Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, Silverstone, 2019

Bottas denies Hamilton home pole position by six thousandths of a second

2019 British Grand Prix qualifying

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Valtteri Bottas took pole position for the British Grand Prix in a thrilling qualifying session.

The Mercedes driver beat his team mate and Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari by less than a tenth of a second.


Lewis Hamilton led the drivers in Q1 but it was nip-and-tuck between him and Charles Leclerc. Hamilton shaded the Ferrari by just two-hundredths of a second, but used a set of soft tyres to do so while Leclerc only ran a set of mediums.

Sebastian Vettel also used a set of the harder rubber to secure his place in Q2, though he began a run on softs at the end in case he needed to respond to other drivers’ improvements. He didn’t, and pitted after a single lap.

While the Williams pair remained rooted to the bottom of the times as usual – George Russell almost half a second quicker than Robert Kubica but over a second slower than anyone else – the other Mercedes-powered cars had a sniff of Q2. Lance Stroll once again failed to get his Racing Point into the final 15, but Sergio Perez’s last lap of the session got him in.

That meant Kevin Magnussen failed to progress by a mere 13 thousandths of a second. Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat also fell at the first round.

Drivers eliminated in Q1

16Kevin MagnussenHaas-Ferrari1’26.662
17Daniil KvyatToro Rosso-Honda1’26.721
18Lance StrollRacing Point-Mercedes1’26.762
19George RussellWilliams-Mercedes1’27.789
20Robert KubicaWilliams-Mercedes1’28.257

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The medium tyre appeared to be the preferred option for most of the front runners to begin with in Q2. Leclerc headed the field on the yellow-coloured tyre, edging Bottas by two-hundredths of a second. Hamilton in the other Mercedes came third, also on mediums.

Pierre Gasly, who looked in much better shape throughout practice, for once joined his team mate in running the harder tyre as well. He got within two tenths of Max Verstappen.

Vettel stood apart from his fellow front-runners initially, using his worn set of softs from the end of Q1 to post the eighth-fastest time. However when he returned to the track on a second set of softs it became clear Ferrari intended him to start the race on them. He briefly came under threat, slipping outside of the top 10, but his last effort put him comfortably fifth.

By then Leclerc had also improved his lap time on the soft tyre, ensuring both Ferraris would start on the same compound, while both Mercedes and Red Bulls will use mediums.

The other drivers to proceed into Q3 all used softs: The Renault pair plus home racers Lando Norris and Alezander Albon.

Drivers eliminated in Q2

11Antonio GiovinazziAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’26.519
12Kimi RaikkonenAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’26.546
13Carlos Sainz JnrMcLaren-Renault1’26.578
14Romain GrosjeanHaas-Ferrari1’26.757
15Sergio PerezRacing Point-Mercedes1’26.928

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A twitch of oversteer in the middle of Brooklands spoiled Hamilton’s first run in Q3 and handed the initiative to his team mate. Bottas hit the top of the times with a 1’25.093.

Bottas had lost pole position in Austria on the final run in Q3, and it looked like the same was about to happen. His final run wasn’t clean, and behind him Hamilton was improving.

But not, it turned out, by enough. Hamilton fell short of beating his team mate by a mere six thousandths of a second.

It wasn’t over. Leclerc unleashed a superb first sector and looked on course to beat both the Mercedes. But Ferrari’s tyres had been fading at the end of the lap throughout practice and the same seemed to happen again. He fell short by less than a tenth of a second, ending up third.

He was comfortably ahead of his team mate, however, who will line up behind the Red Bull pair. Daniel Ricciardo grabbed seventh ahead of Lando Norris, Alexander Albon and Nico Hulkenberg.

Top ten in Q3

1Valtteri BottasMercedes1’25.093
2Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’25.099
3Charles LeclercFerrari1’25.172
4Max VerstappenRed Bull-Honda1’25.276
5Pierre GaslyRed Bull-Honda1’25.590
6Sebastian VettelFerrari1’25.787
7Daniel RicciardoRenault1’26.182
8Lando NorrisMcLaren-Renault1’26.224
9Alexander AlbonToro Rosso-Honda1’26.345
10Nico HulkenbergRenault1’26.386

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2019 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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59 comments on “Bottas denies Hamilton home pole position by six thousandths of a second”

  1. Well done BOT, denying the home favourite. That said HAM/Leclerc for the win tomorrow- although I am curoious about Ferrari’s soft tyre strategy. 2 stops around Silverstone isn’t always a bad strategy especially with these chewing gum Pirellis. Seems it will be a dry race which should make for a straight dogfight.

    1. Where are those 3 tenths where Anthony was talking about? Didn’t see it LMAO

      1. You can laugh your ass off all you like. Let’s see who is WDC at the end of the season.

  2. Is Bottas on Medium tyres at the start? I know Hamilton is. I don’t trust Bottas by his pace in the recent races. Qualifying has been good for him this year. But he has been way off Hamilton in the races.

    1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      13th July 2019, 15:45

      Do you trust Hamilton from the recent race? – the worst finishing position of either Mercedes driver this year. In France Bottas’s pace looked off near the end, but even though he looked poor in Canada, i don’t think his pace was the problem. It was hesitating too much while overtaking. He’s starting from pole this time and I don’t think this will be a problem. If he gets a good start like he did at Baku, Hamilton would have to be significantly faster than Bottas to have a chance to get by him. It is not at all easy for the same car to overtake the other unless there is a huge pace advantage. Bottas kept Hamilton behind in Baku well. His pace has looked excellent compared to Hamilton all weekend so far. I think Bottas will have a strong chance to win this unless he has a bad start or makes a mistake later on.

      1. @thegianthogweed Baku and Silverstone are totally different tracks SMH. I don’t understand how you even comparing them and Bottas only won it because of the DRS he got from the lapped cars cause Lewis was gaining on him massively and also add the fact that Bottas uses Hamilton’s data and performance engineer. Lewis will win the race tomorrow no doubt.

        1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
          13th July 2019, 17:46

          Lewis was gaining on him massively? He was about a second or two closer than he had been for most of the race…. And Hamilton got really close more than enough times when Bottas had no tow. And when Hamilton was at his closest at the end of the 2nd to last lap, it was here that he went wide at the final sharp turn before the long striate. Bottas may have had an advantage with a tow here, which he did, but Hamilton binned his last chances to get by by going wise. This wasn’t Bottas having an advantage giving him the win, it was Hamilton not perfecting his last opportunity to get by.

      2. Do you trust Hamilton from the recent race?

        Stopped reading here. Wish you could mute some of the nonsense commenters on here like Twitter.

        1. “Wish you could mute some of the nonsense commenters on here like Twitter” – RB13 being a prime candidate?

        2. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
          13th July 2019, 17:40

          I didn’t mean it and if you read the rest, i was meaning that it is a bit much to base bottas’s recent performances on his poor ones and say he he’s not on great form in the races when Hamilton has just got the worse result of either of them last time out. Both of them have had races where they didn’t look great but that doens’t show their usual performance. I expect Hamilton to be better most of the time, but If Bottas gets a good start, I don’t think he will have much of a problem keeping Hamilton behind if he makes no mistakes. Despite all that use of DRS in Baku, Hamilton couldn not get past him.

          1. @thegianthogweed, it is not an entirely unfair comment though, as Wolff has identified tyre management as an area where Bottas has generally been weaker than Hamilton in the majority of the races this season.

            Whilst, as you note, Austria did see Bottas finish ahead, both Mercedes drivers were having severe problems with the cars overheating – I believe that they were having to coast for as much as 400m at the end of the straights at some points – so tyre management might have been less critical than engine temperature management.

            We will see if tyre management is more of an issue in this race, and whether Bottas might be more vulnerable as a result of that.

    2. F1oSaurus (@)
      13th July 2019, 21:56

      @krichelle Indeed. Bottas seems to choose his setup much more towards Q3 then to the race. It makes sense though. I guess his only hopes he can get ahead of Hamilton in Q3 and then know that Mercedes won’t help Hamilton past Bottas. Even though he’s clearly being held up.

      Rosberg used to do the same in 2014. Although back then Hamilton would just drive past him in the race. Overtaking was still possible in those days.

      Not sure why Mercedes allows this though. You see what damage this does in Austria. Hamilton had to bet it all on getting past in an overcut which was never going to work, but I guess he felt he had to try since he really didn’t have much to lose either Being stuck behind Bottas til the end of the race is also a recipe for disaster.

  3. I’m not sure I can claim to be disappointed in any of the guys today.

    Even Lance has only done what we expect of him so no shock or surprise from his performance.

    I could feel concern about Ferrari strategy (“Ferrari strategy” – that’s best joke I have cracked for some time) but let’s wait and see shall we?

    Seb? – Oh I think Seb might just be turning up for the pay-check this last few races.

    I often pray for rain but even without it I expect some interesting stuff tomorrow.
    Let’s wait and see ;)

  4. To me Leclerc was the standout performer today, less than 8 hundredths from pole. The Mercs looked faster but seemed to leave more on the table, I’m sure fastest sectors put together would have been 2-3 tenths faster.

    Like others have mentioned, Ferrari’s strategy looks strange considering they were worried about tyre wear yesterday. Vettel needed to put in a faster Q2 lap to be safe but surely Leclerc was safe on his medium run? I feel like the Ferraris will fall back later in the race, much like Austria, so at least a podium looks likely for Max.

    1. Ferrari might have been scared leclerc be taken out of q2 like before so they were probably just being safe

    2. @keithedin

      To me Leclerc was the standout performer today, less than 8 hundredths from pole. The Mercs looked faster but seemed to leave more on the table, I’m sure fastest sectors put together would have been 2-3 tenths faster.

      Agree. He did an incredible job to get that close to pole. The standout performer this Saturday.

      Let’s see if he can step it up a notch on Sunday and fight for the win. It is going to be two Mercedes against one Ferrari, so it might be difficult for him, but then again, his pace on the mediums looked great.

      1. Don’t count Max out. It might be two Mercs and a RB.

    3. +1 @keithedin
      I’m just hoping that Ferrari didn’t forego the race setup for a more aggressive quali setup

    4. @keithedin, actually, judging by the sector times, it looks like the two Mercedes drivers actually seem to have been operating pretty close to their maximum performance.

      Bottas’s best theoretical lap time, from his best sector times, would have been only 0.045s quicker than his pole time, so he was pretty much right at his performance limit. Hamilton could have improved slightly more, but his best time would have only been 0.094s faster.

      By comparison, Leclerc’s best theoretical lap time would have been 0.035s faster than his Q3 lap time – if all three drivers had done their theoretical best lap times, Leclerc would have been 0.132s off pole position, less than your guess of 0.2-0.3s and suggesting that the two Mercedes drivers were operating pretty close to their maximum performance themselves.

      1. Interesting. I haven’t seen the sector times myself so I thought Hamilton in particular had more in the bag without the mistake on his first run which looked like it cost a few tenths. Still, Leclerc is driver of the day for me.

  5. Vettel doing his best to show Ferrari is slower than Merc. What happened to him? He is miles off Lec and seems like Lec has settled well into the team and started to outperform him.
    Good job by Bottas. Costly error cost Lewis the pole.

    1. @amg44 Hamilton had a second shot and was still slower

      1. Del -Mazepin
        13th July 2019, 15:57

        The track changed by the second run, only Hamilton improved his time in the second run. Be honest with yourself.

    2. Leclerc is a great driver it was never going to be easy for vettel. Especially considering this is basically vettels team leclerc has future world championships in him for sure

    3. Got married, got kids.
      always slows drivers down

    4. @amg44

      Vettel’s performance was a joke. He’s supposed to be a qualifying specialist and he couldn’t beat his less experienced team mate’s time, which was set on a slower compound. To top it off, he qualified behind Gasly.

      Ferrari look incredibly foolish for backing Vettel over Leclerc this season.

      1. There’s no real backing for VET. There’re like 2 races where LEC was asked to let VET in front, mostly because LEC is new and he didn’t prove that much yet. He’s no HAM in 2007, it’s obvious now. Other than that, it was fair and square. There’re some other occasions where the team could have asked LEC to let VET in front, yet it didn’t happen, and LEC didn’t want to let VET in front either. Even when he was slower than VET… although he asked the team to tell VET to let him through in Bahrain because he’s faster.

        1. As you yourself mention in your post @mg1982, Ferrari put Vettel’s interests before those of Leclerc & the team in the earlier races where they could. They seem to have stopped that since Vettel’s lacklustre performance has been shown to be a constant and Charles has been showing the better results.

        2. I wonder what else Lec could do to “be Ham in 2007”. He’s outperforming a multiple WDC in his first year with the team. Ham’s performance in 2007 attracted more attention because he was winning races, but that’s because he had a winning car, which Lec doesn’t have now.

  6. digitalrurouni
    13th July 2019, 15:42

    So now that Gasly is using Verstappen’s setups he’s doing better all of a sudden. Seems like he’s a good performer but needed help in learning how to setup the car.

    1. Three tenths of a second is the closest he’s been so far. It’s still only respectable from Gasly.. but that’s the best he’s managed so far.

      1. Makes me wonder why they never shared the set up earlier.

        1. Now he just has to not go backwards in the race.

        2. @emu55, they have already done that – it’s been reported that they gave Verstappen’s set up to Gasly in Austria, and it didn’t seem to do Gasly any good in that race.

    2. More like they gave him a little bit faster set ups but max is obviously still getting the fastest car, people are starting to realize that max and gasly aren’t driving the same car so now they gotta make gasly faster or people wont believe the fake max hype

      1. fake max hype

        you are probably the only one still thinking its a hype ;)

        1. And that it’s fake

  7. Apparently there was something wrong with Hamilton’s car that cost him around 7 thousandths.

    1. Tinfoil hat on (not in a pro Hamilton way btw).

    2. Bottas lead the outlap, and imo didn’t help himself or Lewis in preparing the tires. The lap basically came to them towards the end.

      I feel if lewis was leading on the outlap, both would have a faster time and maybe Lewis would have emerged on pole.

    3. I saw a bug stuck in the front wing, that disturbed the balance causing additional drag in the overall lap…

      1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
        13th July 2019, 17:48


        I see a bug stuck in my monitor just by your name. It seems to like following you when I scroll. Strange!

  8. That was a bit of an anticlimactic qualifying, it seemed as if the tracks was slowing down minute by minute. I was expecting the cars to get under 1:25, but colder temperatures apparently had their say.

    1. @pironitheprovocateur Well, still almost a second faster than the pole time twelve months ago on warmer and sunnier weather conditions.

    2. I thought it was pretty exciting… especially with the looming threat of Leclerc.

      1. Me too. And Max right in there again. He and CL starting beside each other tomorrow.

        1. Yeah.. I was surprised that Max ended up less than 0.2s off the pole sitter. He didn’t look that threatening this weekend, but still managed a mega lap in Q3. He’ll probably be battling Leclerc again this weekend.

    3. @pironitheprovocateur it seemed a bit odd to me as well. Very different to how it usually goes.

      If I was the conspiracy theorist type I would be frothing at the mouth about now. Still. Let’s just put it down as a bit of an odd one.
      I might start frothing later ;)

    4. F1oSaurus (@)
      13th July 2019, 22:02

      @pironitheprovocateur If you are only rooting for Vettel then I’m sure it was anticlimactic yes. At best it was a question if perhaps he could beat Gasly and he couldn’t. Meh.

      However for an actual fan of F1 as a whole then I’m pretty sure it was the most exciting end of Q3 we have had this season. The top three all with a shot at pole right up until the end. Ending on lap times less than 8 hundredths apart.

  9. Mercedes simply has better equipment, not a better driver or Hamilton’s team mate wouldn’t beat him as often. Or, Even for the championship…

    1. @Winston byrd

      U don’t win races with tractors mate, every winning car has to have the stamina required!

      If you raced actual horses, it would still be some horses dominating consistently…

    2. Did you say often?

      1. well, looking at the number of poles.. one of the strong points of ham..

        1. Ahh…….. but his strongest point is winning championships!

    3. F1oSaurus (@)
      13th July 2019, 22:03

      Last year Vettel had the fastest car and he did not win the WDC. He blundered away 7 races. So apparently it’s not that easy to win even in the fastest car.

  10. In 2014 it was HAM who beats his teammate by less than 0.01 secs in Singapore, now it’s his turn to be beaten one.

  11. Exciting qually great to see Bottas do well but will it be enough To keep his seat? Vettels weekend has started poorly but still see how he goes tonight. RB solidly in third, a bit of luck and they could get a podium. Hoping for another exciting race.

    1. I think Bottas has done enough to earn a seat for himself. He’s already improved on his early race pace, which was Vinales-esque, for lack of a better comparison in F1, and his qualifying pace. He’s currently the driver with the highest continuous Q3 streak, and he brings home the points. As long as Merc is producing a front-running car, he’ll have a contract, because he will win them a Constructor’s Championship.

      He would have to be worried about his seat only if Merc’s car is not consistently faster than the rest of the field. For that, he needs to overcome his greatest weakness – the willingness to do absolutely anything to win a race.

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