World champion lost out to Bottas in Q3 for the first time in four races; Bottas credits set-up changes for Silverstone pole return. Lewis Hamilton readily admitted Valtteri Bottas did a "better job" than him to win the pole position for F1's 70th Anniversary GP.
The world champion missed out on an eighth qualifying P1 at Silverstone - which would have equaled the record he holds with Michael Schumacher for the most poles at one track - after Bottas followed up topping Q1 and Q2 by outpacing Hamilton on the final Q3 laps by 0.063s.
"At the end of the day he did a better job at the end," Hamilton said after qualifying second.
"And probably also down to me just not doing a good enough job at the end. But it was relatively close, so it's not the end of the world."
With the more traditional gusty winds of Silverstone combining with the more atypical high temperatures on Saturday, Hamilton added: "It was actually a struggle balance-wise, it was not so easy to get it nailed. Yesterday was a much better day.
"We have a slightly different set-up, interesting to see how it works tomorrow."
For Bottas, pole position represented an important first step for him on a weekend he realistically needs to beat Hamilton to victory if he is to regain championship momentum after finishing outside the points courtesy of a late puncture last Sunday.
"I just love qualifying and especially when it goes well it's a good feeling," said the Finn after achieving his 13th F1 pole and first since the season-opener in Austria last month.
"Nice to get everything out of myself and out of the car. Set-up wise we made good steps from last weekend - that's why I think the qualifying performance was better than last weekend - so really pleased with that.
"Proud to drive this amazing car - it's so quick."
The first four victories in F1 2020 so far have ultimately gone to the polesitter - three to Hamilton and one to Bottas - and so the outcome of the start between the dominant Mercedes cars is especially important right now.
"I had a good start last weekend so I see no reason why I couldn't have a good start," said Bottas.
"My pace was all good through the race last weekend but now we have different [tyre] compounds so of course there is some more management required in certain places of the track for those and strategy is going to different than last weekend. So I just need to keep focused and keep focussing on the important things."
With the likelihood of two pit stops for the whole field, Hamilton added to Sky F1: "It's not very easy to follow here, but I hope that tomorrow we can have a bit of a race."
70th Anniversary GP Qualifying result
1. Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes
2. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes
3. Nico Hulkenberg, Racing Point
4. Max Verstappen, Red Bull
5. Daniel Ricciardo, Renault
6. Lance Stroll, Racing Point
7. Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri
8. Charles Leclerc, Ferrari
9. Alex Albon, Red Bull
10. Lando Norris, McLaren