Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Silverstone, 2018

Hamilton takes pole at home by 44 thousandths of a second

2018 British Grand Prix qualifying

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Lewis Hamilton claimed pole position again at Silverstone by the slender margin of 44 thousandths of a second.


It was a torrid qualifying session for Williams at their home race. Within minutes of Q1 beginning Lance Stroll spun off and got stuck in a gravel track, bringing out the red flags.

Shortly after the session resumed, his team mate Sergey Sirotkin also spun off, but was at least able to continue. Rubbing salt into Williams’ wounds, the stewards then sent word Sirotkin was under investigation for failing to pit as soon as the red flags were shown.

Sirotkin finally set a time in the closing minutes of the session, but it wasn’t enough to lift him from the rear of the field. However with Brendon Hartley unable to participate in qualifying due to his crash in practice, and Stroll failing to set a time, Sirotkin at least stands to start 18th.

The interruption meant several drivers had to abort their laps, including the Ferrari pair. However once he got a clear lap in Vettel produced the quickest lap of the session to head the times.

A late flurry of laps decided the final drivers to drop out in the first round. Fernando Alonso’s McLaren sparked furiously as he bagged his place in Q2, but Stoffel Vandoorne was unable to emulate his team mate.

Carlos Sainz Jnr’s last lap put him into the top 15, but only temporarily. Sergio Perez beat his time in the Force India which left Nico Hulkenberg to deliver the final blow which put his team mate out in Q1.
Drivers eliminated in Q1

16Carlos Sainz JnrRenault1’28.456
17Stoffel VandoorneMcLaren-Renault1’29.096
18Sergey SirotkinWilliams-Mercedes1’29.252
19Lance StrollWilliams-MercedesNo time
20Brendon HartleyToro Rosso-HondaNo time


The track record continued to take a hammering as Q2 began. First Bottas took a few hundredths off it, then Vettel lowered it a fraction more, and finally Hamilton took over a tenth of a second off it with a lap of 1’26.256.

All the front-running teams elected to use the soft tyres for Q2, meaning they will start the race on the softest available tyre. The Red Bull pair lagged over half a second off Raikkonen’s fourth-placed Ferrari, and less than two-tenths ahead of Romain Grosjean’s Haas.

Both Haas drivers made it through into Q3 comfortably. They were joined by the similarly Ferrari-powered Charles Leclerc, who once again left his team mate well behind – Marcus Ericsson was over half a second slower.

Esteban Ocon grabbed the final place in Q3 for Force India. However Hulkenberg, who had come so close to dropping out in Q1, almost made it into Q3, falling short by less than a tenth of a second.

Drivers eliminated in Q2

11Esteban OconForce India-Mercedes1’27.843
12Nico HulkenbergRenault1’27.901
13Fernando AlonsoMcLaren-Renault1’28.139
14Pierre GaslyToro Rosso-Honda1’28.343
15Marcus EricssonSauber-Ferrari1’28.391

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The first runs in Q3 set up a thrilling showdown between the championship leaders. Hamilton’s first effort lacked polish: He made a mid-corner correction at turn three, then lost further time at the end of the lap, thumping the new kerb on the outside at Club.

Vettel prevailed on their first runs, edging Hamilton by five-hundredths of a second. His run through Copse left his race engineer especially impressed. “Nice job in turn nine,” he said, “nine was very good.”

Bottas and Raikkonen were next. Behind them were the Red Bulls, Ricciardo lagging behind Verstappen after suffering a DRS failure.

On his final run, a tidier run from Hamilton put him narrowly ahead. But the Ferrari drivers were yet to complete their runs – and both were setting fastest sector times. Vettel was the first across the line, but he fell short of improving his own time by a few hundredths of a second.

Raikkonen looked like an even bigger threat to begin with, beating Hamilton by eight thousandths of a second in the first sector. But he couldn’t match the world champion’s pace in the middle sector, and had to settle for third place. Pole was Hamilton’s – by the fitting margin of 44 thousandths of a second for car number 44.

Top ten in Q3

1Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’25.892
2Sebastian VettelFerrari1’25.936
3Kimi RaikkonenFerrari1’25.990
4Valtteri BottasMercedes1’26.217
5Max VerstappenRed Bull-TAG Heuer1’26.602
6Daniel RicciardoRed Bull-TAG Heuer1’27.099
7Kevin MagnussenHaas-Ferrari1’27.244
8Romain GrosjeanHaas-Ferrari1’27.455
9Charles LeclercSauber-Ferrari1’27.879
10Sergio PerezForce India-Mercedes1’27.928

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2018 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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88 comments on “Hamilton takes pole at home by 44 thousandths of a second”

  1. Superb session

  2. What a pole, brilliant performance by Hamilton. It is obvious Ferrari having upper hand on performance and Hamilton drove his heart out to beat the almighty Ferrari

    1. Quite true – the Ferrari PU seems quite potent, since with the exception of Ericsson, all five other Ferrari powered cars were in Q3. It took a Hamilton special to beat Vettel, especially seeing where Bottas eventually qualified.

      1. Wolf said Ferrari PU better on acceleration and equal on power. Horner said Ferrari has super PU.

        1. Hamilton was 4 wheel off track on 36sec in his pole lap. Is that legal?

    2. Here we go again, every time Ferrari is on pole position or very close… it’s the car. I give to you that HAM was exceptional, but he can’t go faster than the car allows, so I’d say the Mercedes is just as fast. Let’s not forget they just brought big updates last week and they had the upper hand on performance. Suddenly, in just 1 week time, Ferrari is the better car again. Wonder what are the chances that might happen….

      1. nailed it.. everytime seb gets a pole is down to the car…. but now is down to hamiltons magical hands.. in that sense despite the hate between alonsos fans and hamiltons fans… they are incredibly similar!! when it comes to talk about the magical abilities of the driver they follow

        1. How many Ferrari PU vs Mercedes PU on top 10 shootout at this power hungry track?

          1. thats not a way a measuring.. couldnt it be that those teams are simply doing better..? like hass with the really close relationship with ferrari.. if mercedes dont want to implement the same with force india thats their problem, im pretty sure ocon and perez are better driver than grosjean and magnussen.. are you going to say mercedes might been around 7th or 8th because williams cannot produce a proper car?

          2. Of course. That’s a great way to explain everything about the 2009 race. Toyota was AWESOME

      2. You have forgot the fact of both Mercedes were out of race last week. It’s an unreliable over-hyped updates and now they could be running PU on more conservative mode.

        1. You have forgot the fact of both Mercedes were out of race last week.

          Eh? how’s that relevant?

          It’s an unreliable over-hyped updates

          Unreliable is irrelevant today, the rest of the phrase wouldn’t have left us with a Mercedes front row lockout in AT

          now they could

          are they?

          drove his heart out

          You remind me of this annoying sentence “Meet the McLaren Senna GTR Concept, here to subjugate physics with brute force.” (the annoyance doesn’t come from the great names before the comma, but everything after)

          Still, that aside, that was a pretty awesome lap from Lewis. I wouldn’t try to explain how good the lap was with rather irrrelevant facts and assumptions though.

          1. This makes no sense.

      3. Rai locked up in his run and still finished within 0.1 of Hamilton’s pole time. So if you say Hamilton was exceptional, which he was. How is the Rai making mistakes and still so close? Also Vettel was not feeling well and as a result missed crucial qualy practice. he finished 0.044 behind Hamilton, with an injury. Mercedes is not just as fast. Bottas proved Hamilton had to wring .3 out of his car today.

        1. Yeah, right…

          At this track RAI performs very well, he’s known for performing better than VET here. Actually, HAM made a mistake too: last corner, oversteer snap. So, more than sure HAM lost there at least 0.1sec, highly possible he lost like 0.2sec. Then, you don’t know how much VET gave, I highly doubt he took it easy becuase of the neck. Last but not least, BOT is hardly a driver good enough to make this kind of judgements. He’s worse than Rosberg. Plus, the performance capacity of a car is given by the faster driver, not by the slower driver. So, obviously the potential of the Mercedes was shown by HAM. Funny, some of you don’t say the same thing in other cases, you just blame the slower driver for being… slower. See the VER-RIC, for example. Suddenly, RIC gets criticised every race for underperforming.

          1. Imo if Vettel had a sound P3, I believe he would have gotten pole today. You have to admit Vettel came into qualifying on the blackfoot for the two aforementioned reasons. You say we don’t know how much Vettel gave but we can be sure he had more in him, if he had more runs. That difference would have given him pole, he only had 8 laps and a subpar qualy run in P3 for Godsake. Kimi was giving more than him in the ending stages before he trashed his own lap is the Kimi style, this proves it. Bottas is more consistent than Kimi, so do not discredit him. his times show a far more reliable judge of the mercedes’ potential than kimi’s. If you never saw Kimi’s laps developing before the inevitable bin, you would think the Ferrari is not the fastest, but it was today. Its days like these we think the ferrari isn’t superior, because Vettel isn’t on it.

      4. New floor, engine cover and diffusor and scrappy first sector at Vettel.

      5. Well, if Ferrari was faster on all three sectors, combining both cars, how can Mercedes be faster?
        Hamilton nailed every sector and the others didn’t and that’s why he is on pole.

      6. Ferraris upgrades ‘appears’ to have closed the performance gap, but it would not surprise me if they used their latest upgrades to introduce ‘other practices’ to help them qualify.

        That said, if Bottas had stuck the last corner and come in second we would all be saying business as usual, albeit by the narrowest of margins.

        0.0044 – now what are the chances of that?

    3. Funny how Mercedes have won the last 3 poles and yet people think it’s the 2nd fastest car. They are pretty even in my opinion.

      1. Back when Vettel was getting every pole position, and people were claiming it was down to the car, it was easy to tell if the car is exceptionally better– Webber would be #2 on the grid. Similarly, if Mercedes locks out the front row with Hamilton and Bottas, it’s a pretty safe bet that the Mercedes is the better car at that circuit, since in both cases, there was a marked difference in driving style.

        Based on this qualifying, the Mercedes and the Ferrari are pretty equal in one-race pace, and Hamilton drove a slightly better lap than Vettel.

        If I did my math right, Hamilton’s average speed was 0.08 mp/h (0.05%) faster than Vettel’s. In statistical terms, that’s considered “noise”.

  3. Quick correction : The Force India was Ocon, not Perez.

  4. Someone needs to beat Lewis in that middle sector…. I am starting to wonder whether Sauber is a backmarker or not.

    1. The Ferrari engine definitely performs better in hot conditions. Sauber has also improved.

      To really judge Leclerc, we should see the qualifying gap between him and Ericsson and decide. Not look at Leclerc’s result stand alone. Leclerc was 3 tenths faster than Ericsson this time, that gap is smaller than previous races. I think if he maintains a gap of over 5 tenths across all types of track, then he really is the real deal.

      1. I think Leclerc is the real deal, IMHO.. Today, getting into Q3 was impressive.
        He appears very composed during races. I give him the edge over Ericsson.
        I believe he’s a future champion.. The future is between him and Verstappen.. It should be interesting.

        1. Don’t leave Ocon out.

          1. Ocon is not on Verstappens level….far from it…..Leclerc needs to prove himself first…He is driving a very fast and improved Sauber atm and is racing Ericcson FFS

      2. What 3 tenths? He was 6 tenths quicker than Ericsson on their quickest lap in Q2!

      3. As @srga91 astutely pointed out, Leclerc was 0.6 seconds faster than Ericsson in Q2. The track became slower in Q3.

    2. This season I would qualify Sauber as a solid midfielder, the backmarker of this season is clearly Williams.

      It is a pity Wehrlein is no longer in the team; I bet he would do a better job than Ericsson.

      1. The funny thing is that if Leclerc indeed gets a Ferrari seat, it will be the third year in a row that Ericsson loses to a team mate and the team mate leaves.
        Can’t remember anyone on the recent past having a track-record as poor as his against guys in the same equipment.

      2. The ‘backmarker of the season’ might actually be McLaren.
        Alonso ahead of Stroll is probably more driver related than car related.

        1. That thought crossed my mind. However, even though I expect that Sauber will score more points than McLaren in the remainder of the season, I think Sauber is just a bit too far behind to overtake McLaren in the constructor championship. I expect Sauber to score on average about 2 points each race, which is with only 11 races remaining not enough to bridge the gap. I expect Sauber to finish 8th in the constructor championship not far behind McLaren and well ahead of Torro Rosso and Williams.

  5. That was all Hamilton- you can see why he gets the big bucks!

  6. The performance of Williams: Unsurprising, but Renault, yes.

  7. What an incredible qualifying! Electrifying battle for pole and throughout the qualifying sessions with the midfield teams. Simply amazing.

    1. Silverstone delivered!!! The race should be interesting!

  8. It is getting rather embarassing for Ricciardo. After Verstappen’s gearbox issues and his mistake in FP2, I expected Daniel to finally beat Verstappen in qualifying again. But he never came close, even without DRS-issues.

    1. @matthijs I think he had DRS issues on both laps. Not 100% certain though.

      1. He had Q issues in his first run in Q3 (last sector)…after that had DRS again. But even when Ricciardo had DRS in his first run…the difference would have been still 0,3 of a second.

        Max simply is the faster driver of the two. Scary to think about the moment Verstappen stops making silly mistakes and gets to drive a WCD car.

        On pure speed there is Hamilton and Verstappen….the rest is simply a tier below

        1. On pure speed there is Hamilton and Verstappen….the rest is simply a tier below

          Conveniently leaving out the championship leader and Alonso :P

          1. I truly believe Vettel isn’t as fast as Hamilton and Verstappen….and if I’m being completely honest, Alonso is passed it

          2. At the risk of offending the faithful, qualifying has never been Alonso’s strong point.

            I think Max is a good match to Sebastian… but at the moment, Hamilton’s just a tiny bit better than both.

    2. @matthijs
      He was close in FP3. Only a few thousands i think.
      But Quali was a totally different story. Ofcourse, his DRS failed in Q2 and Q3. So not quite embarrassing. Plus, Max out-qualifying Daniel is not something new.
      Since Monaco, it hasn’t been all too easy for him. Tyres in France, retirement in Austria…
      Max has been very good.

      1. Dr’s issue was q2. It functioned normal in q3

        1. First run in q3 he stated in post qualy interview, and it only failed between t4 and t6. Not an explanation for the 5 tenths difference.

          1. Funny to see that all of the ‘defenders’ of Max, are all dutch. And even funnier is that somehow, they’ve got different info about what happened with Ricci’s DRS than has been communicated. Delusional oranges.
            The only thing that’s embarassing is their delusional view of reality.
            @coldfly @webtel

  9. The result wasn’t too good for the Number 2 driver.

  10. Wasn’t Hamilton all 4 wheels off the track in one corner?

    1. Along with everyone else

  11. What is happening to Ricciardo? Verstappen is mopping the floor with him right now.

    1. @bcoliver

      DRS failure in Q2 and Q3.

      1. How much is the rated difference for drs on a quali lap anyway? Is there any data on that somewhere?

      2. Only on his first Q3 lap

        1. Correct. And the failure only occured in 1 DRS-zone of the first Q3-lap.

      3. According to ric he had another setup. No Dr’s problem in q3.

        1. i wonder if he’s trying different things for the race since Mercedes and Red Bull were a long way ahead. It doesn’t matter if you drive yout heart out or not if you’re going to be fifth at best anyway.

      4. Q3 alone…last sector…only 1 DRS…the other 2 did work. If the DRS worked for Ricci in the last sector, he would have gone 0.2 seconds faster…still a long way of from Verstappen.

        1. I stand corrected.
          Thanks @br444m @dielsel @erikje @hahostolze

  12. As a sort-of neutral in the Ferrari vs. Mercedes battle, I hope the Ferrari’s have better race pace, but Hamilton has track position. That would make it interesting. What would make it uninteresting is if Hamilton or the Ferraris have both race pace and track position.

  13. It’s time for Ferrari to ruin Kimi strategy again to forced Mercedes AI strategist choose worse scenario for Lewis.

  14. And you could continue- so nice to see KMAG beating GRO – not only better racepace but also in the qualifys…
    And funny how ALO is doing all what he can to give him a penalty – constantly driving around him in practice.. so he will suffer a raceban. Which Seems to be the only way he can secure his best of rest position..

  15. The Skeptic (@)
    7th July 2018, 15:48

    Mercedes strategists: Any sign of a VSC or a full SC after lap 10… BOX, BOX, BOX!

    I have a feeling that there will be 3 very interesting parts to this race:

    1. The start. Can Ferrari do something, given that Hamilton is alone?
    2. The pit stop. Who will undercut or overcut their way ahead? Will anyone use the “hard”?
    3. Safety car(s). Who will gain or lose based on the timing of pit stops?

    1. @theskeptic

      The start. Can Ferrari do something, given that Hamilton is alone?

      This reminded me of the start in Austria.
      Valt on the left. Not a great start. Lewis on the right.
      Kimi 3rd on the grid right behind Valt–gets a great start–slots right in between the two Merc–ends up covering Valt’s right side (Turn 1 is a right)–Lewis gets away on the inside.
      Imagine the same happening here– Instead of Valt, Lewis , Kimi it is Lewis, Seb and Kimi.
      But turn 1 is fast here, and also Lewis may not be as slow as Valt while getting away.

      1. The Skeptic (@)
        7th July 2018, 16:02

        Also the start in France, where Valtieri clearly boxed in Vettel (not doing anything wrong) – which preceded Vettel’s mistake where he crashed into Valtieri at turn 1.

      2. The Mercs were on the less grippy tires(harder) in both previous races which is not the same here. @theskeptic and @webtel

        1. Fair point. They started on the SS.

  16. Felt like I was watching a qualifying session from the 90s with local TV director following only the local driver(s). We got two complete flying laps from Hamilton, along with his preparation laps and shots of him in the pitlane, instead of anything else. Paired with the abysmal onscreen graphics, like laptime comparisons only when people are reaching end of their lap (where are those microsectors they tried a year or so ago, still causing bugs for the whole timing software? ), I found it surprisingly hard to enjoy this quali. Not sure if the situation has been this bad recently, but somehow this hampered my enjoyment and made it feel like I was waiting for the end result rather than watching action as it happened.

    Having said that, it’s nice to see a tight quali. Should be interesting race tomorrow between the top four.

    1. I agree, it was a nice session but some pretty embarrassing work from the director. I don’t get why it had to follow Hamilton all the time, even in the warm up laps! Maybe Sky gets another feed than the rest of the world?

      1. Local hero syndrome.

        1. Yeah shocking that the director would focus on the pole-sitter during quali.

          1. @f1bobby so the director can predict the future, right? Because provisional poleman was Vettel.

          2. The last guy almost never gets his lap entirely broadcasted. Nothing new here.

      2. Lewis got pole and that’s the lap I wanted to see most. Great work from the director I’d say.
        Stop whinging and just enjoy a fantastic lap!!

  17. A really wonderful prospect for great race. It seams like Vet was disappointed from his quali performance and he expected P1. Great driving from HAM. Even greater driving from RAI. It will be long and exhausting race which does not come in favour of VET with his neck issues emphasised by really bumpy surface. Tomorrow it will be strategy game and tyre management. I do think that Merc gave every piece of power for HAM for his home race and that Ferrari are with upperhand in their racepace. Nevertheless Ham has track advantage so great race ahead of us…

  18. Michael Brown (@)
    7th July 2018, 17:50

    Hamilton was down on his PB in S1 but managed to bring it back to take pole. Great job.

  19. Brilliant Pole from Lewis. Now lets wait who burns op their tires fastest during the race. The Hare’s or the Turtle’s. Interesting!!

  20. I don’t know why but I foresee a crash between either Hamilton and Vettel or Raikkonen and Verstappen tomorrow. Just a random prediction, let’s see how wrong I’ll turn out to be :P

  21. It is not time that the Fia officializes the two championships that are run simultaneously in formula 1?
    This opinion of Magnussen is very eloquent in this respect:
    “Kevin Magnussen (7th, 1:27.244): “This is good fun. We have this ‘B’ championship that we’re focused on with all the midfield teams. It’s really entertaining. There’s lots of pressure because it’s all so close, but we nailed it today with P7 and P8, with Haas best of the rest. It’s a pole position in the ‘B’ championship, so I’m really happy. It’s a good position to be in. You’re not really looking ahead – we’ll be looking behind – so it’s completely like being in pole position. The guys in front, they’re just going to go ahead and disappear.”

  22. Ferrari can not win anything with a second rate & an already retired driver. Vettel is not a match to max, alonso, hamilton and ricardo. I think there is no need to talk about Kimi.

  23. Silverstone lives up to reputation. That was exciting. Let’s talk about Kimi. He’s never satisfied. I’m betting that should he win a race he’ll be disappointed he didn’t also finish in 2nd and 3rd!! :)

  24. Hamilton made two errors on his lap at 0:18 seconds and more importantly 1:23 minute and still he was the fastest. That is down to machinery, not to the driver. If you do a mistake you are slower, you lose time.

    So fantastic lap by Kimi and Seb.

    1. What nonsense. Maybe- despite the mistakes- Hamilton was still good enough to take pole? Look at how far BOT is from the front 3. Maybe that’s where the car actually is? Also if you want to start degrading drivers- VET was *only* 0.050s faster than a driver who is soon to be a pensioner. Go figure.

      1. Yes, I have to agree with you here: when hamilton is on it, bottas usually can’t compete (he said he made a mistake, but it could be the case here), but hamilton has many more off weekends than bottas, who in turn is generally constant with his performance, so I really doubt out of a sudden bottas is performing 2,5 tenths worse than both ferrari drivers.

    2. If Kimi, who is way past his expiration date, and was never that good of a qualifier, was 0.090 from pole, you can bet that Ferrari is flying.

      1. Don’t forget raikkonen is usually strong here, last year he completely outperformed vettel, both in qualifying and in the race, this rarely happened the rest of the year.

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