Hamilton on pole for Mercedes at Silverstone

Sat Jul 9, 2016 12:04pm EDT
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By Alan Baldwin

SILVERSTONE, England (Reuters) - Lewis Hamilton put in a sensational late lap under intense pressure to seize pole position for his home British Formula One Grand Prix from Mercedes team mate and title rival Nico Rosberg on Saturday.

The triple world champion had just one chance to secure the top slot after an initial effort in the final top 10 shootout was deleted because he exceeded the track limits at Copse corner.

With championship leader Rosberg on provisional pole, and Hamilton 10th as the clock ticked away and fans held their breath, the home hero made sure of his 56th career pole and fourth at Silverstone.

"It was not the cleanest qualifying session," said Hamilton who set a time of one minute 29.287 seconds. "I touched the kerb and it just pulled me further... the car bottomed and kind of bounced just outside of the line.

"So a lot of pressure on that last lap. I was just sitting in the garage and I knew that I couldn't let the guys down... The second lap wasn't as good but I was making sure I got that lap in. I'm grateful that I did."

Huge cheers went up around the circuit as Hamilton lit up the screens, with a 140,000 crowd expecting to witness his third successive British Grand Prix win on Sunday and fourth in total.

"Lewis in Silverstone with the crowd behind him, it gives him an extra one tenth," said the team's non-executive chairman Niki Lauda.

Rosberg, who has an 11 point advantage over Hamilton after nine of 21 races, had to settle for second place on the grid.   Continued...

Britain Formula One - F1 - British Grand Prix 2016 - Silverstone, England - 9/7/16
Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton during qualifying
Reuters / Andrew Boyers