Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes AMG F1 team stormed to his sixth pole position of the British Grand Prix with an inspired lap. He pipped Sebastian Vettel of Scuderia Ferrari to P2 by a coincidental “44” thousandth of a second. Kimi Raikkonen was third fastest ahead of Valtteri Bottas on fourth. Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo of Red Bull Racing rounded off the top six. Both Renault cars were conspicuous by their absence from the top-ten.
Hamilton Takes an Emotional Pole in a Tight Fight with Ferrari
Q1: Carlos Sainz eliminated while Sebastian Vettel tops
The first qualifying session started with hot track temperatures going up to 51 degrees C while the air temperatures were around 25 degrees C. Most cars started on the soft tyres except for the two Mercedes cars and the Ferrari of Raikkonen, who were on medium tyres.
Qualifying was red flagged minutes into the first session after Lance Stroll skidded into the gravel. Almost immediately after the track turned green, the other Williams car of Sergey Sirotkin was in the gravel too.
Sebastian Vettel topped Q1 with a lap time of 1:26.585s. The ever-improving Sauber team managed to get both their cars into Q2. The dropzone had both the Williams drivers along with the McLaren of Stoffel Vandoorne. The surprise of the session was the elimination of Carlos Sainz of Renault, who could only manage P16. Brendon Hartley of Scuderia Toro Rosso did not participate due to a huge crash in FP3.
Q2: Hulkenberg eliminated while Hamilton tops
The second qualifying session was quite uneventful except for the elimination of Nico Hulkenberg. Charles Leclerc once again managed to take his Sauber through to Q3, as is now expected of him.
Lewis Hamilton topped Q2 with a lap time of 1:26.256s. The other drivers eliminated apart from Hulkenberg were Pierre Gasly, Marcus Ericsson, Fernando Alonso and Sergio Perez.
Q3: A tight battle between Hamilton and the Ferrari drivers
The third qualifying session started with a prospect of a close fight between the Mercedes and Ferrari drivers. And so it turned out. Red Bull never threatened for pole, and neither did the second Mercedes car of Valtteri Bottas. The higher track temperatures seemed to suit the Ferrari cars more than anybody else.
Vettel laid down a marker of 1:25.936s lap which seemed tough to overhaul. But Hamilton, inspired by a prospect of a sixth pole at his home grand prix, pulled a rabbit out of his hat by setting a new lap record of 1:25.892s, pipping Vettel. Raikkonen on his final run was even faster than Hamilton in Sector 1, but squandered it in the middle sector to finish third fastest.
Daniel Ricciardo had some trouble with his rear wing which saw him finish P6, almost half a second behind his teammate, Verstappen. Charles Leclerc finished P9 just behind the two Haas cars and just ahead of Esteban Ocon of Force India.
Close Lap times in Qualifying bodes well for a close race on Sunday
In what was being predicted as a redemption for Mercedes at Silverstone, after the fiasco in Austria, the Ferrari is still running them very close. The wafer-thin margin in lap times among the top three in qualifying points to a very close race.
The high temperatures seem to be suiting Ferrari more than Mercedes. But Hamilton will be pumped up for a big win on Sunday, as was evident when he was literally shaking with emotions after achieving pole. Will he become the most successful British driver at the British GP? Don’t miss the race and find out on Sunday.
The complete qualifying time-sheet:
|5||33||Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer||1:27.309||1:27.013||1:26.602||14|
|6||3||Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer||1:27.979||1:27.369||1:27.099||14|
|10||31||Force India Mercedes||1:28.279||1:27.843||1:28.194||20|
|12||11||Force India Mercedes||1:28.210||1:27.928||14|
|14||10||Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda||1:28.399||1:28.343||15|
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