This weekend's British Grand Prix is off to a good start for home crowd favourite Lewis Hamilton. He thrilled an 86,000 strong crowd at the Silverstone circuit on Friday, as he took a hard-fought pole position for the sprint race on Saturday.

The British Grand Prix is introducing an experimental new qualifying format this year, with the three-part qualifying being held on Friday instead of on Saturday. The initial Friday session determines the grid for a 30-minute sprint race on Saturday, which in turn determines the starting grid for the main Grand Prix at its usual Sunday time slot.

Hamilton took his Mercedes over the line just 0.075 quicker than championship leader Max Verstappen's Red Bull, and the crowd roared in appreciation. The defending world champion will lead the pack in the first even F1 sprint race as they go on a straightforward charge for 17-laps around Silverstone.

The Mercedes team brought updates this weekend, and they were clearly able to close the gap to Red Bull, who had been dominating the last five races. Valtteri Bottas took the second Mercedes car to third place, with Ferrari's Charles Leclerc coming in with a strong 4th position.

The second Red Bull of Sergio Perez only managed fifth, with McLaren's Lando Norris landing a disappointing sixth place compared to his front row start in Austria. His teammate, Daniel Ricciardo finally managed to qualify just behind him.

Meanwhile, a new hometown hero was born after George Russell muscled his Williams into eight position. The crowd went berserk as they saw the young Brit trump Ferrari's Carlos Sainz and Aston Martin's Sebastian Vettel, who ended up with the final top ten positions.

Mercedes will be looking forward to a good race weekend, and an opportunity to break Red Bull's momentum. Hamilton needs to get his championship campaign back on track, or risk having Verstappen widen the gap.

The Dutchman is closer than he has ever been to his first world championship title, and Hamilton will need to fight hard to earn a record eighth title. The new sprint race format shakes things up a bit, but the two title contenders are still neck and neck up front. Either way, it will be a treat for race fans, with a bonus race available to watch on Saturday. It remains to be seen how much it will affect the season overall.

Lewis Hamilton
Burning rubber: Lewis Hamilton inspects his punctured tyre after he won the British Grand Prix last season POOL / Will Oliver