Bottas scores pole at Silverstone as Hulkenberg takes third

Valtteri Bottas beat his Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton to pole position for Formula 1’s 70th Anniversary Grand Prix, as Nico Hulkenberg achieved an incredible third for Racing Point.

The softer tyres at Silverstone led to an interesting and unusual qualifying session, with all the top ten runners making it through to Q3 on the medium Pirelli compound, apart from Verstappen, who will start the race on the harder spec.

Mercedes also switched the rubber on their cars midway through the final segment of the session, after Hamilton had led the way on the first flying laps with a one minute, 25.284 seconds on the soft tyres.

But after the leaders switched back to the medium rubber for their final efforts, Bottas overcome the pole challenge to beat Hamilton to pole by 0.080 seconds.

Although Hamilton ended the session with the fastest first and third sectors – and neither Mercedes drivers set the fastest time in the first sector on their final laps – Bottas purple effort in the second sector gave him the upper hand as he roared to his first pole since the season-opening Austrian Grand Prix.

Hulkenberg claimed third with an incredible final run to start third – as he again competes in place of Sergio Perez at Racing Point.

Verstappen did the opposite to the Mercedes drivers and switched from the softs to the mediums for his final run in Q3 and he improved by not by enough to take third from Hulkenberg.

Daniel Ricciardo was third after the first runs in Q3 as he completed the final segment on the mediums throughout, but he did not improve on his second lap and was shuffled down to fifth.

Lance Stroll took sixth in the other Racing Point car, ahead of AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly and the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc.

Alex Albon finished ninth and Lando Norris rounded out the top ten.

Esteban Ocon qualified P11 despite setting a personal best on his final lap in Q2 but he faces a post-qualifying investigation for blocking George Russell as they ran onto the Wellington straight mid-way through Q1.

Sebastian Vettel tried to use the soft tyres in a bid to squeeze into the top ten for Ferrari, but he ended up P12 saying on his team radio “that was all there was in this car.”

Carlos Sainz was another runner to improve with their final Q2 effort but not go through as he wound up P13 – the first time a McLaren driver has not made it through to Q3 for the first time this season.

Romain Grosjean took P14 for Haas ahead of Russell, who again made it out of Q1 for the fourth event in succession for Williams.

Russell only completed on run in Q2, an effort on the soft tyres that left him 15th and last in that segment.

In Q1, Daniil Kvyat was knocked out by Ocon’s late improvement at the last moment in the opening segment after he had had his final flying lap deleted for a track limits infringement at Stowe.

But that lap was not Kvyat’s personal best of the session, and he reported “something broke” on his slower – and subsequently deleted – final tour.

Kevin Magnussen and Grosjean set their initial times in Q1 on the mediums, as did Russell, before all the rivers switched to the soft tyre.

But while Grosjean made it through to Q2, Magnussen was knocked out in the final flurry of laps, with Nicholas Latifi and the Alfa Romeo duo of Antonio Giovinazzi and Kimi Raikkonen bringing up the rear of the field.

So congratulations to Valtteri Bottas in scoring a pole position. He just recently signed a new contract to stay at the team for next season and this P1 result is just a perfect. And yet, the star of qualifying is Nico Hulkenberg. Driving for Racing Point in place of the sick Sergio Perez, to grab P3 is an excellent result. Fingers crossed The Hulk can score that podium finish in the race.

Qualifying position, Silverstone:
1 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:25.154
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:25.217
3 Nico Hulkenberg Racing Point-Mercedes 1:26.082
4 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda 1:26.176
5 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1:26.297 1.143
6 Lance Stroll Racing Point-Mercedes 1:26.428
7 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri-Honda 1:26.534
8 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:26.614
9 Alex Albon Red Bull Racing-Honda 1:26.669
10 Lando Norris McLaren-Renault 1:26.778
11 Esteban Ocon Renault 1:27.011
12 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:27.078
13 Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren-Renault 1:27.083
14 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 1:27.254
15 George Russell Williams-Mercedes 1:27.455
16 Daniil Kvyat AlphaTauri-Honda 1:27.882
17 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 1:28.236
18 Nicholas Latifi Williams-Mercedes 1:28.430
19 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1:28.433
20 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1:28.493

5 thoughts to “Bottas scores pole at Silverstone as Hulkenberg takes third”

  1. Qualifying review as reported by

    With a freshly inked contract extension in his back pocket, an inspired Valtteri Bottas got the bit between his teeth to beat Mercedes team mate Lewis Hamilton to pole position, as super sub Nico Hulkenberg took a remarkable third for the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix at Silverstone.

    The Finn set the pace in every single segment of qualifying, but was on the backfoot after the first runs in Q3 as Hamilton sauntered to the top of the timesheets. But Bottas refused to be rattled and while Hamilton improved again on his next effort, this time the Finn had an answer.

    This was his 13th career pole position and sets him up nicely for the second successive race at Silverstone, having suffered the misery of a tyre deflation last time out when running second, with the Finn likely to be buoyed by the fact he has won the last two races he has started from P1.

    But the most impressive performance came from pink car of Nico Hulkenberg. The German was parachuted in to replace Sergio Perez, following the Mexican’s positive test for Covid 19, last weekend but failed to take the race start because of an engine issue. This weekend has been much smoother, with Hulkenberg comfortably beating regular race driver and team mate Stroll in all segments of qualifying.

    His final effort was superb, the former Renault racer setting the third best time, inside a second of the dominant Mercedes and one tenth of a second clear of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen. Daniel Riccardo was an impressive fifth, equalling Renault’s best of the year.

    Stroll had no answer to Hulkenberg as he ended up three places back in sixth with Pierre Gasly continuing his brilliant start to the 2020 campaign with a stunning seventh for AlphaTauri. Charles Leclerc could do no better than eighth, which is Ferrari’s worst performance at Silverstone since 2014, with team mate Sebastian Vettel failing to escape Q2.

    Alexander Albon ended up half a second behind team mate Verstappen, but he did at least comfortably make it through to Q3 this weekend after an early exit last time out. Lando Norris closed out the top 10 for McLaren.

    Q1 – Russell makes it four successive Q2 appearances

    Bottas got the better of Hamilton in the opening foray, the Finn edging the reigning world champion to the fastest time by just 0.080s. They were comfortably clear of the Red Bulls, with Alex Albon having a much more straightforward time of it this time around at Silverstone.

    The Thai driver did two runs, his second good enough for third, one place clear of Max Verstappen, who was so confident of his pace he only did the single run, allowing him to save tyres for later in the session.

    Elsewhere, there was drama for George Russell as he appeared to be blocked heavily by Esteban Ocon, the Williams driver describing the Frenchman’s driving as “properly dangerous”. Stewards said they would investigate the incident after the race.

    Both drivers made it through, with Russell impressing again as he made in through to Q2 for the fourth successive race, once again showing how much Williams have improved and how well the Briton is currently driving.

    Daniil Kvyat ran wide at Stowe, and reported he thought the floor was damaged in the off-track excursion. The AlphaTauri driver was the best-placed driver to fail to make Q2, with Kevin Magnussen, Nicholas Latifi and the Alfa Romeos of Antonio Giovinazzi and Kimi Raikkonen also dropping out.

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

    Q2 – Hulkenberg stars, but Vettel struggles

    Bottas made it two from two in 70th Anniversary GP qualifying, as he set the pace once again, though, interestingly it was super sub Hulkenberg who was second quickest, the Racing Point driver a staggering four tenths quicker than team mate and regular race driver Lance Stroll, son of the team’s owner.

    Hamilton was only third, with nine of the top 10 setting their best laps on the medium. The outlier was Max Verstappen, who rolled the dice and ran the hards instead. Succeed and he would start the race on the most durable tyre, allowing him to run deeper into the race before fitting the fastest softer tyre, on lighter fuel.

    Of course, he got the job done, with the ninth quickest time – but there was yet more misery for Sebastian Vettel as he failed to reach Q3 for the second time this year. That compared to missing Q3 just once last year.

    The driver replacing him at Ferrari, Carlos Sainz, also got the boot, as McLaren failed to reach Q3 with both cars for the first time this season. But perhaps that’s not a surprise – has he has only reached Q3 once in his as five attempts at Silverstone.

    Ocon, Grosjean and Russell were the other drivers to fail to make it into Q3.

    Knocked out: Ocon, Vettel, Sainz, Grosjean, Russell

    Q3 – Bottas keeps his head to fend off Hamilton

    Hamilton has had the better of Bottas in qualifying in the last three events, but the Finn was having none of it at Silverstone this time around. He found a rhythm early in the session and though he was second, 0.116s adrift, after the first runs in Q3, he made no mistake on his final run to snatch the prime starting spot for Sunday.

    Ricciardo popped in a quick lap on his first run to sit third, ahead of Hulkenberg, with Verstappen fifth as the Red Bull driver was unhappy with his medium tyres. But that trio swapped positions after the final runs, with Hulkenberg coming out on top, edging out Verstappen, as Ricciardo slipped to fifth.

    Albon was a strong sixth after the first runs, but he dropped to ninth, as Stroll, Leclerc and Gasly all improved, while Norris remained 10th and last of the runners throughout.

  2. Nico Hulkenberg admitted he was “surprised” to have qualified third for the 70th Anniversary GP as he feared that he had damaged his car by going off.

    Hulkenberg, who missed last week’s British GP due to an engine issue and was only confirmed as replacement for Sergio Perez on Friday morning, will start behind works Mercedes duo Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton.

    Hulkenberg progressed through Q1 in ninth place, but was only 14th after the first runs in Q2 having run off the road at Becketts.

    However, he then recovered with a superb second place on the second run to get through to the final session.

    His third place matches the achievement of Racing Point teammate Lance Stroll in Hungary last month.

    “A crazy last seven, eight days or whatever it is now,” said the German. “Last week the high to come back, and then the low on Sunday, so very extreme. This weekend I felt much better obviously, in the car, much more prepared.

    “Qualy was still tricky. In Q2 I made life hard for myself a bit, and I was a bit scared that I damaged the car.

    “And then Q3 was just head down, full beans, whatever I had. A bit surprised to be honest to stand here, but obviously a big smile on my face. But also a lot of respect for the race tomorrow.”

    Hulkenberg admitted that a race distance would be a test of his fitness after his limited opportunity to prepare since last weekend.

    “That’s definitely going to hurt some more, not having last week’s experience, and not having gone through the motions there with the start and everything, because it’s still new with this car. But we’ll do what we can. I’ll try to learn fast and to keep the car where it deserves to be.”

    Asked if he’d boosted his prospects of landing a seat for next year he said: “Well it’s only Saturday, there’s always Sunday obviously that matters most. It’s definitely one of those nice little highlights, but it’s no time to cheer yet, because tomorrow is the big day.”


  3. Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas admitted that a resolving car set-up was the “deficit” key to getting pole position. has the news story.

    Valtteri Bottas says making up a “deficit” with his Mercedes Formula 1 car set-up in qualifying was the key to taking pole position for the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix.

    Bottas managed to deny Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton back-to-back pole positions at Silverstone by going six hundredths of a second faster with his final lap in Q3.

    It marked an impressive turnaround for Bottas, who had finished three tenths of a second adrift of Hamilton in qualifying for the British Grand Prix last Saturday at Silverstone.

    “From last weekend to this week, we’ve been just working on everything that we can improve with the car, and also for us, me and Lewis driving-wise, we’ve been trying to find more,” Bottas said.

    “We’ve been able to in terms of the set-up, and at least for me, driving-wise, find a bit more. The same process goes throughout the weekend, so we’ve been able to go in the right direction from the beginning of this weekend until qualifying

    Bottas said after practice on Friday that he felt on a much better footing heading into the race weekend compared to last week, and explained after qualifying there was a one-lap set-up deficit he had worked to make up.

    “Of course I can’t go too much into set-up details, but we’ve been able to improve the car set-up for me,” Bottas said.

    “I had a slight deficit last weekend in qualifying, just in terms of the direction I went. I don’t think it was a bad race car, but I hope now it’s optimised for both [qualifying and the race].

    “Between the races, we analyse everything from the race weekend, set-up, my driving, in qualifying and in the race. I try to do it better, and at least today, I managed to do some things better than I did last weekend.

    “It’s pretty standard process to be honest. I don’t want to go into details of the set-up, but it was definitely better in qualifying today than a week ago.”

    Tyre wear was a concern for all drivers through qualifying, with many finding the soft compound was not lasting long enough, even for one-lap runs in Q3.

    Bottas ultimately switched to medium tyres for his final run to pole position, and will also start on the yellow-ringed compound in tomorrow’s race.

    But the Finn said he did not anticipate being able to complete tomorrow’s race on just one stop, given Pirelli’s deacons to offer a softer selection of tyres than last weekend at Silverstone.

    “One-stop could be quite difficult here with the compounds we have this weekend,” Bottas said.

    “I think things are going to be a bit different to last weekend in terms of strategy. I’m sure the guys will be looking at all their options overnight.

    “Obviously myself, the expectations for tomorrow, there’s nothing more than to win the race when you start from the pole.”

  4. This was a difficult qualifying session for Sebastian Vettel. The Ferrari driver was knocked in Q2 and commented that he feels like “going up against a wall”. has the details.

    Sebastian Vettel feels like he is going up against a wall in trying to work out how to get more speed from his Ferrari at Silverstone.

    After a tough time at last weekend’s British Grand Prix, Vettel had hoped for an uplift in form at the 70th Anniversary GP. However, he has not shown much better form and failed to make it through to Q3 again.

    With teammate Charles Leclerc ending up eighth on the grid, Vettel could only set the 12th fastest time in Q2 – but will start in 11th spot after Esteban Ocon was given a grid penalty.

    Speaking to Sky Italia after qualifying, Vettel said that he and the team had run out of answers as to what was lacking with his car after trying a host of experiments.

    “We’ve tried a lot of things and I have to compliment my team on the work they’ve done,” said the German. “This weekend I feel a bit better in the car than I did last weekend, but looking at the stopwatch you can’t see the difference.

    “I feel like I’m going up against a wall. I don’t think there is any more potential in my car. Being 12th is disappointing and having this gap to Charles [Leclerc] also, but as I said, I am doing everything I can and I don’t think the car can do more than it did today.”

    Vettel said that he was not trying to find any excuses as to why things were so difficult right now, and he said the ultimate problem was a simple lack of speed.

    “We are in the same position compared to last week, nothing has changed,” he said. “Everyone is pushing and giving their all, but it seems like there is something we just can’t change.”

    He added: “If I’m honest we’re in this position because we’re not fast enough. We have been clearly beaten by those in front of us.

    “It’s not a question of bad luck or anything. Tomorrow it will be difficult to bring home points but we will try to do our best. We’ll see what we can do.”

  5. Esteban Ocon has been handed a three-place grid penalty for the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix after blocking George Russell during qualifying on Saturday.

    While passing a slow-moving Antonio Giovinazzi, Renault driver Ocon was caught out on the racing line as Russell came through on a hot lap during Q1 at Silverstone, forcing the Williams to back off.

    Russell was quick to complain over team radio about Ocon’s move, saying the Frenchman “massively got in my way” and was “mega dangerous”.

    Ocon went on to qualify 11th for Renault, but was braced for a penalty after talking to race engineer Mark Slade over team radio in the garage, saying: “That wasn’t good, Mark.”

    When Ocon asked if he would be penalised for the move, Slade replied: “Yes.”

    Ocon and Russell were both called to see the stewards about the incident following qualifying, with the brief hearing resulting in a three-place grid drop for Ocon.

    “At the exit of Turn 5, Giovinazzi was at the head of three cars and was on an in-lap, Ocon was next, on an out-lap and Russell was on a flying lap,” the stewards’ bulletin reads.

    “While Russell approached, the team advised Ocon on the radio about Giovinazzi ahead, but didn’t advise about Russell until very late.

    “As Russell approached the two cars ahead, Ocon pulled to the right to overtake Giovinazzi and clearly impeded the much faster Russell.

    “The team admitted that they did not assist their driver in this instance which led to the impeding.”

    It results in a three-place grid penalty for Ocon, handing a position on the grid to Sebastian Vettel, Carlos Sainz and Romain Grosjean.

    Ocon will now start the race from 14th, one place ahead of Russell, who took P15 for Williams.

    The incident also saw Ocon pick up one penalty point on his FIA super license, his first for the 12-month period.

    Ocon heads into Sunday’s race looking to build on a sixth-place finish at Silverstone last weekend in the British Grand Prix, which was his best result since returning to F1 with Renault.


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