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