PICTURE SPECIAL: Lewis wows his army of armchair fans by smashing Silverstone’s lap record TWICE

Lewis Hamilton continued to own his favourite stretch of Northamptonshire tarmac as he smashed the Silverstone lap record TWICE to claim pole position for Sunday’s British Grand Prix.

Just a shame nobody was there to see it.

The six-time Silverstone winner shrugged off a spin at Luffield early in qualifying with a best lap of 1min 24.303sec to secure his 91st career pole by three-tenths of a second from Mercedes team-mate Valteri Bottas.

Hamilton set the current Silverstone lap record in a race lap of 1:27.369 in the 2019 British Grand Prix.

But the Silverstone stands were all empty — as they will be again for Sunday’s big race as the Covid19 crisis forces 140,000 petrolheads to watch the action from the safety of their sofas.

Max Verstappen qualified third in a Red Bull while Charles Leclerc secured Ferrari’s first second-row start of the season.

But team-mate Sebastian Vettel’s struggles continued with the four-time champion only tenth.

Another Brit, George Russell, had another good Saturday by qualifying 15th — although he was placed under investigation for allegedly not slowing for yellow flags when Williams team-mate Nicholas Latifi spun off.

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Northampton Chronicle and Echo