British Grand Prix: Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton shrugs off criticism after failing to clinch pole at Silvertsone

Silverstone: Lewis Hamilton brushed off questions about his lifestyle and heaped praise on his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas after the Finn had beaten him Saturday to pole position for the British Grand Prix.

The five-time world champion rejected suggestions that his regular trans-Atlantic commuting from Los Angeles to race at European Grands Prix was affecting his performances.

 British Grand Prix: Mercedes Lewis Hamilton shrugs off criticism after failing to clinch pole at Silvertsone

Lewis Hamilton qualified second for the British Grand Prix. AP/Luca Bruno

"I do have five world titles and they didn't come on their own," he said. "My preparation comes first and I've felt fantastic all weekend.

"The pressure's quite high here, being a home Grand Prix. I prepare the best I can, but I do what I want.

"I don't do what you think I should do or anyone else thinks I should do and that's what has led me to five world titles."

The questioning of his travel habits came after his former teammate and 2016 world champion Nico Rosberg said that if he had flown from Los Angeles to compete at Silverstone he would have struggled to make the top ten in qualifying.

It also followed a blistering demonstration of speed by Bottas who took pole ahead of Hamilton by just 0.006 seconds, ending the championship leader's hopes of claiming a fifth consecutive British pole and seventh overall at his home race.

Hamilton is seeking a record sixth British victory on Sunday and is 31 points ahead of Bottas in the world championship after winning six of this year's nine races.

He made a slight error on his laps in the top-ten shootout, which cost him pole, but was philosophical about both that and the veiled criticism of his lifestyle.

"I'm frustrated with myself," he said. "But it is what it is.

"It doesn't really matter at the end of the day.

"You can only look forward. Valtteri did the job, congratulations to him and for us it wasn't the best of qualifying sessions.

"It's a long race tomorrow. I hope that I'm able to utilise the advantage we have of starting on the mediums."

He explained also that he ran using a long-run set-up that resulted in him losing pace during the final part of qualifying.

"The set-up suited the race trim best," said Hamilton. "I think yesterday I really did struggle with it on a single lap and tried to improve it throughout the evening and into today."

Bottas said his lap was not perfect: "It was not a perfect lap, but I doubt anyone did a perfect lap because it was super sensitive to a mistake here or there because of the tarmac and the wind."

Earlier this week, in an interview for Channel 4 and The Times newspaper, Hamilton said: "The problem is that people expect you to fit into a box. You have to fit into a square box.

"This is how all the other drivers do it, so this is how you have to do it. That doesn't work for me.

"I am different in my own way. This is how I get from A to B. This is how I achieve greatness. Just forget about comparing me to the previous people you've worked with..."

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Updated Date: Jul 13, 2019 23:15:33 IST