Rosberg on Silverstone pole
A downbeat Lewis Hamilton is prepared for another salvage operation on Sunday following his latest hot-lap howler.
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Hamilton has often declared himself to be a fighter, someone who never gives up no matter the situation, but those words were at odds with his actions in a qualifying session to forget at the British Grand Prix.
Ahead of his home race at Silverstone, and with the majority of an 85,000 crowd roaring him on, Hamilton had stated it was time for him 'to start pulling out the good laps" in qualifying after recent errors in Canada and Austria had wrecked his bid for pole.
The conditions were tricky, with sprinklings of light rain appearing over various parts of the track at differing stages, meaning a damp section one minute could be dry a few minutes later.
Such circumstances caught out Hamilton as his first lap in the final part of qualifying put him on pole, albeit despite a slow and wet final sector.
Come the second run, it appeared almost impossible for the 29-year-old to be dislodged, but no-one was aware that last sector had dried out considerably.
With Hamilton slower through the first sector, he opted to back off along Wellington Straight, whereas Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg flashed by.
As Hamilton toured round, so his name dropped down the timesheet as drivers ahead all went quicker, ultimately resting at sixth, and with the ignominy of seeing Rosberg claim pole.
It was the latest miserable mistake from Hamilton that could again cost him dear in the race, and in the championship also as the 29-point gap to Rosberg is poised to increase further.
"It just didn't feel good. That's all I can say," said Hamilton as he attempted to explain away his error.
Asked as to where Hamilton the fighter had disappeared to, he replied: "I did go for it, but I lost a lot of time at the beginning of the lap and I was already one and a half seconds down, so....
"I've never in my life given up, and today wasn't the case. I just chose not to do the lap.
"It wasn't feeling right, it wasn't quicker, and I had no information from the team the last sector was going to be four to five seconds faster.
"I'm not saying it was their fault. I should have done the lap, and now I have to move on, move forward and salvage what I can from the race.
"I'll give everything I can. I imagine Nico will sail off into the distance and I'll have to try and wriggle my way through the guys in front. That's really my main focus.
"Tomorrow is going to be damage limitation again."
Three-times world champion Sir Jackie Stewart has suggested Hamilton is starting to crack psychologically in his battle for the title with Rosberg.
Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff is adamant that is far from the case as he said: "I remember we had the discussion a few races ago that was quite the opposite, when Lewis was on a roll, that he was unbeatable.
"So you can never write off guys of this level. It was just bad luck today, with qualifying extremely difficult to read.
"It was a tiny misjudgement, and we should question ourselves as to whether we should have assisted a bit more at that stage.
"But what happened was so surprising with the way the last sector dried out, so I don't think it's a question he is not focused enough.
"I think he is in a good place."
For the fourth successive race the advantage rests with Rosberg, who drew inspiration from basketball legend Michael Jordan as he debated whether or not to venture back on track for a second lap.
"The tendency was to stay in the garage, but a Michael Jordan quote came into my mind which was 'you miss 100 per cent of the shots you don't take'," said Rosberg.
"So I said to the guys if we go out at least there's a small chance, if we stay in the garage there's no chance.
"So I was all for going out, they thought about it, and then they made the call to go out. It was great teamwork and a great decision in the end."
From his fourth pole of the season, Rosberg lines up ahead of Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel and Jenson Button in his McLaren, the 34-year-old veteran's highest grid slot since the final race of 2012.
Marussia's Max Chilton qualified a superb 13th, but drops five places due to a gearbox change during final practice.
Hamilton, meanwhile, was not the only man who made a mistake as both Williams and Ferrari were found guilty of errors in Q1.
After locking out the front row in Austria, Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa qualified 17th and 18th for Williams, with Ferrari duo Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen 19th and 20th.