Nico Hulkenberg surprised himself as much as his team on Saturday when he qualified third for the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix in his second race since making a dramatic return to Formula One.
Just nine days after being called in to replace Covid-19 victim Sergio Perez in the Racing Point team, at the wheel of a controversial 'pink Mercedes' car, the German driver was best of the rest behind the dominant Mercedes team.
It was his best qualifying result since the 2016 Austrian Grand Prix, when he lined up second in a Force India car alongside Lewis Hamilton in a Mercedes.
His team-mate that season was Perez.
This time Valtteri Bottas claimed pole position just ahead of championship leader and team-mate Hamilton to secure Mercedes' 67th front row lockout.
"Quali was good," said Hulkenberg, who said he had received his call-up while eating a pastry in a Cologne café last week.
The following day, he was at Silverstone and preparing to race.
Hulkenberg's starting position in a competitive, if controversial car, will give him a chance to end one of the most unwanted records in the sport – as he bids to claim the first podium finish of his career.
He has started 177 races without a top-three finish, the most by any driver in F1 history.
But, he said, he is less interested in the statistics than overcoming the physical challenge of completing a race after so long since he was replaced at Renault at the end of last year.
"It's very challenging and difficult circumstances," he said.
"But I know I have a fast car beneath me so it's just trying to make sure to do everything right.
"The start and lap one -- it's going to be new for me, but I'll just try to get it right with all the experience that I have. And then we'll race.
"I'm a couple of races behind the other guys, but I still remember what it feels like. I'll just try not to think too much, keep my head down and have a good race tomorrow."
"Last weekend was really extreme," said Hulkenberg.
"A Formula One comeback within 10 hours, just getting back in the paddock without any kind of preparation 10 minutes before a session. It was challenging to say the least, but good fun at the same time."
His luck ran out before last Sunday's British Grand Prix when his Racing Point car failed to start due to engine problems.
Most of his rivals were quick to praise his impact so soon after returning from a period out of the cockpit.
"First of all, I am happy for Hulkenberg," said Red Bull's Max Verstappen.
"He should have been on the grid full-time this year and I hope he can find a seat in F1 next year."
Renault's Daniel Ricciardo added: "The Hulk has come in and I think he has adjusted his neck and is free and ready to go.
"Hats off to him. We all know the car is working, but it's not down to the car only."