Hamilton on pole despite losing a lap

2016 British Grand Prix qualifying

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Lewis Hamilton took his fourth British Grand Prix pole position despite a scare in Q3 when one of his lap times was deleted.

Hamilton bounced back to reclaim his position at the top of the times ahead of team mate Nico Rosberg. The Red Bulls will occupy row two.


British GP qualifying in pictures
Two of the three home drivers fell at the first hurdle in qualifying. Among them was Jenson Button, who just one week after starting third on the grid in Austria was knocked out in the first round at Silverstone.

There was a brief glimmer of hope for Button as it emerged the stewards were investigating whether Kevin Magnussen had put all four wheels wide while setting his lap time. However they ruled in favour of the Renault driver, confirming Button’s elimination.

He was joined by Jolyon Palmer, who was inside the top 16 with his first run but slipped into the drop zone with his final run. The struggling Manors also dropped out along with the sole Sauber of Felipe Nasr, whose team mate Marcus Ericsson had crashed heavily in final practice.

Drivers eliminated in Q1

17Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Honda1’32.788
18Jolyon PalmerRenault1’32.905
19Rio HaryantoManor-Mercedes1’33.098
20Pascal WehrleinManor-Mercedes1’33.151
21Felipe NasrSauber-Ferrari1’33.544
22Marcus EricssonSauber-Ferrari


The two Mercedes drivers were separated by mere hundredths throughout practice and into Q1. But in Q2 Hamilton played his full hand, beating his 2013 track record to produce a 1’29.243. Rosberg was the only other driver who was able to join him in the sub-90 second bracket, albeit seven-tenths slower than his team mate.

Behind them the fight to get into the top ten was much closer and Kimi Raikkonen almost didn’t make it. The Ferrari driver spun at Club as he prepared for his first lap, then ran wide at Village after beginning his second run. He finally put a clean lap together on his third effort to join his team mate in the top ten.

Raikkonen’s late improvement pushed Fernando Alonso outside the top ten but a final flyer from the McLaren driver saw him proceed to Q3 following his team mate’s elimination. Carlos Sainz Jnr was the last driver to

Drivers eliminated in Q2

11Sergio PerezForce India-Mercedes1’31.875
12Felipe MassaWilliams-Mercedes1’32.002
13Romain GrosjeanHaas-Ferrari1’32.050
14Esteban GutierrezHaas-Ferrari1’32.241
15Daniil KvyatToro Rosso-Ferrari1’32.306
16Kevin MagnussenRenault1’37.060


Hamilton’s flying lap from Q2 proved a benchmark even he couldn’t quite match. His first effort in Q3 was a tenth of a second off, but still put him on course for pole position as Rosberg could only manage a 1’29.606.

Or so it seemed. However Hamilton had strayed beyond the confines of the track at Stowe and his lap time was duly deleted. That left him with a final effort to improve his effort from tenth on the grid.

His response was almost perfect. Though a touch hesitant in the middle of the lap – clearly wary of committing the same error at Copse – his final effort was just four-hundredths shy of his earlier time. Rosberg failed again to better his initial time, and had to settle for second.

Max Verstappen was almost a second slower in the Red Bull but inflicting Daniel Ricciardo’s first defeat in qualifying of the season so far. Vettel had a scruffy moment at Stowe and had to settle for sixth behind his team mate, which will become eleventh after his penalty.

Alonso originally set a lap time quick enough for eighth on the grid but it was deleted because a track limits violation, dropping him back to tenth. Nico Hulkenberg also had his best time deleted which dropped him behind Sainz.

Top ten in Q3

1Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’29.287
2Nico RosbergMercedes1’29.606
3Max VerstappenRed Bull-TAG Heuer1’30.313
4Daniel RicciardoRed Bull-TAG Heuer1’30.618
5Kimi RaikkonenFerrari1’30.881
6Sebastian VettelFerrari1’31.490
7Valtteri BottasWilliams-Mercedes1’31.557
8Carlos Sainz JnrToro Rosso-Ferrari1’31.989
9Nico HulkenbergForce India-Mercedes1’32.172
10Fernando AlonsoMcLaren-Honda1’32.343

2016 British Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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61 comments on “Hamilton on pole despite losing a lap”

  1. Scary for the other teams isn’t it. Scary for Rosberg too except that reliability and PU penalties could still tilt the table in his favour.

    1. 1:29.2 is quick!!!! Cameras gave a good account of how quick it was too. Can only imagine how it’ll look next year. I’d love to see how the present cars would compare on the old layout. Hamilton has looked class all weekend

      1. Like Brawn and Symonds I’m waiting to be convinced whether next year’s cars will be a better spectacle @3dom. At this stage I can only hope anyway!

        1. @lockup I don’t doubt doubt that I’ll find next year’s cars more aesthetically pleasing, I also believe that they will look quicker. I agree that we won’t know the full effect of the racing until next year, but like you I remain hopeful. I still wished they would allow the noses to be a little higher, similar to the heights in 2014, the reduction in height seems to have had a negative effect on the racing

          1. Yeah that FW height change was a disaster @3dom, it would have been such an easy fix to put it right.

    2. @lockup the impending PU penalties are the reason why I still consider Rosberg to be the favourite for the championship at this stage. Hamilton, despite his talent, still has a mountain to climb against this formidable rival

      1. Yeah it starts with the start, and I’m sure we’ll be able to cut the tension with a knife tomorrow since Nico has been getting better ones on average, but I suspect they’ll keep it clean.

      2. It’s not a very large mountain– Rosberg has been failing to reach the podium, and has yet to have massive gremlins of the level Hamilton has had. Hamilton is low on MGU-K’s and turbos, if I recall, but those are “only” 5 grid spots each, and there are a number of “power” circuits left where the Mercedes W06 can allow Hamilton to make up 5 spots relatively easily.

  2. Can someone find a sensible solution to this track limits mess which has gone on for far too long now? F1 really looked silly today.

    1. Rules are the same for everyone… so no worries

    2. @craig-o I’m afraid I totally disagree.

      What we saw today was drivers being penalised when they exceeded track limits and gained and advantage from it and being allowed to keep times when they exceeded track limits and were disadvantaged by it.

      I don’t see any need to adopt an unnecessarily binary system of ‘if you exceed track limits, you lose your laptime, fullstop’, because that will be far more ridiculous. Because what will happen then? If a driver locks up into a hairpin and runs deep off the circuit, they will have their entire laptime deleted despite very clearly losing time? That scenario seems far more ridiculous to me.

      I don’t understand what the problem is with having a nuanced system like this where you get penalised for gaining an advantage – like we saw at incidents in Copse, Stowe and Club – and drivers allowed to run wide at Luffield as it is not advantageous for them. I think everything worked perfectly well today.

      And when it comes to consistency over different circuits, ultimately, the drivers and teams have regular meetings with race control throughout grand prix weekends and they are all told, very clearly, ‘THIS is what will be allowed, THIS is what WON’T be allowed’.

      They all know the rules. As long as the penalties and time deletions are in accordance with what the drivers were told before the session – which everything seems to indicate is the case – I personally see no problems with it.

      1. petebaldwin (@)
        9th July 2016, 14:52

        @willwood – The definition of the word “advantage” is “a condition or circumstance that puts one in a favourable or superior position.”

        Now, if you have one driver sticking to the limits even if that means carrying slightly less speed through a corner and you have another driver keeping his foot down and going off the track, how does that not qualify as “gaining an advantage?”

        You could say all drivers should therefore deliberately go off track to ensure it’s fair for all. Why bother with kerbs and white lines then? Why not just say all drivers can do whatever they like – find the quickest way from A to B.

        1. @petebaldwin Like David Coulthard pointed out in qualifying, there’s no time to be gained by going out of the lines on the exit of Luffield – you actually lose time. That is why no one in this GP2 race I’m currently watching is exceeding the white lines on the kerbs at Luffield.

          Race control have a lot of data available to them. If they determine that running wide at Luffield isn’t advantageous but running wide at Copse, Stowe and Club are, then I have to admit that I’m inclined to believe them.

          1. petebaldwin (@)
            9th July 2016, 15:14

            @willwood Damon Hill said the exact opposite on Sky. It doesn’t matter if you lose time by going off – you won’t have lost as much time as you would if you backed off and made every effort to stay on the track.

            The rules state: Drivers must make every reasonable effort to use the track at all times and may not deliberately leave the track without a justifiable reason.

            I’m sure they’ll say it wasn’t deliberate however if there was a wall there, would Hamilton, Verstappen, Kimi, K-Mag etc have all hit it during qualifying!? Of course not.

            This isn’t a new problem – here’s Charlie saying he’ll take a zero-tolerance approach in 2014:

            And 2015:

            Then we get told they’ll be tougher on track limits this year:

          2. @petebaldwin @willwood I don’t buy that there was no advantage to gain on the exit of Luffield, otherwise I very highly doubt that so many would have extended there. Hamilton (who did run wide there) did gain 0.3 in the second sector on Rosberg (who did not) on the final lap after all.

            I do not blame the drivers for going out there and trying to get the fastest lap possible. It’s what they’re paid (or what they pay) to do after all.

            I agree that running wide and gaining an advantage should result in a time deleted (or a penalty in a race situation), but I do not agree that it should only apply to select corners and only as and when the stewards choose to apply it. What we saw with Magnussen and Button was simply silly, and nobody knew what was going on.

            We had a worrying amount of suspension failures last weekend thanks to oversized kerbs in an attempt to put drivers off going beyond the white line. Clearly that didn’t work. What we have at the moment at a lot of tracks where it is really easy to gain an advantage at certain corners clearly does not work either.

            It’s a tricky debate to find some sort of reasonable solution to, especially when it is taken into account that it is not just F1 which goes to the likes of Silverstone, but pretty much every major British, European and world series. So whatever is on the exit of a corner must cater for everybody, but finding such a compromise clearly isn’t all that clear-cut.

            I just want to see consistent, clear-cut rules which apply to every circuit and are enforced properly. It has been much better in the races in recent years but it is still questionable in qualifying, and today just highlighted that. It’s not just an F1-wide problem, but due to the car park nature of many of the modern circuits, it’s an issue in so many categories now.

          3. interesting writeup @petebaldwin

            I don’t know what is worse, seeing some guys get penalized for gaining an advantage under “zero tolerance”, or an administration that doesn’t account for it’s own behavior…

            I saw lots of guys gaining an advantage by busting track limits. I would have to say Lewis’ bust in Q2 was far more egregious, but it never got called.

            The root problem I feel, isn’t people breaking the rules, it’s the rule makers not even living up to their own standard. It sets a poor example, and encourages the opposite of what they pretend to be about. Because effectively they are pretending, they are not doing what they should. This kind of unaccountability goes much farther than drivers busting track limits.

          4. emphasis on ‘some guys’.

    3. Yeah, I have seen some fans calling for more track limits “policing” even suggesting that entire tracks should be policed and drivers punished.

      I get astonished by so-called F1 fans who continually complain about over regulation and all sorts but are usually the ones who ask and instigate those regulations and accrued penalties in the first place. The radio silence we are having currently is as a result of F1 fans complaining mostly about radio comms especially at Mercedes. Now the rule affects everyone.
      Asking for entire track limits policing is ignorant because that is clearly over doing things. In my understanding of Physics, those cars will continue to behave the way they do on track so long as there is something called momentum ie the product of mass and velocity. Which is why stewards have specific corners on a track where such policing are required being that exceeding limits in those places leads to advantage. So for anyone to expect those cars to travel that fast and stay within the boundaries of the white lines of a circuit all the time is astonishing.
      Calling for the sport authorities to institute even more penalties in an over penalised -depending on who is affected- sport for such track breaches is not wise at all. If that happens, speed will drop as no one would want to go fast enough and guess what, fans will start another round of complaints about the current cars not being fast enough.
      And the cycle continues.
      Today’s deletion of lap times which affected some drivers is farcical. That led to a drab end of qualification as no one improved on their initial lap times out of fear.

      1. petebaldwin (@)
        9th July 2016, 15:01

        It’s not a case of over or under-regulation. It’s consistency that we need.

        You say “So for anyone to expect those cars to travel that fast and stay within the boundaries of the white lines of a circuit all the time is astonishing” but that doesn’t solve the problem. People make mistakes in all forms of sport! You wouldn’t expect a top quality footballer to hit the target with every shot – when they miss, they don’t get a goal for it! It’s a miss – bad luck. Try again.

        The challenge in qualifying is to drive a car around a circuit as quickly as possible. If you go off the circuit, you have failed.

        It’s like that game where you have a curved wire and have to slowly move a metal hoop around it without touching the sides. If you touch the sides, they don’t say “well it’s difficult so we’ll ignore that.” They say “Oh no! You lost. Oh well”

        1. It is not as simple as that and I understand what you are trying to say by using football as an analogy but F1 like all motor racing is an entirely different class and kind of sport all together and so it is not the kind of sport where one can with a wave of hand say, as you just did and as it is probably done in football; well, you failed, try again.
          I don’t know much about those other sports since I don’t follow them but F1 has margins of error, hence every track has kerbs, marginal tack extensions, and run off areas. Those things are in place because in F1 one is dealing with mass, velocity and speed in such a way that is different from other sporting activities. And so four wheels off track is mostly tolerated. And by the way, most of the time, four wheels off track leads to a disadvantage rather than an advantage.
          Let me quickly add that sometimes fans, in their drive or solicitation to limit the perceived advantage of one driver, they end up punishing their preferred driver and then inversely reward the person they set out to target. We have a good example today.
          Yes Nico was not on it all weekend but one can argue that he had a good shot at pole after Hamilton’s time was deleted. Now, being that the deletion happened in time for all the drivers to get the news before their last attempt at pole, everyone of them, including Nico, opted for caution over attack and ended up not improving on their previous times and Hamilton who had only one opportunity ended up getting pole with a lap that wasn’t even as good.

          1. I do not believe any driver who had put in a valid time opted for caution. Given the choice between attacking (& risking having the time deleted) and caution (& putting in a slow time which might as well be deleted) surely drivers will always attack for the chance of improving. They are naturally optimistic or they would not be out there taking the risks.

            As for the football analogy, all sports are actually a series of chance events. A good footballer can reproduce a move (pass, free kick, positioning) to within very fine tolerances, where a poorer player will be less certain of the outcome. It is not that I could never score a penalty against a top goalkeeper, just that it would be unusual. In the same way a good racing driver can brake at almost exactly the same point lap after lap, to within a centimetre or two. He can therefore reliably leave it to the latest moment. I would be less precise, so I would brake earlier to be sure of getting round the corner. Of course another chance element is the weather. Even Hamilton can sometimes get blown wide by the Silverstone gusts. As he said, that is another part of the challenge and he accepted that his time should not have been allowed.

            Every sport can be broken down to these chance events, and that unpredictability is why we watch (and bet on) them.

          2. Hamiltons time in P3 the second one was better than the deleted P3 time but slower than his P2 time. Just a point of correction

    4. Yeah, post-makeover Silverstone has become the worst circuit on the calendar in that respect. I don’t get it. Why design a track that’s essentially just meaningless lines drawn onto a tarmac desert, in such a way that respecting these lines feels contrived, and failing to respect these lines results in more natural, faster driving without any downsides except maybe for the odd time removal?
      It’s hard to be more artificial than Abu Dhabi and the likes, but Silverstone has actually managed to design a track where it becomes painfully obvious that racing has to do with illusion. And the veil preventing the viewer from seeing thorugh this illusion is only paper thin in Silverstone.
      I want some Austria-style bumps that punish the drivers who drive outside of the track limits. I want people to stop designing corners that are faster when a driver drives around them on the outside. I don’t want any of these annoying slo-mos whose only purpose is to show whether or not a car has gone over a meaningless white line or not. I want corners that punish a driver who runs wide. If he still manages to set a time, good for him. No need for slo-mos or a jury that has to validate every single lap.

      Silverstone is a lost weekend for me. I simply cannot look past the inherent shortcomings of the track, and their implications for my perception of what’s happening on (and off) the track. A real nuisance that needs fixing a.s.a.p.

      1. Pretty much any corner will be faster if a driver track extends. It’s just the way it is

      2. @nase I don’t get how your opinion on silverstone has changed SINCE the change in the layout, when the areas of concern regarding track limits are all involved on corners from the original layout. The makeover involved some increase in Tarmac runoff, but so that other racing series can also be accommodated, that’s fair seeing as the circuit has to balance the books, I don’t think there’s an abundance of runoff at silverstone, not compared to many other races on the calendar, there are still many corners that will punish you if you get it wrong.

        I have to respect your opinion, but I think silverstone, with the maggots and becketts section still has a lot to offer. I actually like the new section, a fast sweep into a little technical bit then an extra straight to allow an extra area for attacking and defending

        1. I think the ‘original layout’ has hay bales lining the track, and drivers made great efforts to keep within the boundaries.

    5. Track limits were only for certain corners.
      The ones right into a strait.

  3. Noob question. if the drivers go off track limits in race, will they be given a penalty?

    1. Generally not, they get warned a few times to respect track limit’s but if they overtake with all 4 wheels off track they have to give the place back.

      It depends on the stewards really.

      1. okay thanks mate, i thought since it gives them advantage in lap time the FIA wouldn’t allow it

        1. Vettel was warned repeatedly about it in 2014 when he was in a dual with Alonso. You really do have to push it to get one in the race though.

      2. A few drivers were penalised in the GP2 race just now for track limits, so I’d be surprised if it wasn’t the case in the F1 race too.

  4. I don’t understand why do they have to have a kerb after a kerb? Just put a narrow stripe of grass between the track and the surrounding car park, and we’re good.

  5. They need to put the yellow kerbs from Austria here.

    1. petebaldwin (@)
      9th July 2016, 15:02

      The problem is that we’ve seen that these kerbs can be dangerous but what other option are the tracks being left with?

      1. Well the cars have all sorts of transponders and GPS – so when the sensors detect that they are off the track, the engine cuts out – simples :)

        (I would prefer alligator pits though).

        1. Michael Brown (@)
          9th July 2016, 18:02

          I can’t agree with the engine cutting out, because if a driver were to go off at Copse and the engine cut out, they would re-enter the track at a slower speed than the cars behind.

  6. Jelle van der Meer (@)
    9th July 2016, 15:05

    Rosberg is under investigation and has to report to the stewards for exceeding the maximum time between safety car line at pitlane exit and safety car line at pitlane entry during Q1.

    Being Dutch I can only say I hope he gets a grid penalty but likely it will be just a reprimand.

    1. Why would a Dutch person want a German to get…oh…

      1. Actually it has nothing to do with being dutch. I am dutch and i don’t feel this way. It’s all him.

        1. Pieter van der Berg
          9th July 2016, 20:11

          Exactly! I’m dutch too and I also do not feel this way. Don’t know why he’s feeling that way but it sure is not the general feeling here in the Netherlands.

          1. Pieter van der Berg
            9th July 2016, 20:16

            Ah, now I get it; it’s the Verstappen hype in the Netherlands. Not part of that but I can see that he didn’t make the comment out of some misplaced German hate.

            (No penalty btw)

    2. There’s no way the Stewards will give Rosberg a handicapping penalty.

  7. At the tracks I used to race on in the 1980s you were punished big-time if you “exceeded track limits”, and the punishment didn’t require a steward.

    1. Me too. Slot cars.:-)

      1. Yay slot cars…my favourite hobby!

  8. Thanks to stewards there was a little excitement in Q3, but overall this was probably the least entertaining qualifying of the season (including the elimination format). Nothing happened, no surprises, no extratordinary performances: very predictable and bland.

    1. Well. Some Dutch bloke outqualified his teammate for the first time and had the best qualification position ever for a Dutchman. It’s just what you call predictable.

      1. -Despite being Dutch myself, I don’t prefer Verstappen over Ricciardo, nor do I feel any nationalistic pride over his performances. If Verstappen was, let’s say, Belgian, I’d like him the same as I do now.
        -I don’t care about statistics.
        -After practice a Red Bull row 2 was entirely expected.

        I just found a couple of blokes cycling up a mountain at 15kph much more exciting to watch.

        1. You didn’t find Chris Froome’s win predictable and bland? I agree that F1 is pretty boring sometimes, but cycling nowadays is a much bigger mess. You could predict the top 3 easily even before the start of TDF (Froome, Quintana, Aru). /endofftopic

    2. Sometime sport is predictable. As long as it is fair, I’m ok with it.

    3. So Lewis had one shot for Poe at his home GP.

      Verstappen beat Ricciardo who for the first time this season was beaten in qualy by his team mate, nicely spicing that battle up.

      Raikonnen nearly screwed up in Q2 then managed to out qualify Vettel.

      Alonso got the McLaren into eighth before his lap was scrubbed off.

      Man, what a boring qualification session that was….

      1. Not to mention Hamilton set the new absolute lap record for the current layout of silverstone.

  9. There were only track limits for certain corners.
    The ones into a strait.

  10. Btw. Ricciardo will be searching through the data to find what went wrong.
    He will just only find what everyone found that raced Max.
    It must be very frustrating.

    Max skills are from a different level (planet). I have been amazed/surprised by him for several years now (since he carted). It never seems to stop.

    It will be hard to accept for Ricciardo.

    1. I’ll wait for Max walking on water before admitting my amazement. :D

      1. Tomorrow he’s going to perform miracle on water on the track

    2. If Verstappen has the better race pace tomorrow, then it will be a big blow right in the kisser for Ricciardo. Verstappen get more comfortable in the car race by race…and this bloke is only 18 years old. His learning curve is so high, that nothing really surprises me anymore.

      Verstappen has the upper hand in race pace….but if Silverstone is the turnaround for the Q’s…then my oh my….we are in for some treat for the rest of the season.

      Marko was so right to get Verstappen in F1 at only 16 years of age
      Marko was so right to give Kvyat that call…;)

  11. A good debate going on at the top of the comments but did anyone find the GP2 grid box error penalty much too harsh? Essentially the driver was 6m ahead which is an advantage obviously but it apparently warranted a drive through. In a 20 lap race a drive through is first to last stuff which seems excessive for a genuine error. Should he have done a Wehrlein and reversed to avoid a penalty?!! That’s dangerous but I’d be doing it to avoid the penalty. The stewards have an issue with consistency certainly but I feel severity of punishment should also be reviewed frequently.

  12. Another very easy ride for Lewis in the race. Perhaps there is some fight for third place.

    1. @jorge-lardone I never understand why people say these like that, so much could happen in the race tomorrow that could provide a truly shocking result, you never know what is going to happen until the lights go out at the start and the flag waves at the finish. Personally I’m hoping for a Hamilton home win but to say it’s going to be easy to achieve is another thing entirely. Yes he has a great car, but he has a teammate with the same car and a grid full of people just waiting or the slightest slip up by Hamilton or the team to take that win away.

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