Lewis Hamilton stuns at Silverstone as he beats Max Verstappen ahead of British Grand Prix

F1: Can Lewis Hamilton do it again?

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Lewis Hamilton will start at the front of the grid ahead for Saturday’s sprint qualifying race as he was cheered on by thousands of home fans ahead of the British Grand Prix on Sunday as he stunned around Silverstone

Hamilton lit up the timing screens on his final run, and was on course to better his time of a 1:26.7706s, but was hampered by a huge slide in the final sector, but it was enough to beat championship leader Max Verstappen, who starts second for tomorrow’s sprint.

Hamilton’s team-mate Valtteri Bottas will line up third on the grid tomorrow, in a 17 lap race that will decide Sunday’s grid for the British Grand Prix.

Cheers echoed around Silverstone, as Hamilton climbed out of the car, with Union Jack flags fluttering in the Silverstone breeze, as the sun beamed down on the world champion, who thanked the fans for their input.

“I’m so grateful to see everyone here,” said Hamilton.

“We’ve missed you for a whole year so to come to the Silverstone Grand Prix and have a full crowd like this, you see the energy.

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“And when I was coming into it I was hopeful that with the great work that we’ve done together with the team, plus the energy of the fans will get us there, so this is down to the fans.”

Mercedes had looked like they were on the backfoot compared to Red Bull, as Verstappen set the fastest time on Friday morning, with Hamilton down in third.

However, with some added upgrades this weekend, the seven-time will start tomorrow’s sprint from the top spot, as Verstappen set a 1:26.751s, +0.075s behind the Briton.

“I was in the sim this morning, just use it as a practice session because it’s the first time we’ve ever had a morning free and just putting in the time just trying to give absolutely everything, leave no stone unturned and so that first lap was great.

“The second one was looking even better but just lost the back end in that last corner so my heart was in my mouth as I came across the line.

“But I could see the crowd and it was really reminiscent of my first poll here in 2007, I just said I couldn’t have done it without all these guys here so they thank you.

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Hamilton, who currently sits 32 points behind Verstappen in his bid to become an eight-time world champion, has recently admitted he’s been spending more time in the simulator, to try and close the gap on Red Bull this season.

And the 36-year-old said he’s pleased to see the hard work paying off.

“I was in the factory, on the same on, on Tuesday. And again, as I said we had this morning free and I was like, Look, I’m not gonna sit around and waste time, let’s get to it.

“So we did a practice session this morning on there, and also just trying to develop it trying to give the guys as much information as possible so as we’re developing the car.

“We’re squeezing absolutely everything, every ounce of performance from this thing, it was holding together today so I’m over the moon.

Hamilton last beat Verstappen to the top spot back in Spain, with Red Bull dominating the past six races.

And the Briton said it felt special to start their fightback at his home Grand Prix.

“It has been such a long time, it feels like such a long time since, since we’ve been able to get anywhere near, so this is incredibly special and obviously to do it on your own turf, there’s no greater feeling.

“But that’s only one step forward, we’ve got that race tomorrow which is going to be incredibly tough, but I think I’ve got the car into a good place.

“But that’s the work gets done, these next two days.”

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