Lewis Hamilton was delighted after securing a place on the second row of the grid for Sunday's F1 2010 British Grand Prix and has thanked his home supporters for really spurring him on.
McLaren opted to abandon running with its new 'blown diffuser' following practice on Friday [see separate story - click here
], however, that meant the team only had final practice this morning to get the MP4-25 properly set-up.
Hamilton was only seventh in FP3, but he fought back in qualifying and finished the top-ten shoot-out fourth overall on a 1 minute 30.566 seconds - just 0.130 seconds off Fernando Alonso, who was third for Ferrari, behind the ever-dominant Red Bulls.
“Fourth position makes me happy like you wouldn't believe!” Hamilton said. “And I'm so proud of my team. They've been pushing so hard all year, but in the last couple of weeks, they've pushed longer and harder than ever to get the upgrade package here.
“The new parts are an improvement, but we just weren't able to get them all to work properly yesterday. And while that meant we had to take most of them off last night, the team still did a remarkable job to get us ready for qualifying this afternoon.
“We knew we were some way off the Red Bulls on sheer pace, so my grid position was really down to getting as good a lap as possible around here.
“And, honestly, I reckon this is the best lap I've ever done – and it's down to all the fans around here: the support around this track is like nowhere else. British race fans are the best by far. I had to nail that lap as if my life depended on it – and I don't know how I managed to get so far up the grid. I'm so happy. The guys in front are faster than us, but this race isn't over.”
McLaren boss, Martin Whitmarsh meanwhile described Hamilton's performance as 'superb' and he also paid tribute to the whole team for pulling out all the stops after the decision was made to revert to the old style diffuser.
“With extremely limited testing opportunities and a big upgrade package to develop, we were always going to be up against it this weekend – and so it proved. Nonetheless, I want to pay tribute to the indefatigable work ethic of all at Vodafone McLaren Mercedes,” Whitmarsh continued.
“Everyone has made a truly enormous effort – and, although we had hoped to qualify rather more impressively than we did here at our home grand prix, everyone did an absolutely fantastic job when you consider that we found ourselves on the back foot this morning with an untried configuration to take into qualifying.
“Moreover, Lewis drove superbly this afternoon to record a seriously impressive second-row grid slot, and will be pushing as hard as ever to convert that starting position into a significant points haul tomorrow afternoon.”