LEWIS HAMILTON has promised to come out swinging in Sunday’s British GP after a downpour dampened the party at Silverstone.
The seven-time world champion had looked good for a second-spot on the grid alongside Max Verstappen.
Hamilton will try to complete ‘something special’ during Sunday’s race
It was a tantalising prospect given it was an accident between the two here 12 months ago that lit the touchpaper to their explosive battle that culminated in the epic finale.
But sadly there was no repeat as the heavens opened before qualifying, which made things a lottery.
Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz took the first pole of his career while Verstappen was second. Hamilton is down in fifth, but is definitely NOT out.
He said: “I don’t know if we can challenge for a win, the Red Bulls are so quick but our race pace was better on Friday.
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“I am hoping we are a little bit closer than the last race. If we are and I can somehow hold on to them, maybe somehow I can progress. I will be aggressive.
“In the rain we were fighting for the front row until that second to last lap we were up there.
“I was told to back off and wait for the last lap but then it rained again, which is a bit unfortunate.
“I was so hopeful because we have this incredible crowd and I was in the fight. I was feeling great.
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“I was only 0.2 seconds behind and I could definitely go quicker than that.
“It makes it a little bit harder tomorrow but still we have a good race car.
“It is not the worst position to start and in the last races would have been super happy but because it is the British GP you are hopeful for something more.
“I was on course for that but we move forward and I will try to pull something special out tomorrow.”
Hamilton has reason to feel optimistic. The last time he wasn’t on the front row of the grid at Silverstone was in 2014, also mixed up because of the rain.
He also started on row three but still managed to fight back to win the race.
If he doesn’t win on Sunday, it would be his 11th race without a victory – his longest ever winless run in F1.
Verstappen was BOOED again by the British fans, perhaps still feeling upset by the way the Dutchman won the title last year in such controversial circumstances.
Not that the Red Bull man is too bothered by the hecklers, for he has thick skin.
He said: “It was a bit disappointing because I couldn’t really understand.
“If they want to boo, they do it. I’m always happy to be here, it’s a great track, a great atmosphere in general.
“Maybe some of them don’t like me, they’re all entitled to their own opinions. I don’t care.”
But Hamilton says the fans are WRONG to boo his rival and added: “We’re better than that, so I would say we don’t need to boo, but we have such great fans and they feel emotions.
“I don’t agree with booing. We should be here pushing everybody and it doesn’t make any difference if they have already made a mistake or whatever it is.
“I really appreciate the fans I have here and maybe some are still feeling the pain from last year still.”
Meanwhile, Ferrari’s Sainz, who will start on pole, said: “It was an emotional first pole position, especially to do it at Silverstone in the wet.
Sainz earned his first pole position in F1
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“It just feels very, very good. Towards the end I decided to push for a couple of laps and put a decent lap on the board.
“That didn’t feel amazing but it turned out to be pole position, so, it came as a bit of a surprise.”