World champion Lewis Hamilton admitted he “wasn’t good enough” after Valtteri Bottas showed just why champions Mercedes re-signed him for 2021 earlier this week by grabbing pole position at the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix on Saturday (Aug 8).
Drawing on his reserves of courage, determination and pace, Bottas beat his championship leading team-mate and six-time world champion with a lap that Hamilton could not match.
It was his second pole in this coronavirus-delayed season and the 13th of his career as he seeks to reduce Hamilton’s 30-point lead in this year’s title race.
“At the end of the day he did a better job,” said Hamilton.
“And probably it’s also down to me just not doing a good enough job at the end. I wasn’t good enough, but it was relatively close so it’s not the end of the world.”
Hamilton qualified second to confirm a record-extending 67th front row lockout by Mercedes, but he was clearly frustrated at missing out on securing his eighth personal Silverstone pole.
“It was actually a struggle balance-wise today,” said Hamilton.
“It was not so easy to get it nailed. Yesterday was a much better day. We have a slightly different set-up, (so it will be) interesting to see how it works.”
Bottas was relieved and satisfied with his efforts.
“I just love qualifying and especially when it goes well – it’s such a good feeling and so nice to get everything out of the car and myself. We have made good steps, set-up wise, so I am pleased with that.”
The Mercedes team have dominated the season so far, winning all four races from pole position – three by Hamilton and one by Bottas.
The softer tyres introduced by Pirelli this weekend suggest a more tactical race is in prospect, as both drivers said.
“We have different tyre compounds,” said Bottas.
“So, of course, there is some more management required in certain places on the track for those and strategy is going to be different than last weekend.”
Bottas’ success brought Mercedes a record ninth consecutive Silverstone pole position and a 199th pole as an F1 engine-supplier.