Lewis Hamilton paid tribute to the Silverstone crowd after beating Max Verstappen in qualifying for the British Grand Prix and securing top place on the grid for Saturday’s inaugural F1 Sprint.
Trailing Verstappen by 32 points in the Drivers’ Championship, Hamilton has the momentum at Silverstone after pipping the Dutchman to victory in Friday's qualifying session by a tenth of a second.
Mercedes have won seven of the last eight races on this track with six of those triumphs going to Hamilton, who claimed his first pole here back in 2007.
After finishing fourth in Austria, the seven-time World champion is aiming to avoid consecutive finishes outside the podium for the first time since 2017.
And inspired by the raucous home crowd, he made the ideal start in ensuring he will head the grid in the F1 Sprint.
"This is down to the fans," he told Sky Sports. "I'm so grateful to see everyone here; we've missed you for a whole year.
"That first lap was great. The second one was looking even better but just lost the back end in that last corner, so my heart was in my mouth as I crossed the line.
"But I could see the crowd and it was really reminiscent of my first pole here in 2007.
"Now, we've got to do a lot of work tomorrow. I need to bring out the lion tomorrow and bring it everything."
While pole position will be determined in the sprint, Hamilton did stop a run of three successive qualifying victories for Verstappen.
While disappointed at not continuing his streak, the championship leader – and winner of the last three races – is optimistic about his chances come Sunday.
"We need to look at ourselves because the car itself was actually handling quite well, but just a lot of understeer," the Red Bull driver said.
"So, I couldn't really attack any corners and just waiting for the front to grip up. But it is what it is. We are still quite close, so it's alright.
"I'm quite confident we can still have a strong race."
Hamilton's Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas took third place, with Charles Leclerc and Sergio Perez followed by the McLaren duo of Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo.
Meanwhile, Williams' George Russell claimed his best ever qualifying result by taking eighth place – ahead of Carlos Sainz and Sebastian Vettel, who completed the top 10.
1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 1:26.134s
2. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) +0.075s
3. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) +0.194s
4. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) +0.694s
5. Sergio Perez (Red Bull) +0.710s
6. Lando Norris (McLaren) +0.763s
7. Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren) +0.765s
8. George Russell (Williams) +0.837s
9. Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) +0.873s
10. Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin) +1.045s