Lewis Hamilton claimed pole position again at Silverstone by the slender margin of 44 thousandths of a second.
Q1Lance 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
|16||Carlos Sainz Jnr||Renault||1’28.456|
|19||Lance Stroll||Williams-Mercedes||No time|
|20||Brendon Hartley||Toro Rosso-Honda||No 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
|11||Esteban Ocon||Force India-Mercedes||1’27.843|
|14||Pierre Gasly||Toro Rosso-Honda||1’28.343|
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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
|5||Max Verstappen||Red Bull-TAG Heuer||1’26.602|
|6||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull-TAG Heuer||1’27.099|
|10||Sergio Perez||Force India-Mercedes||1’27.928|
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2018 British Grand Prix
- Gasly told stewards he “enjoyed” pass which earned him penalty
- Williams not giving up on 2018 F1 car concept
- Did Grosjean’s crash spare Mercedes’ blushes? Six British GP strategy questions
- F1’s new Silverstone DRS zone not an “unnecessary danger” – FIA
- Renault has received a “wake-up call” from F1 rivals – Abiteboul