British crowd makes me faster – Hamilton

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The British Grand Prix, which starts at 13:00 BST, is live on radio 5 live and the BBC Sport website

Lewis Hamilton said he believed the support of the crowd helped give him extra speed, after he secured pole for Sunday’s British Grand Prix.

The Mercedes driver was 0.547 seconds faster than Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen in second and 0.776secs clear of team-mate Valtteri Bottas, who was fourth.

Hamilton likened the support to that 1992 champion Nigel Mansell received.

“Nigel said it gives you a second. Maybe it’s half a second. It feels like it gives you something,” he said.

“It is so energising. You carry that energy. I think that applies to life in general. If you are feeling positive on a day, your day just generally goes a lot better, or if you are around positive people you generally have a better day.”

Mansell said the crowd gave him an extra second a lap…
…well, those who hadn’t gone for a hotdog

Hamilton said he felt “really privileged” to have had the support of the Silverstone crowd over the past decade.

“It’s been an amazing weekend,” he said. “The crowd is incredible. Even though we experience it every year, it blows me away just to see the amount of flags and support.

“If I step out the front of my garage, when I am driving around the track, I can see them waving. I am waving to them.=

“There is no other driver on the grid that gets what I get here at any other grand prix and that is something really special.”

Hamilton said the lap that sealed his pole position was “spectacular” but emphasised the race was a long way from won.

But he added he would have an advantage over Raikkonen and Ferrari team-mate Sebastian Vettel, who qualified third and is 20 points ahead of Hamilton in the championship, as long as he made a good start.

“The start’s going to be important,” he said. “They are very quick in the race. Provided I can get out in front I think I can give them a real good run for their money. I can’t say right now whether I can pull away. That would be the plan.”

Last year Lewis Hamilton celebrated victory at the British Grand Prix by crowd surfing

Hamilton has been criticised in certain sections of the media for not attending an F1 promotional event in London on Wednesday. He was the only driver not to take part.

But his decision, which Hamilton said he made to ensure he was best prepared for the British Grand Prix, was defended by team boss Toto Wolff, who described the criticisms as “an insult”.

“There were some rubbish stories out there that there was any relationship problem between Lewis and the team or Lewis and myself,” Wolff said. “None of this; on the contrary.

“We had a chat at the beginning of the week about whether it was good or not good to go to the event.

Hamilton could equal Jim Clark’s British GP win record on Sunday

“After five years together the most important thing is that he feels at ease. That is the reason he extracts performance on the race weekends.

“Questioning whether a three-time world champion that has just broken Ayrton Senna’s pole record and is going to beat [Michael] Schumacher’s record, understands how he is going to prepare himself is an insult.

“This is how I operate the team. I give him freedom to organise his days in a way he wants and if he feels that staying away from a Formula 1 environment, being with his friends, helps him overcome what has been hard weekends in the past and helps him to extract performance in Silverstone then so be it.

“I was always perfectly fine with it. We flagged the risks that it could be seen as not right to attend the event in London. We were there, we had a car there, Valtteri was there, I was there.

“And I found it a great event, what the organisers have done is amazing and it is something we should be doing in many cities and certainly again in London but in the team and between us that was never an issue. He has been in a great place all season albeit difficult moments we had in the team.”

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