Silverstone (CNN)Lewis Hamilton was rewarded with pole position and a standing ovation after a blistering qualifying run ahead of the British Grand Prix.
British GP: Lewis Hamilton makes the most of home advantage to take pole
It is surreal to hear the crowd clap and whistle every time the world champion flies past -- can he really hear under the hybrid engine roar? -- but that is exactly what happens on Hamilton's home turf at Silverstone.
Mercedes' championship leader gave the crowd an extra thrill by taking pole position for Sunday's race in one minute, 32.248 seconds, eclipsing his title rival Nico Rosberg by 0.113s.
"It's a special day to take pole position when you see all those fans out there," said Hamilton, who was born just 50 miles (80km) from the English circuit.
"They really do motivate me through the weekend. It's the banners that are out there, the team caps, the flags, that buzz.
"They're right behind you so I hope that wave of energy will help carry me through tomorrow."
Hamilton powered to his 46th career pole to put himself third on the all-time list behind Michael Schumacher (68) and Ayrton Senna (65).
The British racer had lagged behind Rosberg in Friday practice but Hamilton's crew changed his car ahead of qualifying, which gave him the edge Saturday.
"Lewis was just one tenth quicker, which is annoying, but that's the way it is," commented Rosberg.
"On the last run, there was something wrong with my left front [tire], something very wrong, I don't know what it was."
Brazilian Felipe Massa pulled out the best qualifying performance of his career at Silverstone to finish third for popular British team, Williams.
Massa and his Finnish teammate Valtteri Bottas underlined Williams' surge in form by beating both Ferraris, who had tantalized as potential title rivals to Mercedes in the early part of the season.
Kimi Raikkonen out qualified his Ferrari teammate Sebastian Vettel in fifth.
It was a solid statement of intent from the Scuderia's 2007 world champion who arrived in Britain swarmed by speculation over his future with the Italian team.
Dany Kvayt will start the race seventh for Red Bull Racing ahead of promising Toro Rosso rookie driver Carlos Sainz.
Force India's Nico Hulkenberg and Daniel Ricciardo, whose fastest time for Red Bull was deleted because he drove outside the track limits in the final phase of qualifying, completed the top-10.