F1: Pole pleaser

Lewis Hamilton has revealed he loves to make people happy - and he did just that for a record 80,000 frenzied fans at Silverstone.

Lewis Hamilton has revealed he loves to make people happy - and he did just that for a record 80,000 frenzied fans at Silverstone.

Hamilton did not disappoint his growing army of supporters as the young sensation grabbed pole for today's British Grand Prix in scintillating fashion.

The 22-year-old home hero had fans on the edge of their seats before grabbing top spot with the last flying lap in his McLaren, admitting he had to "dig deeper than ever".

The grandstands around the famous Northamptonshire circuit erupted with delight as championship leader Hamilton pipped Kimi Raikkonen by 0.1 seconds with a time of one minute 19.997secs.

As the Union Jacks flew in the background, the McLaren mechanics danced with joy in the garage, while Hamilton's father Anthony did a jig of jubilation in the pit lane.

Silverstone has not witnessed scenes like it for many a year, and it is thanks to Hamilton, who has rocked Formula One in his debut year.

When Hamilton emerged from his car, he acknowledged the crowd - 2000 more than on race day last year, smashing the previous Saturday best by 12,000 - who in turn responded with rapturous cheers and applause.

"To see the support I've got is unreal," said Hamilton, who could not keep the smile off his face as he became the first British driver to sit on pole at Silverstone since Damon Hill in 1996.

"I could see so many fans out there. When I came across the line I could hear the crowd.

"I don't know if they could hear me, but I was screaming as loud as them and I nearly lost my voice."

Yet despite the clamour that surrounds him, Hamilton admits he is "feeling quite relaxed".

"I don't know about some other drivers, whether it's part of my personality, but I like to make people happy," added Hamilton.

"So I'm finding this weekend a positive one, and for sure, there is pressure, but most of it comes from myself."

Whether Ferrari's Raikkonen and his McLaren team-mate Fernando Alonso can gatecrash the Hamilton party today remains to be seen.

Raikkonen, who beat Hamilton off the line at the French Grand Prix last Sunday, knows he is disadvantaged on this occasion.

"We're not on the good side of the track, which is the biggest issue, but it depends how much fuel we have compared to the others," remarked the Finn.

"It's obviously more difficult starting from second than first, but it's not impossible to win."

Reigning world champion Alonso trails Hamilton by 14 points and the second Ferrari of Felipe Massa starts fourth, with Robert Kubica fifth for BMW Sauber, while Ralf Schumacher in his Toyota is a season-high sixth.

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