London: McLaren`s championship leader Lewis Hamilton hailed the best lap of his career and the support of the Silverstone fans after qualifying fourth for the British Grand Prix on Saturday.
"Today, if it was ever important to be at my best in qualifying, then this was it," Hamilton told reporters after finishing behind a Red Bull one-two of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber, and Ferrari`s Fernando Alonso.
"I honestly feel it was the best lap I`ve done since I`ve been in Formula One," the 2008 world champion added with a grin.
Hamilton and Jenson Button, his McLaren team mate and the defending drivers` champion, have endured a difficult time since conceding on Friday that a major update to their cars was a step too far.
McLaren decided to ditch the new floor and "blown diffuser" -- part of the rear structure that is "blown" by exhaust gases passing through it to create extra downforce -- after second practice.
They instead reverted to the setup that took them to a second and third place in Valencia two weeks ago.
"We`ve struggled all weekend," said Hamilton, who leads second-placed Button by six points in the standings.
"I`ve never run wide or gone off at a track so many times through Friday practice and this morning.”
"But I`ve just remained optimistic all weekend and as to where it has come from, I honestly think it has come from the fans."
Button was not so happy after slumping to 14th in a car he called "undriveable", although he did back the team`s decision to postpone the update until after Sunday`s race.
Hamilton, who said he "really strangled" his car`s neck to push for fourth on the revamped circuit, is hoping to repeat his 2008 victory at Silverstone, which was achieved in the wet.
To do so he will have to enjoy either a perfect race start or a dramatic change to the dry, sunny weather.
"I`m happy to do the rain dance tonight because I could happily do another 2008 here," the 25-year-old said.
"It`s really down to getting a good start because it`s virtually impossible to overtake on this track. It really is.”
"I`m ready, so let`s go for it."