Lewis Hamilton admits his front-row qualifying performance came as a complete surprise following an unspectacular start to the weekend.
Hamilton had effectively ruled himself out of the qualifying battle after finishing more than one second adrift in both Friday's practice sessions, but was shocked at just how competitive his McLaren became once on low-fuel qualifying settings.
Asked whether second was a surprise, Lewis said: "It is, absolutely. I definitely underestimated how good car would be when we went to light fuel. The lap was beautiful – it was one of the happiest and comforting laps I have ever had.
"I was sitting in the car before Q3 and I thought I might have to eat my words. It was definitely the best qualifying session I can remember having at least this year. First session was fantastic and the last lap was excellent. When I crossed the line it was massively satisfying."
Hamilton insists his concerns yesterday were genuine, but credited his upturn in performance to McLaren continuing its development push and the return to pre-Silverstone diffuser regulations.
"For us we honestly never thought we would be near the Red Bulls," he said. "What was important was that even though we were not fastest we kept trying to dial the car in. We made some changes, and the car felt fantastic.
"A huge congratulations for my team, it was a fantastic effort. Throughout the weekend we have had a constant push to bring updates and improve engine modes, which helped massively. At Silverstone we really struggled with the rule changes, cornering stability and that sort of things, so there was nothing we could do. This weekend, (the rule change) doesn't look like it has massively affected the Ferrari and Red Bulls, but it has enabled us to get back in the fight."