Hamilton flys to British Grand Prix pole

Defending champion and home fans favourite Lewis Hamilton achieved his seventh British Grand Prix pole position as he beat teammate Valtteri Bottas in a qualifying session dominated by Mercedes.

Max Verstappen will start third for Red Bull, while Nico Hulkenberg was knocked out in Q2 – as was Alex Albon for the second race in a row – on his Formula 1 qualifying return in place of Sergio Perez at Racing Point.

Hamilton spun his Mercedes at the exit of Luffield on his first run on medium tyres in Q2, scattering gravel across the track, which caused the middle segment of qualifying to be red flag.

The world champion rejoined on the same medium rubber – which he, Bottas, Verstappen, Charles Leclerc and Lance Stroll will start the race on – but ended up behind his teammate as Q2 ended.

But Hamilton hit back immediately with a one minute, 24.616 seconds on the first runs in Q3, with Bottas trailing by 0.150 seconds and Verstappen over a second adrift in third.

Bottas then set an identical time on the final runs, but Hamilton had already moved a further 0.313 seconds clear with a one minute, 24.303 seconds to seal his seventh pole at Silverstone.

Verstappen improved his personal best but stayed third, still over a second behind Hamilton.

Leclerc finished as the lead Ferrari in fourth, ahead of McLaren’s Lando Norris and Lance Stroll, who did not improve on his final run in Q3.

Carlos Sainz took seventh ahead of Daniel Ricciardo and Esteban Ocon, with Sebastian Vettel rounding out the top ten.

Vettel will start on softs as he did not improve his best time in Q3 after switching to the more-durable mediums.

Leclerc, Stroll and Ricciardo are under investigation for a pitlane incident at the start of Q3 where the Ferrari was released into the path of the Racing Point, which braked hard and Ricciardo nipped by on the inside.

Pierre Gasly just missed out on a second consecutive Q3 appearance as he set an identical time to Stroll – a one minute, 26.501 seconds – in the final seconds of Q3, but because the Racing Point’s time came from his first run on the medium tyres before the red flag the AlphaTauri ended up P11 and out.

Albon took P12 as he was knocked out in Q2 for the second race in a row, which followed his free practice session 2 crash and missing most of final practice to an electrical problem, which required Red Bull to fit a new energy store on his RB16.

He set a personal best time after switching from the mediums to softs for his final run but could not do enough to break into the top ten.

Nico Hulkenberg will start his F1 race return from P13 as like Albon he could not gain enough after switching from the mediums to the softs for his final Q2 run.

Daniil Kvyat finished P14 but will drop five places on the grid for taking a new gearbox, while George Russell again reached Q2 but faces a post-qualifying investigation for failing to slow for yellow flags in Q1.

In Q1, Magnussen ended up 16th as he could not find a way to break into the one minute, 26 seconds barrier, with Alfa Romeo pair Antonio Giovinazzi and Kimi Raikkonen lining up behind him on the grid.

Romain Grosjean ended up P19 in the second Haas, but he lost his best lap of Q1 (which was topped by Bottas), a one minute, 27.317 seconds for a track limits infringement at Copse.

Nicholas Latifi finished last in Q1 after spinning his Williams on his final flying lap.

Russell came across the incident at the exit of Luffield shortly after Latifi had lost the rear of his FW43 as he accelerated away from the long-speed, slow right-hander and gone backwards into the gravel on the outside.

Russell said over his team radio that he “definitely backed off” and he was “well in control”.

So congratulations to Lewis Hamilton with this pole at the home of motor racing. The speed advantage of the Mercedes W11 over the rest is incredible. Hopefully a closer competition on race day.

British Grand Prix, qualifying positions:
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:24.303
2 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:24.616
3 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda 1:25.325
4 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:25.427
5 Lando Norris McLaren-Renault 1:25.782
6 Lance Stroll Racing Point-Mercedes 1:25.839
7 Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren-Renault 1:25.965
8 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1:26.009
9 Esteban Ocon Renault 1:26.209
10 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:26.339
11 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri-Honda 1:26.501
12 Alex Albon Red Bull Racing-Honda 1:26.545
13 Nico Hulkenberg Racing Point-Mercedes 1:26.566
14 George Russell Williams-Mercedes 1:27.092
15 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 1:27.158
16 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1:27.164
17 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1:27.366
18 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 1:27.643
19 Daniil Kvyat AlphaTauri-Honda 1:26.744
20 Nicholas Latifi Williams-Mercedes 1:27.705

5 thoughts to “Hamilton flys to British Grand Prix pole”

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

    Lewis Hamilton may not have led a single session heading into qualifying for the British Grand Prix, but he delivered when it mattered, the Briton sweeping to pole position and fending off a stern challenge from Mercedes team mate and strongest championship rival Valtteri Bottas.

    Reigning world champion Hamilton wasn’t too happy with the car after Friday practice and was unusually still making changes to his Silver Arrow ahead of qualifying. He later admitted those tweaks subsequently made the car worse, and you could believe it when he made a rare mistake in Q2, spinning at Luffield and dragging gravel onto the track to cause a red flag.

    But as he has done so often in his illustrious career, Hamilton regrouped, zoned everything else out, and pieced together the fastest lap of the weekend to nail a track record and put pole position out of reach. In doing so, he also became the first driver to take seven poles at his home event.

    Bottas slotted into second, three tenths off the pace, with Max Verstappen in third for Red Bull, around one second adrift of Hamilton, such was the domination of Mercedes at the Northamptonshire track. They silver cars were 0.7s quicker than 2019, whereas Red Bull and Ferrari are both slower than they were in Q3 this time last year.

    Ferrari opted to strip the downforce of their car here in a bid to make up for their power deficit, and that has helped their qualifying form, with Charles Leclerc taking a strong fourth, only a fraction behind Verstappen. But team mate Sebastian Vettel’s miserable weekend continued, as he could only manage 10th, though he will at least start the race on the more durable medium tyre.

    Lando Norris made it two British drivers in the top five, continuing his strong start to the season as he beat Racing Point’s Lance Stroll, with McLaren team mate Carlos Sainz two tenths further back in seventh. And both Renaults made it into Q3, with Daniel Ricciardo edging out Esteban Ocon.

    But the day belonged to Hamilton, the Briton securing his 100th front row start for Mercedes in 144 races for the team. And pole sets him up perfectly for another win on home soil, given the last six Grands Prix have been won from P1.

    Q1 – Mercedes duel at the front as Russell impresses again

    Bottas set out his stall as favourite for pole position, having topped the times in FP3, with the quickest time after the fastest runs, edging out team mate Hamilton. He improved again next time around, and while Hamilton did, too, he was still a tenth shy of the Finn. Both were comfortably through to Q2, though, with Verstappen their closest threat in third.

    Further back, there was more evidence that the midfield appears to have broken in two, with Haas and Alfa Romeo dropping off the midfield and into their own group at the back, as both their drivers failed to make the cut in this segment of qualifying.

    It was a tale of two halves for Williams, though, with Nicholas Latifi spinning and ending up slowest of all, while his team mate George Russell delivered his third consecutive appearance in Q2, suggesting that not only have Williams caught the pack, but they are – at least in qualifying trim – stronger than Haas and Alfa Romeo.

    The Briton is, however, under investigation for potentially not slowing sufficiently for yellow flags caused by Latifi’s spin, though he was quick to get on the radio and insisted the telemetry would show he slowed.

    Knocked out: Magnussen, Giovinazzi, Raikkonen, Grosjean, Latifi

    Q2 – Hamilton eases through despite rare mistake

    A Hamilton mistake is a rarity, but one crept in early in Q2, as the Briton lost the car at Luffield, spinning round and dragging so much gravel onto the track, the race director opted to deploy the red flag to clean it up.

    When the session got back under way, Hamilton hooked up a tidy lap on the mediums to comfortably go second, three tenths adrift of Bottas on the same rubber with both laps easily good enough to progress.

    As the second runs got under way, Vettel and Stroll boldly headed out on the mediums to mix it up with strategy, with their immediate rivals opting for the soft. And it paid off, just, with the duo progressing ninth and 10th respectively.

    Stroll was particularly fortunate as he set the exact same time as Pierre Gasly, but took 10th by virtue of having set the time first. There wasn’t so much luck for his temporary team mate Nico Hulkenberg, mind, the German failing to make the cut – ending up 13th quickest.

    Alex Albon was only four tenths shy of team mate Verstappen in third, but that meant he didn’t make the top 10 either, taking an early bath along with Danill Kvyat, who has a five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change, and Russell.

    Sainz produced an impressive lap at the death to snatch fourth, almost matching the time set by Verstappen, although the latter only did one run to save a set of tyres, while Leclerc proved Ferrari appear to have made gains in terms of qualifying trim, having stripped the car of downforce, with fifth.

    Knocked out: Gasly, Albon, Hulkenberg, Kvyat, Russell

    Q3 – Hamilton takes third successive pole in 2020

    Bottas had all the momentum coming into the final segment of qualifying, but having been up on Hamilton’s time in the first runs of Q3, he lost that advantage and more in the final corner to slot into second.

    That heaped the pressure on the Finn and he couldn’t take the fight to Hamilton second time around, as the Briton, buoyed by hitting the top of the time sheets at the first time of asking, simply stretched his legs to extend his advantage.

    Red Bull secured their first top-three start at Silverstone since 2016 with Verstappen, but there was a swing against them of 0.9s versus Mercedes compared to the times in Q3 last year. Leclerc’s fourth place, six clear of Vettel, means he is now 2-2 in the team mate head-to-head.

    Norris’ fifth place means he has now started in the top five twice in four races, while Stroll progressed beyond Q1 at Silverstone for the first time in his career as he took sixth. Having failed to make Q3 in Hungary, Renault got both cars into the top 10 shoot-out in Britain, behind Sainz as Vettel completed the top 10.

  2. Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton commented that he was “struggling” before grabbing pole position. Motorsport.com has the news story.

    Lewis Hamilton says he had to make the “hardest turnaround” after spinning midway through Formula 1 qualifying at Silverstone to take pole position for the British Grand Prix.

    Hamilton clinched the 91st pole position of his F1 career on Saturday at Silverstone, leading Mercedes to a front row lock-out.

    Hamilton beat teammate Valtteri Bottas by three tenths of a second in the final stage of qualifying, but had trailed the Finn through both Q1 and Q2.

    A spin for Hamilton at Luffield saw him lose his opening run in Q2 and spark a red flag after dragging gravel onto the racing line as he returned to the track.

    Hamilton explained that some subtle set-up changes made after practice on Friday had left the car feeling unstable at points, causing his spin.

    “In actual fact it really wasn’t a nice qualifying session for me,” Hamilton said.

    “I had this inconsistency with the balance of the car, I was struggling. I got into Q2 and had that big snap and spin, which is my first spin in some time.

    “Luckily the tyres were fine, but then we came in and I went back out on another fresh set, which was just fine. Then it’s just really trying to recompose yourself and get yourself back aligned, because it’s about building, just building blocks when you go through qualifying.

    “That was probably the hardest turnaround I would say, knowing that Valtteri had just been putting in quick lap after quick lap. So to go into Q3 with a fresh reset mentally and put in those two laps, I feel great.

    “Valtteri has been pushing all weekend, he was incredibly quick here. I think I had a tenth and a half advantage to him after the first lap, and I knew that he would pick up some pace in that second run, so the pressure was still on to go out and do better.”

    Hamilton paid tribute to the Mercedes team for its efforts after dominating qualifying at Silverstone, finishing over a second clear of Max Verstappen in third for Red Bull.

    The result marked Mercedes’ seventh consecutive pole position for the British Grand Prix, a record stretching back to the start of the V6 hybrid era in 2014.

    “It’s pretty incredible, the performance here. This track is really one of the best tracks in the world, especially when the wind is right like today, and the temperatures are just right,” Hamilton said.

    “This team is remarkable. I’m incredibly grateful to this team who continue to do a great job back at the factory, and also here during the weekends. Bit by bit we continue to step forwards.

    “We’re still powering ahead, we’re not resting on the performance that we have, we’re trying to push the boundaries and the limits. That’s the most impressive thing about this team.”

  3. Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen said that the warmer conditions wouldn’t have changed result following qualifying. Motorsport.com has the details.

    Max Verstappen thinks he would have still qualified third behind both Mercedes drivers for the British Grand Prix even if the hot practice conditions had continued on Saturday.

    Verstappen was able to lead first practice at Silverstone as the temperature reached 35ºC on Friday, which was the third-hottest day on record in Great Britain.

    Red Bull appeared to match Mercedes for pace in the warmer conditions, only for Verstappen to finish over a second off Lewis Hamilton’s pole position time in qualifying.

    It meant Verstappen ended up third on the grid as Valtteri Bottas completed a front row lock-out for Mercedes, three-tenths of a second off Hamilton’s lap.

    Verstappen said while hotter conditions in qualifying would have worked in Red Bull’s favour, he doubted it would have been enough to make up the one-second gap.

    “We would still be quite a few tenths down,” Verstappen said when asked by Motorsport.com if Red Bull was closer to Mercedes in warmer temperatures.

    “I don’t think the warm weather makes such a big difference. If it would have been 35 degrees today, I would still have been third.

    “It would have helped maybe a little bit, but not that much.”

    Verstappen was able to lead first practice at Silverstone as the temperature reached 35ºC on Friday, which was the third-hottest day on record in Great Britain.

    Red Bull appeared to match Mercedes for pace in the warmer conditions, only for Verstappen to finish over a second off Lewis Hamilton’s pole position time in qualifying.

    It meant Verstappen ended up third on the grid as Valtteri Bottas completed a front row lock-out for Mercedes, three-tenths of a second off Hamilton’s lap.

    Verstappen said while hotter conditions in qualifying would have worked in Red Bull’s favour, he doubted it would have been enough to make up the one-second gap.

    “We would still be quite a few tenths down,” Verstappen said when asked by Motorsport.com if Red Bull was closer to Mercedes in warmer temperatures.

    “I don’t think the warm weather makes such a big difference. If it would have been 35 degrees today, I would still have been third.

    “It would have helped maybe a little bit, but not that much.”

  4. Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel mentioned that this British Grand Prix weekend can’t get much worse following a difficult qualifying session. Motorsport.com has the story.

    Sebastian Vettel reckons his British Grand Prix weekend cannot get much worse, after another difficult day for the German.

    With his Friday running having been limited by an intercooler problem and then an issue with his pedals, things did not improve much on Saturday.

    He faced fresh car problems in final practice and then struggled to find a good pace in qualifying, eventually ending up 10th on the grid after his final laptime was deleted for running wide at Copse.

    After facing the brunt of Ferrari’s issues, Vettel was clear that he did not think the team was paying any less attention to him than Charles Leclerc, who will start fourth, and that he could only see things getting better.

    “I don’t want to accuse anyone of bad intentions,” he told C4. “From my side it was not ideal today.

    “I had a lot of trouble finding the rhythm. As I said, I am relatively confident that tomorrow will be better. How much I don’t know. I can’t promise anything, but it can’t get much worse..

    Asked about what had gone wrong in qualifying, Vettel said: “The honest answer is I don’t know. I mean, I struggled a little bit to get into the groove and into the rhythm, which around here is important.

    “Yesterday, we didn’t get much running, not many quality laps, and this morning, we had another small issue. So yeah, not ideal, but equally, I thought the car was okay.

    “I struggled to put it together. So I think it’s probably more me just making sure everything comes together. So not a good good session, but let’s see what we can do tomorrow.”

    He later added to Sky: “Tomorrow we’ll be on the wrong tyres at the end of the queue, at the end of the top 10, so it won’t be a piece of cake.”

    Vettel has confessed, however, that the situation of him knowing his time at Ferrari is coming to and end is not making life especially easy.

    “[It’s] not ideal,” he said. “I mean, not an easy year so far. Obviously now the races come very quick. So that can be a pain but can also be a blessing.

    “Obviously the last two days haven’t been good and therefore we lost a little bit of momentum. I thought that other than that, the first weekend was trouble, the second weekend didn’t really happen. The third weekend was sort of the first smooth weekend and now we’re in trouble again. So it’s been a bit of a rough start, but you know, there’s not much choice.

    “I’m determined to hang in there. I think the guys are pushing as much as they can. I don’t think there’s any bad intentions by anyone. So we obviously had some issues yesterday and this morning, but we have to, I guess, at this stage pull through and we’ll come out on the other side.”

  5. Following the news that Sergio Perez was tested positive by COVID-19, Nico Hulkenberg stepped into the role of Racing Point but admitted he didn’t get everything out of the car. Motorsport.com has the full details.

    Racing Point Formula 1 team substitute driver Nico Hulkenberg admitted he didn’t get everything out of his car after failing to progress into Q3 in British Grand Prix qualifying.

    The German has faced a steep learning curve since jumping into the pink car on Friday morning in place of Sergio Perez, who was sidelined by a positive COVID-19 test.

    Inevitably, he has also faced neck issues at one of the toughest tracks of the year given his lack of mileage in the car and ability to prepare.

    He made it through Q1 in fifth place, having been obliged to use a second set of tyres. However, an attempt to join other frontrunners in getting out of Q2 on the medium tyre didn’t come off.

    He was 10th after the first runs, and then slipped to 13th at the end of the session after switching to the softs. His teammate Lance Stroll did progress, and ultimately qualified sixth.

    Hulkenberg acknowledged that it had been a difficult day for him.

    “I feel there was more potential and I didn’t get everything from the table,” Hulkenberg told Sky F1.

    “But given the circumstances it was also very hard, I don’t know if you can expect to get 100% from the car in those circumstances.

    “It was small margins, and then Q3 was not far away. We played around with the different compounds, so it was a bit tricky also with the rhythm. It is what it is for today.”

    Hulkenberg agreed that a free choice of tyres for the start would at least give him a strategic advantage over some of those ahead.

    “Yes, that’s always a good option. Some of the other top 10 runners that were also starting on the harder tyres, on medium. So it’s going to be interesting to see, so many new inputs and everything I enter into with the car is new.

    “First time qualy, first time low-fuel, first time high-fuel so I have to learn and soak everything in. Digest it fast which hasn’t been easy. But I’ve also been enjoying it.”

    Regarding the physical challenge, he said: “Let me tell you these cars are beasts. So much downforce, I’ve never felt so much speed in the corners, so much Gs. But also tough.”

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