The Finn ended up three tenths in arrears, but still comfortably clear of the fastest non-Mercedes, the Red Bull of Max Verstappen in third. "I was already down and I was struggling through the first sector in every lap", Hamilton added.
"Ultimately it's obviously a relatively big gap between us and third place", Hamilton told Jenson Button after the end of qualifying.
"That was less than 24 hours ago, so it feels a bit surreal for me right now, but I like a good challenge and this is certainly one", said the 32-year-old.
"This track is just awesome, because with the gusting wind you have a head-wind and tail-wind and cross-wind at different parts of the circuit", he explained.
"Qualifying is a lot about confidence building and ..."
Hamilton had said he felt compelled to speak out about a lack of leadership and unity and what he felt was an unnecessary "battle" to ensure the sport's anti-racism stance was pushed to the front of people's minds.
"I made some changes before qualifying and it was worse".
"This track is hard with the wind and it is like juggling balls while spinning plates at high speed".
On a hot and sunny day at Silverstone that was as crowdless as it was cloudless, with Sunday's race the latest to be held behind closed doors due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Verstappen lapped with a best time of one minute 27.422 seconds.
The defending six-time champion and current series leader bounced back from a ragged performance, including a spin, in the first parts of qualifying to claim his 65th pole with Mercedes and the record-increasing 91st of his career.
"I think that's going to happen and that's going to be more clear for all of us to know exactly what to do". He has been pushing me all weekend.