F1 at Silverstone: Leiws Hamilton takes pole in last qualifying lap at British GP

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July 09, 2016 9:50 PM

F1 at Silverstone: Lewis Hamilton claimed pole position for the British Grand Prix in a dramatic late qualifying lap on Saturday.

F1 at Silverstone: Lewis Hamilton claimed pole position for the British Grand Prix in a dramatic late qualifying lap on Saturday.

Hamilton outpaced Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg by three-tenths of a second in the closing seconds of the session.

It came after his earlier fastest lap in Q3 was deleted by race stewards because he ran wide and off the circuit, leaving him 10th with only three minutes remaining.

”I ran wide and I touched the curb,” he explained. ”That pulled me further off and the car bottomed and just bounced outside. It meant big pressure. I was back sitting in the garage and I knew I couldn’t let the guys and the fans down, and I’m so grateful I got that final lap in.

”I really want to say how amazing it is to drive here and how grateful I am to all the fans here this weekend. From Thursday to today, I think it’s the biggest crowd I’ve seen – and the energy they send is amazing.”

It was Hamilton’s fourth pole at the British GP, his sixth this season, and the 55th of his Formula One career.

Meanwhile, Rosberg was called to the stewards’ office to explain an irregular slow lap. He may have breached sporting regulations for a nearly 2 1/2-minute lap during Q1. The FIA race director Charlie Whiting sent the teams a note on Friday stating the permitted maximum time was 1 minute, 45 seconds.

The rule exists to help reduce the risk of accidents caused by slow drivers interfering with others on fast laps.

The FIA said in a statement that Rosberg exceeded the permitted maximum time between two safety car lines at the start of Q1. He faces a grid penalty, reprimand or fine.

Dutch teenager Max Verstappen was third fastest, followed by Red Bull teammate Daniel Ricciardo, Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari, and Valtteri Bottas of Williams.

F1 titleholder Hamilton and series leader Rosberg are set to start together on the front row, and confirmed they understood their responsibility to avoid another collision as they race under revised teams rules of engagement, following a last-lap crash in the Austrian GP last Sunday.

”I didn’t think there was anything that needed to be cleared up,” Hamilton added. ”I will try not to be in that position again. . I can’t speak for Nico.”

Rosberg, who leads Hamilton by 11 points in the title race, was terse in his replies to questions.

Was it all clear now between him and Hamilton? ”Very clear,” he said without a smile.

While Vettel was sixth in qualifying, he will start 11th after taking a five-place penalty for a gearbox change for a second straight race.

”Today was good,” Verstappen said. ”We are strong compared to the cars behind us, but it seems like the Mercedes has a turbo button.”

Nico Hulkenberg was eighth for Force India, then the two Spaniards, Carlos Sainz of Toro Rosso and two-time champion Fernando Alonso in the resurgent McLaren Honda.

Like Hamilton, Alonso had his best lap deleted for going off the track, an action that dropped him from eighth to 10th.

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