, faces a precarious future if his one-lap performances fail to improve.

Albon will line up one place ahead of Nico Hulkenberg. The German is deputising for Sergio Perez this weekend after the Mexican became the first Formula One driver to return a positive Covid-19 test result.

Updated: August 1, 2020 07:27 PM

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