British GP: Hamilton takes pole position

Updated: 08 July 2007 12:54 IST

Lewis Hamilton wants to become the first Englishman since Damon Hill in 1994 to win the British Grand Prix.


Lewis Hamilton wants to become the first Englishman since Damon Hill in 1994 to win the British Grand Prix.

Hamilton took the pole position Saturday in his first Formula One race in his homeland, and later attributed his success to the support of the crowd at the Silverstone circuit.

"You definitely get a confidence boost and you feel the support," he said. "It is not just a certain group of people in the stands or certain places. Here it is the whole grandstand. It's been fantastic and I really do appreciate the support.

"To see the amount of support I get and see the flags waving. I get a big buzz from that and get a lot of energy."

Hamilton timed 1 minute, 19.997 seconds in his McLaren on the 5.1-kilometer (3.2-mile) circuit as time ran out in the qualifying session to edge Kimi Raikkonen of Ferrari by 0.102 seconds.

Hamilton will now try to extend his perfect eight-for-eight streak of top-three finishes in his rookie F1 season. He leads the driver standings with 64 points, 14 ahead of Fernando Alonso and 17 in front of Felipe Massa with nine races remaining.

"It was an extremely tense qualifying session. It was all down to the last lap," Hamilton said. "I really had to pull it all out. I came to the first corner and I tried to do it quicker than ever and tried to maintain that pace."

Alonso third

Alonso, the two-time champion with Renault before moving to McLaren this season, was third in 1:20.147. He had led with times of 1:19.330 and 1:19.152 in the first two sessions that eliminate the six slowest cars.

Massa was fourth for Ferrari in 1:20.265 ahead of Sunday's 60-lap race.

It was the third pole this season for Hamilton - after the races in Canada and the United States that he went on to win - and he received a huge ovation from the packed stands as he came back to the pits.

"I saw the reaction of the fans. It was a great buzz," Hamilton said. "I nearly lost my voice. I came across the line and I was screaming just as loud as them. I turned the radio off and shouted 'Yes!" I was shouting all the way around. It's a long lap."

Last year, Alonso won the pole and the race in the middle of a string of victories to establish a big lead in the standings.

Raikkonen, who won last week's French GP, was the fastest in practice Saturday before qualifying and one of Friday's two sessions. He said he made a mistake on the final turn.

"I just ran wide onto the grass," Raikkonen said. "There is nothing we can change anymore. Hopefully we can get the good start. It's a long race."

It will be the first time that Raikkonen starts on the front row since the opening race of the 2007 season when he won the Australian GP from the pole. Last week, the Finn started from third and overtook Hamilton on the first lap and Massa at the second pit stop to win in France.

Alonso struggled in Friday's practice sessions, finishing fourth and sixth.

"Yesterday, I wasn't quite happy with the car. Overnight we did some changes," Alonso said. "The car was really different and I was able to enjoy the lap. Today, I found a pretty different car and much quicker."

Hamilton also had some problems.

"Throughout the weekend, I have been struggling to fine-tune the car," Hamilton said. "I have been losing two-tenths (of a second) in the first sector, especially to Fernando."

The battle for supremacy between Ferrari and McLaren has been overshadowed this week by sabotage allegations which involved another team on Friday.

FIA, motor sport's governing body, plans to hold an investigation after Ferrari fired technician Nigel Stepney for allegedly sending a package of technical information to McLaren employee Mike Coughlan.

Honda released a statement stating that team boss Nick Fry had met Stepney and Coughlan, who has been suspended by McLaren, in June to discuss job opportunities at Honda.

"Honda would like to stress that at no point during the meeting was any confidential information offered or received," the statement said. "Nick Fry informed (Ferrari boss) Jean Todt and (McLaren boss) Ron Dennis of the meeting and has offered to provide any information required by Ferrari and McLaren."

Police searched Stepney's home in Italy on June 21 and again on Thursday. He was also officially informed he was under investigation after returning to Italy from the Philippines late Thursday.

Topics : Formula 1 Narain Karthikeyan Lewis Hamilton Michael Schumacher Giancarlo Fisichella Jenson Button
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