Lewis Hamilton on pole for British Grand Prix at Silverstone
Edges out Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg by four tenths of a second
World champion Sebastian Vettel third for Red Bull
Fernando Alonso will start ninth on the grid
Lewis Hamilton rode a wave of patriotic support to claim pole for his home grand prix Saturday as Mercedes occupied the first two places on the grid at Silverstone.
Hamilton produced a lap of one minute 29.07 seconds, described as “phenomenal” by three-time defending champion Sebastien Vettel, who was third fastest for Red Bull.
The 28-year-old Englishman was fully four tenths of a second faster than his teammate Nico Rosberg in claiming the 28th pole of his career and second of the 2013 season.
It was the first pole by a home driver at the British Grand Prix since Hamilton himself achieved the feat back in 2007.
Vettel, leading the title race yet again, paid compliment to Hamilton in the post race press conference, but appeared to reference the controversial Mercedes tire test earlier this season which Red Bull were particularly outspoken about.
“I don’t know if Lewis found a short cut or he just found something special here – it was a phenomenal lap,” he said.
“It is always nice to position well in qualifying here. I am looking forward to the race tomorrow and we will see how we are with looking after our tires,” he added.
Hamilton, in fourth place in the championship, will be hoping his Mercedes can find more race pace to capitalize on their qualifying speed.
“It’s an incredible feeling,” he said. “The crowd have been great – such a great turnout – that was a lap for them.
“I hope we can do something special in the race. It’s phenomenal because I haven’t been feeling 100 per cent comfortable in the car.”
Vettel’s teammate Mark Webber took fourth on the grid.
Initially Scot Paul Di Resta occupied fifth for Force India, but was later relegated to the back of the grid when his car was ruled to be under the minimum weight.
Australian Daniel Ricciardo of Toro Rosso and German Adrian Sutil in the second Force India were next fastest
Frenchman Romain Grosjean, Lotus teammate Finn Kimi Raikkonen and two-time champion Fernando Alonso of Ferrari initially filled out the top 10 before Di Resta’s demotion.
Alonso, looking to mount a sustained challenge to Vettel as per last season, was left frustrated by the lack of pace in qualifying.
“We were not competitive all weekend. We need to recover now and it was a bad Saturday,” he told reporters.
Teammate Felipe Massa will move up to 11th just behind McLaren’s Jenson Button, who had missed out on the final phase of qualifying to the disappointment of home supporters.
But Hamilton’s stellar performance left them plenty to cheer although with warmer conditions forecast for Sunday he may struggle to take full advantage if the lessons of previous races this season are any guide.