Lewis Hamilton said he needed a “mental reset” in the wake of his Q2 off as he stormed to pole position for Formula 1’s British Grand Prix.
Hamilton trailed Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas in both Q1 and Q2, including a spin through Luffield that caused a red flag as he dragged gravel back onto the track.
But in Q3 Hamilton led the way as he twice broke the track record, winding up with a best time of 1:24.303, 0.313s faster than Bottas.
It marked his seventh pole position at the event and the 91st of his career.
“We made some changes to the car going into qualifying and it felt worse, so it was a real struggle out there in the first two sessions,” said Hamilton.
“At this track, there can be a headwind, tailwind and crosswind all at different parts of the circuit, so it’s like juggling balls whilst you are on a moving plate.
“Qualifying is a lot about building confidence and after that spin in Q2, I had to take some deep breaths, compose myself and mentally reset – especially knowing Valtteri was putting in fast lap after fast lap.
“Q3 started off well, the first lap was nice and clean, but the second one was even better.”
Bottas felt that increased oversteer from the W11 as the session developed compromised his prospects.
“It’s disappointing to be second but the reality is that Lewis found more time in Q3, I just couldn’t quite catch him.” He said.
“He did a really good job today and deserves to be on pole.
“It was a pretty smooth session and I had some clean laps in Q1 and Q2 – the car felt pretty good out there.
“But I had a harder time in Q3 as I struggled to attack the slow-speed corners and the rear end was drifting more than before.
“But tomorrow is what counts and I think my long-run performance has been really good this weekend. I believe there will be opportunities, and everything is still wide open, so I’m looking forward to it.”