Hamilton takes pole in Silverstone

Improving car until end of year key to title – Vettel

Improving car until end of year key to title – Vettel

Raikkonen locked his tyres and made contact with Hamilton on the opening lap, spinning the Brit and dropping him to the rear of the grid.

Hamilton has to take some of the blame for the third corner incident with Raikkonen that ended any chance of turning pole position into a fifth straight victory at the former WWII airfield.

Hamilton's Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas was third quickest, ahead of Kimi Raikkonen in the second Ferrari, Daniel Ricciardo of Red Bull and, unexpectedly, Fernando Alonso of McLaren.

Finland's Raikkonen, who was handed a 10-second penalty before finishing third, admitted he had made a mistake, while Vettel said it is "quite silly" to think there was anything deliberate. The victor was the pilot of the team Ferrari, the German Sebastian Vettel.

The Silverstone result saw Vettel open up an eight point lead over Hamilton.

The world champion, who trails Vettel by a point in the drivers' championship, increased his record total of career poles to 76 with a dazzling record lap under pressure in the closing seconds.

"It was my mistake, that's fine".

"Interesting tactics I would say from this side but we'll do what we can to fight them", Hamilton said.

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Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff also wondered whether the incident, that sent Hamilton into a spin before he fought back to second at the finish, had been deliberate or simply a sign of incompetence.

By lap 11 Hamilton was up to sixth and right back in the hunt having swept past a succession of drivers using the superior power of his Mercedes. Within ten laps he was running in the top-ten, within 15 he was snorting into the top-five.

"The fans have been incredible this weekend and I'm grateful for the England football team at least doing great this weekend and keeping it positive", said Hamilton. "I deserved it", he added of the penalty. Last of the remaining runners in 18th was the best the Russian could manage.

Then when Sauber's Marcus Ericsson skidded off with 19 laps left, Hamilton was handed another lifeline with a safety vehicle.

"I tried everything to not give up the lead, but there was nothing I could do at that point to defend against the others on the fresher tyres".

"Obviously we're in a tough battle this year and it's the most intense battle that I think we've probably all had but I'm very, very grateful that the vehicle was still in one piece after the first turn three incident".

"I'm not the stewards, I can only think they have felt it was a little more serious than what Sebastian did in France", said Whiting.

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