Yeongam , South Korea, Oct 15, 2011 (AFP) - Lewis Hamilton's car and face told two sides of the same story on Saturday as he blazed to pole position for the Korean Grand Prix.
His McLaren fizzed, slid and roared around the Korean International Circuit as he steered it to the fastest qualifying time, in doing so ending Red Bull's season-long domination of the prime grid position.
It is the 2008 champion's first pole since the Canadian Grand Prix in June 2010, but there were no flamboyant celebrations afterwards.
His gaze was fixed and his jaw set as he focused on finishing the job in Sunday's race, and when he spoke in the post-qualifying media conference, it was with an intensity that let his listeners know he had no time for fools or fun.
"I am happy to be here and very proud of what the team have been able to achieve over the course of the last few races -- and for Jenson (Button) to have won the last race and us to be on front two rows again and us the only ones able to compete with Red Bull," he said.
"I am very happy, but tomorrow is what counts."
The 26-year-old said that after a run of five races without a podium finish during which his form, his attitude and his lifestyle have been questioned by the critics, he was glad to have a positive experience at last.
"It is probably one of the first positives I have had for a while, so to be back on pole is a great feeling of course," he said.
"But tomorrow is the most important day. We had some difficult races in the past, so hopefully I'll try to redeem myself tomorrow.
"As long as we can get some strong points for the team -- as they have worked hard. I hope tomorrow we can repay them."