Home favourite Lewis Hamilton swept to pole position for the British Grand Prix in style with a stunning final lap in Formula 1 qualifying at Silverstone on Saturday, finishing half a second clear of the field.

Through a qualifying session affected by early rain that made the track difficult to tame, Hamilton was able to turn in a best lap of 1:26.600 in the dying stages of Q3, pulling him half a second clear of the field.

Ferrari was unable to put up a fight to Hamilton at the front as Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel finished over half a second shy in P2 and P3 respectively, nosing ahead of Valtteri Bottas in the second Mercedes.

Bottas qualified fourth, but will drop to ninth place after a grid penalty for a gearbox change earlier this weekend.

A showstopping display by Hamilton on home soil, the three-time world champion saved his best until last to put clear air between himself and the opposition.

Though an investigation over blocking Romain Grosjean loomed in the wake of the performance, the subsequent clearing of Hamilton means he will start his home race from a 67th pole position, just one shy of equalling Michael Schumacher's record.

Somewhat surprisingly given his practice pace, the chilly conditions appeared to suit Kimi Raikkonen as he turned in the second fastest time and getting the better of Sebastian Vettel, who complained of his placement on the track for not being able to get the most from the Ferrari SF70H.

Bottas was fourth quickest, which becomes ninth once his gearbox penalty is applied, the Finn getting flexibility of starting the race on the soft tyre after using it to set his best Q2 time.

His demotion means Max Verstappen rises to fourth place on an otherwise lonely weekend for the Dutchman, while Nico Hulkenberg was an impressive sixth best for Renault, which becomes a season's best fifth.

Force India's Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon remain closely matched in what becomes sixth and seventh positions.

Reaching Q3 for only the second time this season - but getting to compete this time after a crash scuppered his hopes in Monaco - Stoffel Vandoorne gets away from a season's best eighth position after out-qualifying Fernando Alonso for the first time.

Behind the penalised Bottas, Romain Grosjean rounds out the top ten.

Though overshadowed by Hulkenberg's efforts, Jolyon Palmer will start from a positive 11th on the grid on a strong day for Renault, with Danill Kvyat 12th and Alonso going 13th ahead of his inevitable penalties.

Even so, the Spaniard thrilled the crowds in Q1 when he 'just' made it across the line to start his final lap for the session as the only driver to attempt slicks on an initially damp track. The gamble worked and Alonso would top Q1, much to the delight of the fans.

That lap would come at the expense of Lance Stroll, who would be dumped out of Q1 again in 16th position, together with Kevin Magnunssen, Pascal Wehrlein and Marcus Ericsson.

Propping up the timesheets was Daniel Ricciardo, the Australian - who came into the session facing a five place grid penalty - stopping on track with more issues. He will start on the back row of the grid.

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The Greecian holiday was good for him. I'm sure that in the race he will back them up again so that Valt can gain places? Or will it be No more mister nice guy, and he'll clear off?