Max Verstappen said he had doubts over the effectiveness of his brakes on the opening lap after they alighted on the starting grid at Silverstone.
Verstappen’s brakes began smoking heavily as he waited for the rest of the pack to form during the build-up to Formula 1’s inaugural Sprint and a small fire eventually started.
Despite the potential setback Verstappen was able to prise the lead away from Lewis Hamilton off the line and then kept the Briton at bay through the following corners.
Verstappen stretched his advantage and went on to lead all 17 laps in order to claim pole position for the grand prix.
“I was really worried,” he said. “A little bit of fire is OK but at one point it was becoming quite big and I was just looking in my mirror to the guys at the back, I was like please speed up, speed up.
“I was not sure going into Turn 3 that my brakes were going to work but luckily it didn’t do too much damage.
“I saw a few people on the grandstands taking pictures when the brakes were on fire so for sure they have a good few shots there.”
Verstappen was pursued by Hamilton throughout the 17-lap Sprint and the duo were separated by only 1.4s at its conclusion.
The Dutchman stretched his title advantage to 33 points and has not been beaten in race spec since a tyre failure pitched him out in Azerbaijan.
He is nonetheless anticipating another close scrap with Hamilton in Sunday’s grand prix.
“It seems like we’re quite quick through corners, they’re quick on the straights this weekend,” he said.
“After only one free practice session, and then you’re not allowed to make any changes and you don’t get it right, you’re a bit stuck, so we’re a bit stuck on the straights so that’s why we have to make up the time in the corners.
“It seemed like in this more or less flat out race because you cannot really call it flat out, but at least pushing more, the pace was alright but I still expect it with the pit stops coming into play or two pit stops, who knows. It’s again going to be a good fight.”