F1: Lewis storms to his fifth British Grand Prix pole at Silverstone
Saturday Jul 15th 2017 – Lewis claimed his 67th career pole position – his fifth at the Silverstone Circuit and sixth of the 2017 season. Equalling the great Jim Clark’s long-time British GP pole record and moves him within one pole of Michael Schumacher’s all-time record of 68.
I can’t really explain in words just how good that pole feels. A fifth Silverstone pole, equal with Jim Clark, it just feels crazy to me – it’s surreal to be up there with these legends. I’m so happy with how this weekend has gone. We started on the right foot straight from FP1 and we’ve built up from there. I loved the conditions in Q1 – it’s tough but those changeable conditions are so much fun. Then it was all about pushing to the limit as the track dried out, extracting everything out of the car. Everything has just been so perfect and I knew it was a spectacular lap – I knew that had to be it. I feel like I’m driving the best I’ve ever driven, so I hope the results start to show that. It’s been super tight recently, so to end up with a gap of seven tenths to the Ferraris is a nice surprise. I would never intentionally get in the way of anyone. I don’t think I was in the way of Romain, but if I was I apologise. The home support has been incredible and I’m so proud to take pole here again. It blows me away to see all of the flags. There’s nowhere else in the world where a driver gets this kind of love and support.
Qualifying was tough. It’s not ideal to be starting P9 but we start tomorrow on a different tyre to the cars ahead of us, which could offer up some good opportunities to move forward. The Soft should be a good race tyre and I know anything is possible from there. I’ll have to be careful to not get stuck behind traffic, but that Soft tyre should give me the opportunity to move forward as others stop. The balance of the car wasn’t bad, but I really struggled for grip. The lock-up at Turn 3 on the final run cost me a bit of time, but it doesn’t explain the gap to the front. Lewis seemed to be able to get the heat into the tyres better than me today in the cooler conditions after the rain. I just didn’t have enough grip to compete for pole as the track dried out. We’ll look into that tonight. We definitely have a strong car here and we’ve been competitive all weekend, so I’ll be pushing all out tomorrow to make up some ground.
That was a really fantastic performance from Lewis. As he was on the final lap, we could hear the excitement from the crowd in the garage; I think this is the only country in the world where the grandstands cheer the sector times in qualifying! But Lewis put everything together at the right moment and delivered something really spectacular for the fans. As for Valtteri, he had a tougher job today, jumping between the tyre compounds so he could start the race on the soft tyre. It is not easy to put the laps together when you have this moving target of grip and it was particularly hard to see him lose out to Vettel by just two hundredths. But that is what it is and starting on the offset tyre compound will give him opportunities to make progress tomorrow.