Lewis Hamilton Takes Pole for F1 British GP for 5th Time

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain steers his car during the second free practice at the British Formula One Grand Prix at the Silverstone racetrack, Silverstone, England, Friday, July 14, 2017. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

SILVERSTONE, England (AP) — Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton took pole position for the fifth time at the British Grand Prix on Saturday, ahead of Ferrari rivals Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel in rainy conditions.

But whether Hamilton starts from the front of the grid could depend on how stewards assess his alleged blocking of Romain Grosjean’s Haas car during qualifying.

Hamilton sped around Silverstone in 1 minute, 26.6 seconds in front of his home fans. They cheered the three-time Formula One world champion at the end of a week when he faced criticism for being the only driver to snub a promotional event in London.

“I feel amazing, especially with a great crowd like this around the track,” Hamilton said. “These typical English conditions are what we grew up racing in. I’m comfortable in it.”

A banner for Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain hangs from the stands during the third free practice session for the British Formula One Grand Prix at the Silverstone racetrack in Silverstone, England, Saturday, July 15, 2017. The British Formula One Grand Prix will be held on Sunday, July 16. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

Hamilton, who is 20 points behind leader Vettel in the drivers’ championship, is now one short of Michael Schumacher’s all-time record 68 poles.

Valtteri Bottas was fourth fastest, but he has a five-place grid penalty for Sunday’s race after being forced to change the gearbox in his Mercedes.

ROB HARRIS, AP Sports Writer

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