LEWIS HAMILTON stormed to pole at rainy Silverstone to put himself in prime position for a historic fifth British Grand Prix win tomorrow.
The Brit clocked a 1:26.600 to start Sunday’s race at the front of the grid as he looks to eat into Sebastian Vettel’s title lead.
Hamilton drew criticism earlier this week for skipping an event in London this week to go on holiday.
But the Mercedes driver was cheered to pole by his adoring home crowd and will be going for a fourth straight win at Silverstone.
Hamilton joined Jim Clark with five pole positions in the British Grand Prix.
Victory tomorrow would draw Hamilton level with Clark and Alain Prost on five British Grand Prix wins.
Clark is the only man to win four in a row, a feat Hamilton hopes to repeat on Sunday.
Hamilton said: “We always try and save the best until last. I needed to make sure I got that lap in. I didn’t do it in the last race so I needed to do it this weekend.
“I generally like it to be dry but these tricky English conditions are what I grew up in.
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“The long runs were looking great so I need to make sure I do it tomorrow for these guys (the crowd).”
Hamilton escaped punishment for blocking Romain Grosjean in qualifying after an investigation by the stewards threatened to rain on his parade.
Championship leader Vettel will start third on the grid behind Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen.
Mercedes were quicker than Ferrari all weekend in practice, and Hamilton had half second in hand on Raikkonen and Vettel.
Valtteri Bottas was fourth fastest but will take a five-place grid penalty for a change of gearbox.
Max Verstappen qualified in fifth in his Red Bull for Sunday’s race.
Fernando Alonso provided the entertainment in Q1 as he topped the time sheets on a drying track.
The McLaren driver, who has endured another frustrating season in an underperforming car, just made it over the line in time with less than a second to spare to begin his flying lap.
And with the track drying after drizzle during the first part of qualifying, Alonso took advantage.
Unfortunately for the Spaniard his efforts meant very little with a 30-place grid penalty for going over his engine limits forcing him to start from the back of the grid.
Stoffel Vandoorne out-qualified his McLaren team-mate Alonso for the first time this season by making it into Q3 and finishing ninth.
Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo, meanwhile, missed out on Q3 for the first time since 2015 38 races ago as his car ground to a halt in Q1.
Follow SunSport’s dedicated F1 live blog here for all the Silverstone drama