Hamilton takes Silverstone pole position

Home crowd favourite Lewis Hamilton achieved his sixth British Grand Prix pole position, beating his championship rival Sebastian Vettel by 0.044 seconds.

Vettel had the edge after the first runs in the Q3 top ten shootout by 57 thousandths of a second, but Hamilton stepped up to the challenge on the second runs.

With the soft-compound Pirellis the tyre of choice through qualifying, Hamilton outpaced Vettel in the first and second sectors on the final run.

This meant Vettel’s flying final sector was not enough to reclaim P1 and left the Ferrari driver second on the starting grid.

Vettel missed his qualifying simulation during the final practice session with a neck problem, and admitted after his run that he wasn’t sure he would have been able to run in qualifying.

Vettel’s Ferrari team-mate, Kimi Raikkonen, qualified third and just 0.098 seconds off the pace after finding a three tenths improvement on his second run despite a lockup into the Turn 16 left-hander.

This followed complaining of losing his quick shift on his first run, and put him ahead of Valtteri Bottas.

Max Verstappen was fifth quickest for Red Bull, half-a-second faster than team-mate Daniel Ricciardo.

The Red Bull driver did not have the use of the DRS on his first run, which team principal Christian Horner attributed to a glitch with the system that governs when it can and cannot be used.

The problem wasn’t solved on his second run, although he was told he had manual use of the DRS provided he only activated it in the permitted zones.

Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean gave Haas best-of-the-rest honours in qualifying for the second consecutive race by locking out the fourth row.

Sauber driver Charles Leclerc qualified ninth, three tenths faster than Force India’s Esteban Ocon.

Nico Hulkenberg was P11 and quickest of those who didn’t reach Q3 after lapping 0.058 seconds behind Ocon.

With very few time improvements made on the second runs in Q2, that put Force India’s Sergio Perez in P12 ahead of McLaren driver Fernando Alonso.

Toro Rosso driver Pierre Gasly was the only one of the drop zone contenders to find time on his second run, declaring himself happy he got the maximum out of the car.

This was enough to elevate him to P14 ahead of Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson, who had a relatively slow run through the final sector on his quickest lap.

Carlos Sainz was fastest of those eliminated in Q1 when he was bumped to P16 by Renault team-mate Nico Hulkenberg’s late improvement and said he lost time owing to Magnussen locking up ahead of him into Turn 3.

That put him ahead of McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne, who shed a piece of bodywork when he hit the inside kerb at Brooklands on his first run and ended up 0.640 seconds slower after his second attempt.

Vandoorne complained about something fundamental being wrong with the car and things not feeling right during both the morning practice session and qualifying.

Lance Stroll ended up P19 but did not set a time after spinning into the gravel at the Brooklands left-hander on his first flying lap – admitting he was “shocked” by the suddenness of the rear end snapping away.

As Stroll was unable to dig himself out of the gravel, he was forced to switch the car off and triggered a six-minute red flag while his Williams was recovered.

Brendon Hartley was unable to participate in qualifying thanks to damage sustained when he crashed at Brooklands during the final practice session.

This was caused by a front-left suspension failure, and the team must rebuild his car around a spare monocoque ahead of tomorrow’s race for him to start from the pitlane.

So a brilliant pole position for Lewis Hamilton. His 50th for Mercedes. Scoring this P1 result, right in front of his passionate fans was a magic moment. Kudos Hamilton on this achievement.

British Grand Prix, qualifying positions:

1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m25.892s
2 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m25.936s
3 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m25.990s
4 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1m26.217s
5 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Renault 1m26.602s
6 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 1m27.099s
7 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 1m27.244s 1.352s
8 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 1m27.455s 1.563s
9 Charles Leclerc Sauber-Ferrari 1m27.879s
10 Esteban Ocon Force India-Mercedes 1m28.194s
11 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1m27.901s
12 Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1m27.928s
13 Fernando Alonso McLaren-Renault 1m28.139s
14 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso-Honda 1m28.343s
15 Marcus Ericsson Sauber-Ferrari 1m28.391s
16 Carlos Sainz Renault 1m28.456s
17 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren-Renault 1m29.096s
18 Sergey Sirotkin Williams-Mercedes 1m29.252s
19 Lance Stroll Williams-Mercedes –
20 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso-Honda –

8 thoughts to “Hamilton takes Silverstone pole position”

  1. British Grand Prix qualifying review as reported by Formula1.com.

    A massive crowd was on hand at Silverstone on Saturday, and they were treated to the closest qualifying session of the 2018 F1 season, with the top three drivers separated by just a tenth of a second. And much to their delight, it was home favourite Lewis Hamilton who delivered when it mattered most, snatching a brilliant pole position to finish just a fraction ahead of F1 title rival Sebastian Vettel…

    Vettel was the man to beat in the first segment of qualifying, but that was slightly misleading given he had the soft tyres bolted to his Ferrari while the Mercedes duo were on the mediums. When the Silver Arrows switched to the softest compound, Hamilton showed once more why Silverstone is his manor.

    The four-time champion was quickest in the second phase and then soaked up the pressure on his second run in qualifying to shatter Vettel’s benchmark and set a new track record. Vettel could not respond and settled for second, with Ferrari team mate Kimi Raikkonen only half a tenth further back in third.

    That gave Hamilton his 50th pole for Mercedes, the second-most by a driver-team combination in history behind Michael Schumacher and Ferrari’s 58. It was also a British GP record sixth pole for Hamilton.

    With Ferrari and Mercedes closely-matched on race pace, Sunday’s race is beautifully set up. Red Bull locked out the third row, with Max Verstappen beating Daniel Ricciardo to fifth, with Haas’ Kevin Magnussen seventh ahead of team mate Romain Grosjean. Charles Leclerc and Esteban Ocon completed the top 10.

    Here’s how the sessions unfolded beneath beautiful blue skies and amid scorching temperatures…

    Qualifying was only a few minutes old when Lance Stroll got it all wrong at the end of the Wellington Straight and spun off into the gravel. The Williams driver tried to escape but the car was beached and that forced FIA F1 Race Director Charlie Whiting to red-flag the session while Stroll’s car was recovered.

    When the session restarted, things got worse for Williams on home soil as Sergey Sirotkin lost the rear end of the car at Stowe, pitching him into the gravel, in an incident very similar to team mate Stroll. Fortunately, for the Russian, his rear wheels ended up on the run-off and he was able to retreat to the pits.

    Up front, Vettel set the pace, two tenths quicker than Lewis Hamilton – but the Ferrari driver did his best lap on the softs, while Hamilton and Mercedes team mate Bottas, in third, opted to run the mediums to save an extra set of the softest compound for later in the session.

    At the other end of the field, Carlos Sainz and Stoffel Vandoorne found themselves in the elimination zone in the final minute of qualifying. Sainz made an improvement but he was then shunted back down, missing out by just half a tenth of a second to Gasly, who did a remarkable job after his Toro Rosso team changed his front suspension in time to get him out on track.

    Sainz, who hadn’t been eliminated in Q1 since Bahrain 2017, and Vandoorne, who failed to escape Q1 for the third successive race, were joined by Sirotkin, Stroll and Brendon Hartley, who didn’t take any part in qualifying. The Kiwi’s Toro Rosso suffered significant damage when he crashed at high-speed following suspension failure in final practice earlier on Saturday morning.

    Friday’s single-lap data signalled we were in for a two-car, four-driver fight for pole position and the performances of Mercedes and Ferrari in Q2 suggested it was bang on the money. Vettel went quickest, but Hamilton jumped him by a tenth on his second attempt, having abandoned his first after a mistake.

    Bottas was third, a fraction ahead of Raikkonen with the top four separated by just one-and-a-half tenths of a second. Red Bull are out on their own in fifth and sixth, with Verstappen appearing to have the edge on Ricciardo, though the Australian complained his DRS was not working correctly.

    Haas meanwhile converted their strong pace, with Grosjean and Magnussen making it through, too.

    Heading into the final minute of qualifying, Charles Leclerc and Esteban Ocon were on the bubble, but no one managed to improve on their final runs, which meant Leclerc made it into Q3 for the second time in the last three races.

    Nico Hulkenberg missed out on the top 10 shootout by just half a tenth of a second as Renault failed to get one car into Q3 for the first time this year. However, the German described 11th as a “sweet position”, referring to him being the best-placed driver who can choose his starting tyre.

    He was joined by Sergio Perez, Fernando Alonso, Pierre Gasly and Marcus Ericsson, who was six tenths slower than Sauber team mate Leclerc, in taking an early bath.

    Hamilton backed off before the start of his first flying lap to give himself some space before putting the hammer down and setting a flurry of personal best sectors to go quickest, but he lost some time when he clobbered the orange kerb on the exit of the penultimate corner. His title rival Vettel did exactly the same, but his combination of sectors was better as he snuck in front by just 0.057s of a second. First blood to Vettel.

    The duo headed back to the pits for fresh rubber before heading back out for one final run, both knowing there is more lap time to come if they could keep it clean. Hamilton was the first to head out and despite being down in the first sector, number 44 kept it neat and tidy in the next two sectors to edge a rather fitting 0.044s clear.

    Vettel made a mistake on his final run and did not improve to stay second, while team mate Raikkonen looked like he might snatch pole after setting the fastest first sector. But he lost two tenths in the second sector and even though his final sector was the best of the field, it wasn’t enough and he ended up third.

    Bottas was fourth, ahead of Red Bull duo Verstappen and Ricciardo, with Magnussen outperforming Grosjean to take seventh. Leclerc was a brilliant ninth, nearly three tenths ahead of Force India’s Ocon.

    Saturday was all about Hamilton – who took his fourth successive pole at Silverstone. Can he convert that into his fifth successive victory at Silverstone? If he can, more history beckons: a record sixth British Grand Prix victory.

  2. Fernando Alonso commented that this Silverstone qualifying was “without a doubt” best of 2018. Motorsport.com has the story.

    McLaren driver Fernando Alonso has hailed his British Grand Prix qualifying performance as the best of his Formula 1 season so far.

    The Spaniard, who has started from the top 10 three times this season, qualified in 13th position, his best performance of the last four races.

    With the downforce and power demands of the Silverstone circuit highlighting the McLaren car’s deficits, Alonso believes Saturday’s showing was undoubtedly the best of 2018.

    Asked by Spanish TV if his qualifying performance had been on the limit, he said: “Beyond the limit. I think today was without a doubt the best qualifying of the year and the best weekend overall.

    “All of Saturday has gone well and we were very competitive given our possibilities, obviously. So I’m happy and hopefully tomorrow we can score some points.

    “The position is more or less the same as always, but it’s a long track with a lot of downforce demands.

    “We knew the problems we could have here so I think we managed to pull a complicated qualifying through with a good position and starting from the clean side.”

    Alonso insisted McLaren needs to bring car updates in the upcoming races in order to catch the frontrunners of the midfield group, especially now that Sauber appears to have overtaken the British squad.

    “Overall, I’m happy, but we know our limitations, which are the same as in France and Austria, because the cars are still the same,” he said.

    “Hopefully in Hockenheim we can have some updates and in Hungary again. We know we still need some tenths to be up there with Haas and even Sauber, which is now at Haas’ level.

    “It’s three Ferraris on track now,” added the Spaniard after Sauber’s Charles Leclerc qualified in ninth.

    Alonso outqualified teammate Stoffel Vandoorne – 17th today – to keep his perfect record this year, the two-time champion leading the Belgian 10-0.

  3. Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo was left feeling “frustrating” by DRS problem that affected his qualifying. Motorsport.com has the details.

    Daniel Ricciardo said a DRS problem added to his frustrations in qualifying for the British Grand Prix, with Red Bull unable to match rivals Mercedes and Ferrari.

    With Silverstone’s flat out nature not suiting the Red Bull package, Ricciardo and teammate Max Verstappen knew that the best they could realistically hope for was locking out the third row of the grid.

    But Ricciardo was left even more annoyed when his best effort in qualifying was hurt by his DRS not opening down the Wellington Straight.

    “I lost it between Turns 4 and 6 in Q3,” he said about his first run. “The last lap they figured it out – but the first lap, the best lap, I didn’t have it.

    “But it is alright. It is a bit frustrating. I don’t know why – but an inconvenient time.”

    For Ricciardo’s final run, the Australian had to manually operate the DRS in the right areas to try to overcome the problem.

    Asked how much lap time it cost him, Ricciardo – who ended qualifying half a second down on Verstappen – said: “It is a few tenths. It is not going to change the world for us. It is a bit frustrating.

    “We know we are already a bit off the pace and down the straights we lose a lot. So when I saw I was pulling the DRS and it wasn’t working it was more frustrating than anything.”

    Red Bull’s lack of straightline speed has left both its drivers aware they need to try to pull off a strategy master-stroke in the race if they are to do anything about Ferrari and Mercedes.

    Verstappen said: “We lose more than one second on the straights, so this track is getting less and less favourable for us. It is a shame.

    “But the car felt really good in qualifying, especially in Q3 we made a few adjustments to the front wing, and the car is strong. We all know that.

    “For tomorrow, it is going to be a bit warmer but still a bit of a struggle compared to the guys ahead.

    “It is free laptime they gain on the straights – then we have to push harder on our tyres and with the heat it is not ideal, but let’s see.”

    Ricciardo added: “I am really optimistic that it is not going to be a one-stop boring race. I think it is going to be hotter tomorrow from what I understand. Hopefully a two-stop works.

    “We chose to save a set in Q2, a new set of softs, if we need to use it in the race to plan a little bit in advance for tomorrow. We kind of knew into qualifying we would be fifth and sixth as a team, so trying to make the most of the race.”

  4. Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel feared he would miss qualifying due to neck issue. Motorsport.com has the news story.

    Ferrari Formula 1 driver Sebastian Vettel has revealed he feared missing British Grand Prix qualifying after a neck problem hindered him in practice.

    Vettel sat out the final minutes of FP3 after what Ferrari described as a neck “nuisance”, which cost him a last qualifying simulation.

    He will start the race at Silverstone from second on the grid after missing out on pole to Lewis Hamilton by less than half a tenth of a second.

    Asked if he thought he could take pole, Vettel said: “To be honest this morning no, I wasn’t sure if I could do qualifying.

    “The last lap I was happy with it, seemed to lose a lot of time in the straights so I was missing a bit of tow but I think it was very close.

    “I was happy with second and it gives us a good chance.”

    Vettel admitted his neck aggravation meant qualifying “wasn’t the most enjoyable session” but played down its impact and any concerns for the race.

    “It’s nothing dramatic, the session was fine,” said Vettel. “We had to call it a bit earlier this morning than I would have wanted but it was fine.

    “I don’t know what happened, but it was a bit stiff. We loosened it up. I’m not worried [for the race] because the speed will be less than qualy.”

    Vettel was quickest after the first runs in Q3 and found more time in the final sector of the lap, but was bested by Hamilton in the other two sectors.

    That ended in what Vettel called “practically the same lap”, which made identifying where he lost pole difficult.

    “I was pretty happy with the first run in Q3, I knew I had to give a bit more in sector three, which I think I got right on the second attempt, but I seemed to lose a little bit down the straights,” he explained.

    “I’m not sure why. I set two laps that were identical, half a tenth you can always argue you can find time somewhere, I think he was just a little better on the final runs.

    “I’m confident we can be faster tomorrow, you’ve seen today were able to pick up pace and the race is usually a bit better for us.”

    Vettel’s Ferrari teammate Kimi Raikkonen set the fastest first and final sectors of qualifying on his final attempt to steal third, but a slightly poor middle sector cost him a chance to topple Hamilton.

    “I had a small moment on the first run so I took it a bit easier [in the middle sector],” said Raikkonen. “I was still gaining but I’m sure there were places to gain [more].”

  5. Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton says pole lap was one of his best ever. Motorsport.com has the details.

    An emotional Lewis Hamilton says the lap to secure pole position for the British GP was one of the best he’s ever driven – and the Mercedes F1 driver insists that he was the most pressured situation of his career.

    Hamilton was beaten by Sebastian Vettel on the first runs in Q3, and admitted he had to dig deep to find the time with which to secure his 76th career pole on the second runs.

    He cited the build-up to his home race against the background of England’s World Cup involvement and the stiff challenge from Ferrari as the reasons behind his heightened emotional state.

    “I think for me it would be, with the whole build-up, the whole intensity, the whole spirit and moment thing, knowing how close we were, for me it feels like one of the best laps I have been able to produce,” he said.

    “It felt like the most pressurised that I’ve ever had. And then afterwards I was just…

    “I can’t tell you how I was shaking, the adrenaline rush, it was way above the limit than I have experienced before. Which is kind of crazy thinking that it’s the 76th.”

    Hamilton admitted that Ferrari’s pace had forced him to really push the limits.

    “These guys [Ferrari] really pulled something special out, heading into Q3. I don’t know they did yesterday, but their car was so quick today. I think we were really up against it.

    “So a huge amount of pressure on today, so grateful for my team working so hard.Ferrari have picked up a little pace this weekend, but we’re in the best position we could be.

    “And our long run pace was good, so I’m excited for a close race with these guys.”

    Expanding on how the session unfolded, he added: “I didn’t leave anything on the table today. The lap was just intense, I left the pitlane, the first lap was OK, it was pretty good, and then I saw that I dropped to second.

    “Obviously that naturally adds a little bit more pressure, because you know that he [Vettel] is going to improve again, so I’ve got to improve the same and a bit more.

    “To push open the limit just that little bit more without losing it is one of the toughest positions to put the car.”

  6. This was a difficult qualifying session for Vandoorne. Stoffel commented that his car was “Undriveable” when compared to his team-mate Fernando Alonso. Motorsport.com has the story.

    Stoffel Vandoorne says an “undriveable” McLaren MCL33 was behind his deficit to Formula 1 teammate Fernando Alonso in British Grand Prix qualifying.

    Vandoorne is yet to outqualify Alonso in 10 attempts this year, and in Q1 at Silverstone the gap between the pair was the biggest it’s been all year.

    The Belgian was nine tenths slower than his teammate in the first segment, and had to do with 17th on the grid.

    Alonso, who wound up 13th, reckoned his qualifying performance was “without a doubt” his best in 2018.

    “Today was really difficult,” Vandoorne said. “The car was undriveable today and we don’t really understand why at the moment.

    “I think we were actually in much better shape than we looked [on Friday] but since this morning something has been feeling fundamentally wrong with the car and we’ve not been able to really find what the problem was before qualifying.

    “In qualifying as well the feeling was pretty terrible. Very bad. Nothing more we could do, so very frustrating.

    “I felt very uncomfortable, no pace at all. Impossible to really drive and to do anything. It’s a shame to come out of qualifying like this.

    Vandoorne acknowledged that “clearly the other car seems to have some pace”, but when asked about the sheer size of his deficit to Alonso, he said: “I don’t care how much the gap is because it’s explainable with the issues we’re having with the car.

    “I’m definitely not looking at that.”

    Vandoorne was far off Alonso on ultimate pace in Friday practice as well – but explained after that day’s running that he had gone “in a different direction with different set-ups” compared to his teammate.

    “After yesterday there was an explanation why the cars were quite different,” he said after qualifying. “This morning we put everything the same.

    “Something felt fundamentally wrong with the car. The car was undriveable.”

    The Belgian said the target for his side of the garage for Sunday was “to understand the problem with the car”.

    “There’s not much more we can do,” he added.

  7. Max Verstappen says it feels like Red Bull is missing 70-80 horsepower in Formula 1 at the moment, which is costing it one second per lap at Silverstone this weekend.

    Red Bull’s two cars qualified a distant fifth and sixth for the British Grand Prix, with Verstappen 0.7s adrift of Lewis Hamilton’s pole time and Daniel Ricciardo 1.2s off the pace after suffering a DRS problem.

    “If you miss 70-80bhp you know you’re going to struggle,” Verstappen said after qualifying.

    “Also with the cars we have [since the 2017 regulation changes] a few corners became flat-out so it gets more and more difficult.

    “A big problem as well is when you go through a corner that’s almost flat and when you accelerate out of the corner our engine is just not pulling.

    “You know you just don’t have the horsepower. And when the corners are flat, when you start scrubbing speed because of steering, we lose even more.

    “If you lose more than a second on the straights you know it’s going to be a difficult weekend but actually I was quite happy with how the car was performing – I don’t have anything to complain about.

    “I don’t know exactly the amount [of horsepower lost] but if you lose more than a second on the straight then you know it’s a lot.

    “I’m driving for four years like this. You get used to it. Of course it’s not what you want but that’s how it is.”

    Ricciardo added: “There are still going to be some circuits where we can do alright, but any kind of horsepower circuit, now [Mercedes and Ferrari] have got a pretty good buffer on us.

    “We kind of feel we’ll make a step forward but then they make 1.5 steps. We’re there but never really there, if you know what I mean.

    “In a way I’m used to it and not really expecting we’re ever going to be on their pace in terms of power.

    “It’s the reality of these regulations for now, but it would be nice to be a bit closer.”

    Verstappen believes Red Bull’s deficit makes the chances of repeating his upset victory from Austria last weekend unlikely.

    “In Austria I had a bad feeling after qualifying, I thought we were just not fast enough, but then we surprised in the race with really good pace,” he said.

    “Never say never but it’s going to be tough [to repeat]. We’ll try and I think in the race we should be a bit stronger.

    “Tomorrow it’s going to be very warm again, hopefully that will be OK for us.”

    Source: Motorsport.com

  8. Carlos Sainz has enjoyed a consistent qualifying performance so far this season, having reached Q3 at every race in 2018 – a record he shared with Sebastian Vettel, Kimi Raikkonen, Lewis Hamilton and Daniel Ricciardo. But the Renault star’s run came to an end in surprising fashion at the British Grand Prix…

    Renault have been pretty consistent this year, having outperformed their midfield rivals to sit fourth in the standings. But they had a disappointing race last weekend in Austria, with Sainz finishing outside the points and Nico Hulkenberg retiring with an engine failure.

    That result allowed their competitors to close the gap, so they would have no doubt been keen to bounce back at Silverstone. But Sainz has work to do, given he’ll start from 16th on the grid after failing to make it out of the first segment of qualifying for the first time since the 2017 Bahrain Grand Prix. It was also the first time Renault failed to get at least one car into Q3.

    “Yeah obviously not happy about the weekend in general,” said Sainz. “Not only qualifying but the weekend in general. We simply haven’t been very fast this weekend. We’ve rarely been in the top 10 in any of our runs. We as a team know it hasn’t been a very strong weekend and we need to analyse why.

    “On the other hand, the Q3 record had to come to an end sooner rather than later. I’m obviously a bit disappointed by that but it’s something that would come.

    “We’ve been struggling at the last couple of tracks. Especially at Paul Ricard and Austria with the high-speed corners, we are simply not quick enough. Silverstone is the king of high-seed corners. That’s probably why our cars are top not in Q3.

    “From my side, I’m simply lacking a bit of confidence in high-speed [corners]. We did a couple of set-up changes before qualifying that didn’t really help. That, together with our traffic in my Q1 run in sector one, all these factors add up in such a tight midfield, and we didn’t make it through.”

    And with the midfield battle so tight this season, Sainz suggested he’s concerned by the straight-line speed shown by Haas, who use Ferrari power, in qualifying on Saturday.

    “Yeah I don’t know if Mercedes or Ferrari have made big steps lately,” he said. “Haas and Sauber are surprisingly quick.

    “Especially in the run from Turn 8 to Turn 11 – it’s so flat out now with Copse not even being a corner any more in these 2018 cars. We tend to lose quite a lot of lap time there. So yes, some of it down to the power unit side.

    “Yes it is a concern. I think the team can still be calm. There are a lot of races and circuits that will come to us a bit more. And ones that will be stronger than here.

    “But at the same time, we know we are not the fastest midfield team. There’s going to be homework to do back at the factory. For sure we can make it back to the top.”

    Sainz currently sits 10th in the drivers’ standings, six points behind Renault team mate Nico Hulkenberg.

    Source: Formula1.com

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