After six wins in seven races, Jenson Button had the perfect chance to score his first home grand prix victory.
But things have not worked out the way he was hoping on Saturday, and the Brawn driver will start Sunday's race from sixth position.
AUTOSPORT heard from a disappointed Button after qualifying.
Q. Disappointed today or is sixth what you expected?
Jenson Button: Yeah, really disappointed. I didn't think we would be as quick as the Red Bulls here, because we have struggled to get heat into the tyres over the weekend. But my team-mate is second on the grid, but he is not on a different amount of fuel to me. The reason is that he has about 10 degrees more tyre temp than me. I just can't get the tyres working and we are just out of the operating range. Maybe it's the style we drive, the set-ups aren't that far away from each other.
At places like Turkey it is quite good to have low tyre temperatures because of the circuit temperature, but not here... So that is the main reason why we are struggling. So I am looking forward to a hotter day tomorrow, and hopefully we will have seven or eight degrees more track temperature which will help me enormously.
Q. Do you think over a race distance your tyres might work better?
JB: If the temperatures aren't good I don't think we will ever get into a working range. Rubens is doing a great job of getting the tyres there but I don't know why I'm not. I mean the out laps I do are flat out, it's like a qualy lap to keep the heat into the tyres. So we are struggling in that area, but it is going to be hotter tomorrow so I think the race pace will be better for that reason.
I think the Red Bulls are going to be very quick, I think it is going to be very difficult for Rubens to beat the Red Bulls and especially for me. My aim is to move up the grid as far as I can. I mean it's sixth, it's not last, but I need a few more places than that. I just need to score some good points so I don't lose too much to the Red Bulls, but it might come our way a little bit tomorrow, but it's not going to be hot like Turkey. So we definitely won't have an advantage.
Q. Generally speaking Rubens has a more aggressive driving style than you, is it that simple?
JB: I mean for me it just feels that I can't get heat in to the tyres and if I even if I am aggressive it still doesn't feel like that so I don't quite understand. It is a little bit frustrating but that is just the way it is, normally I am good at getting heat in the tyres, when there is hard braking on the circuit but there is none of that here. The places where I do try and hit the pedal hard the car is hitting the ground - and the way that Rubens drives is very different to that. So it is frustrating to be so far back but sixth isn't the end of the world.
Q. But sixth is a relative term?
JB: I know but it is the worst qualifying I have had this year. If we can make a few places up it will be a good race.
Q. Were you told to come in by accident at some stage in qualifying?
JB: Yeah we messed up a bit. One of my engineers thought that... we discussed before that if I wasn't quick in qualifying I would come in and save a lap of fuel for the race, so when somebody spoke over the radio saying 'ok', he thought they meant 'ok, come in' not 'the laps ok'. So he called me in, but I would have been fifth at best anyway.
It's always nice to be one place further forward and you would take that for sure, even though you have got one lap less of fuel. But this is what it is, I don't blame anyone, we are starting sixth and we have just got to make the most of it tomorrow.
Q. Red Bull's advantage seems to be massive, are you worried?
JB: I think here they would have been quick without the upgrade, but I don't think the gap is as big as it looks. The temperatures are low here and they are one of the teams that get the tyres working. On the out lap in qualifying in Turkey, Webber was just cruising around, and I was flat out to get my tyres working. I think that their car is very good in these sort of temperatures so I think we would have had the pace on them anyway. For sure their package has improved, but if there was 40 degree track temp, I don't think they would have had such an advantage.
The problem is not all the races are going to be hot so we have got to work out the reasons for it. Our car looks after the tyres very well - and we saw that in Turkey - when the circuit is hot. But you are not in their working range, you damage the tyres because they are not hot enough. They just grain because you are sliding. It's a difficult situation but hopefully we can work out a way of putting more heat into the tyres tomorrow with the hotter track and we will be competitive.
Q. Are you enjoying the support of the fans?
JB: It's amazing. I've just been over to the autograph stand, and it's quite scary walking over the bridge and seeing how many people there are on the other side. It's amazing to see so many fans here. We were giggling to ourselves in the car because I can't remember a race this busy, this year anyway, I'm sure the British Grand Prix was last year.
But it is just amazing to see so many British fans, and fans of F1 in general, here. And it is Saturday, you know Sunday is the big day and I don't think you will be able to move out there, which is great. Everybody realises that people love coming here to Silverstone and it is good place to view a Formula 1 race, and there is a great atmosphere here so that's the reason why there might be a chance of us racing here next year.
Q. Do you think your rivals now fear you after what you've achieved this year?
JB: I don't know, maybe that was the issue with Vettel in Turkey, but we are the team that has won six out of seven races, and we have been very strong almost every race we have been in and we have made no mistakes in the races so I am sure the other teams must think there is a possibility we will have a good race. Rubens is P2 and in a great position, I'm P6 so it is more difficult for me, but I think we can do something with it.
I'm sure they will be interested to see what we are up to, but they have got an advantage here that shouldn't really hurt them in the way of strategy. It should be pretty simple to get a good strategy when you have the quickest car by the margin they have this weekend. It's been unbelievable - we haven't had that margin this year. It will make them difficult to beat, but I am sure Rubens is going to do his best to beat them.
Q. Do you have any sympathy for Lewis starting at the back?
JB: Yeah my qualifying wasn't good and I come in and I say I am massively disappointed and I am sixth on the grid. But then I am in one of the best cars. Sixth is disappointing for me, Lewis is down in 19th, so it's tough for him. But I've been there, last year and the year before, he's a tough character and he'll get through it for sure
Autosport has produced a standalone special magazine to celebrate our 70th birthday. All current print subscribers will receive a copy for free. To order your copy of the 196-page Autosport 70th Anniversary issue, please go to: autosport.com/autosport70th