Formula 1

Hamilton Hoping for Wet Race After Disappointing Qualifying at Home Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton has said that he is hoping for rain tomorrow at the British Grand Prix – a race he will start from P10 after a disappointing qualifying session.

“I enjoyed the changeable weather conditions today, but it's disappointing to have ended up so far behind,” said the McLaren driver, looking back on the qualifying session at Silverstone. “For Q3, we fitted a used set of Options for our first run when the others ran new tyres, and that hurt our performance. Then, when we fitted new tyres for the final run, it started raining so I couldn't improve my time.

“I think there are a couple of guys in front of me who ought to be slower than me, so I'll do my best to make progress in the early laps even though overtaking here is difficult. I hope we can still have an exciting race, but it'll be tricky. I guess I'll be hoping for rain tomorrow to increase my chances of getting a good result.

“Nevertheless, the fans here are the best in the world – they're sensational in fact – and they'll spur me on in the race. I really hope I can do something special for them tomorrow.”

Team-mate Jenson Button will start the race from fifth. He suspects that his qualifying position was not helped by the sudden change in regulations regarding the off-throttle blown diffusers.

“Today was a bit of a topsy-turvy day,” he said. “The balance of our car wasn't great, and it's always difficult when you find out at the last minute what you're running: it isn't a matter of a mere flick of a switch to change things.

“For some teams, the tightening of the regulations helped; but it hurt others. So I guess fifth place feels just about okay after what we've been through in the past few days.

“Hopefully, we can still take the fight to the guys in front at our home grand prix, and give the famous Silverstone crowd something to shout about.”

Team principal Martin Whitmarsh said that changing conditions both on and off the track did not help the team today, but is still optimistic that his two drivers can get something out of the race tomorrow.

“Clearly, we'd intended to qualify better than fifth and 10th for our home grand prix, so inevitably today's qualifying session was a disappointing one,” he said.

“It's been a difficult day, blighted by a lot of to-ing and fro-ing in relation to the regulations, and compromised by equally changeable weather conditions.

“That combination made things difficult for everyone, and the shape of tomorrow's grid was always likely to be tricky to predict as a result.

“But tomorrow is what really matters, and in Jenson and Lewis we've got two of the most skilful and most combative racers in the sport today. I know how dearly they'd love to be able to put on a good show in front of the most knowledgeable and most supportive spectators in Formula 1, and you can be absolutely certain that they'll be giving it 100 per cent as soon as the five red lights go out on the startline gantry at 1.00pm tomorrow – and so will everyone else at Vodafone McLaren Mercedes.”

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