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British Grand Prix 2014: Is Lewis Hamilton Facing Crucial Moment In F1 Title Race?

06/07/2014 00:31 BST | Updated 06/07/2014 07:59 BST

If ever body language gave a hint of a good story, then the postures of Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton spoke volumes as both prepared for very different - and personal - race days at the British Grand Prix.

Formula 1 championship leader Rosberg staged a stunning run on his last lap in qualifying to clinch pole position after Hamilton pulled out of his flying lap because "it just didn't feel good" although Rosberg would claim his team-mate locked up his front brakes. The pair's appearances in front of the media later in the afternoon couldn't have given clearer indications as to how both were feeling for Sunday's race - and for the rest of the season.

lewis hamilton

Lewis Hamilton says his British GP will be 'damage limitation'

Whereas Hamilton mooched and sat with arms crossed looking for all the world like a man at rock bottom as he gave virtually monosyllabic answers to questions, Rosberg was much more alert, eyes darting around the assembled media, talking in detail while retaining the coolness of a driver who knows he's in control - and getting philosophical at the same time.

Asked about the decision to go out at the end of Q3 when it wasn't certain the wet track had improved, Rosberg admitted it was "really close.. but the right call" and recalled a quotation from basketball legend, Michael Jordan: "You miss a 100 per cent of the shots you don't take. So I said that to the team and they made the call to go out. It was great teamwork and a great decision."

With a 29-point lead in the Formula 1 championship and a considerable advantage over Hamilton for Sunday, Rosberg could be forgiven for thinking Silverstone might be a decisive moment in the title race but he was having none of it.

"This is just qualifying. With the car we have I expect Lewis to fight through quickly so it will still be a battle between the two of us but of course it's one step closer to being able to win."

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British Grand Prix 2014

The 29-year-old said he was "surprised" that Hamilton backed off in the dying moments of qualifying but admitted "it was difficult to judge the situation" and didn't blame his team-mate for slowing even though Rosberg was "stuck in his gearbox going over the line".

Meanwhile, like in Austria Hamilton thought the GP would now be one of damage limitation but hoped that the huge Silverstone crowd would "energise" him although the flat delivery of his comments suggested he wasn't expecting much from the race.

"We've got over 100,000 people here tomorrow so hopefully they will energise me but we've got Mercedes cars ahead which are going to be very hard to overtake."

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Hamilton is clearly out of sorts for whatever reason and there was a definite tenseness in the air as he spoke. Asked if he knew why his qualifying had taken a downward turn in the past few races, he bluntly replied: "No", and insisted that he wasn't flying in the face of his 'never give up' mantra.

"I've never in my life ever given up and today wasn't the case of not giving up. I just chose not to do the lap."

When questioned if he'd learned any lesson from qualifying, he was equally terse: "I'm sure there is but not one I'm going to share with you."

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff didn't think there was anything major to worry about with regard to Hamilton's recent qualifying, and didn't agree with Sir Jackie Stewart's comments that the 29-year-old was losing out psychologically.

"I remember we had the discussion a couple of races ago about the opposite, when Lewis was on a roll, that he was unbeatable.

"You can never write off guys of this level. It was just bad luck today.. a tiny misjudgement. We should question ourselves as to whether we should have assisted a bit more at that stage.

"I think he is in a good place."

British fans tomorrow will be hoping that place is Silverstone.