Lewis Hamilton bounced back from a spin in Q2 to claim pole position for the British Grand Prix, breaking the track record as he did.
Q1Max Verstappen initially separated the two Mercedes drivers at the top of the times in Q1. But as Hamilton and Bottas swapped better sectors the Red Bull was shuffled down to third place. Bottas won the first exchange, edging Hamilton by less than a tenth of a second.
Nico Hulkenberg made an error at The Loop on his first effort and ended up only 12th. He tidied up his final run and jumped up to fourth place.
He was fortunate to complete his run without being affected by the yellow flags which waved when Nicholas Latifi spun off on his final run. The Williams driver ended the session in last, and eliminated.
George Russell posted the 13th-fastest time, continuing his run of Q2 appearances. However the stewards are investigating whether he did not back off sufficiently when he passed the yellow flags triggered by his team mate.
“I definitely backed off,” said Russell on the radio. “You’ll see it on the throttle trace. And I was fully in control.” Nonetheless, with one FW43 through to Q2, it meant the four Ferrari customer cars all dropped out in the first round of qualifying. Among them was a frustrated Kimi Raikkonen, who accused Esteban Ocon of holding him up, which the stewards also decided to investigate.
strong>Drivers eliminated in Q1
|17||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo-Ferrari||1’27.164|
|18||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo-Ferrari||1’27.366|
Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and
The Mercedes, Red Bull and Racing Point drivers all opted to run the medium compounds tyres in Q2, as did Charles Leclerc, hoping to start the race on a potentially advantageous tyre. Sebastian Vettel did not follow his team mate, opting for the soft compound, as did the rest.
However on the harder rubber Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes got away from him at the exit of Luffield. “Tyres are OK,” he told his team on the radio after spinning through 360 degrees. The gyrating Mercedes distributed gravel across the exit of the corner, and the session was swiftly red-flagged.
Bottas had set his first flying effort by that time, leading Verstappen by a healthy margin of 1.1 seconds. Leclerc put his Ferrari up in third place, followed by the soft-tyred Esteban Ocon, the McLaren drivers, and his team mate.
When the session restarted with eight minutes to go, Mercedes did not hesitate to send Hamilton out on a fresh set of medium tyres. He moved into to second place with no drama, securing his spot in Q3.
The fight for the places in the top 10 was beyond closed. Lance Stroll and Pierre Gasly set identical times to within a thousandth of a second, but as the Racing Point driver set his first, he made the cut while Gasly was eliminated.
Despite switching to soft tyres for his last run, Alexander Albon also failed to make the cut. The Red Bull driver, whose final practice session was badly disrupted by a power unit problem, missed out on the top 10 by just four hundredths of a second.
Drivers eliminated in Q2
|12||Alexander Albon||Red Bull-Honda||1’26.545|
|13||Nico Hulkenberg||Racing Point-Mercedes||1’26.566|
Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and
As the cars joined the track for the pole position shoot-out, Lance Stroll had to hit the brakes to avoid the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc, which was waved into the pit lane ahead of him. “Very unsafe release,” remarked Stroll on the radio, as the stewards’s inbox continued to fill up.
With the full potential of their car unleashed, the Mercedes drivers were untouchable. Hamilton bounced back from his scrappy second practice session, recording a 1’24.616, lowering the track record, to take provisional pole position. Bottas slipped to second place behind him.
No one else was within 1.1 seconds of Hamilton. Verstappen and Stroll, the sole remaining representatives of their two teams, took up third and fourth places, followed by the Ferrari, McLaren and Renault drivers in formation.
That formation was disrupted by the final runs – except at the front, where Mercedes continued to reign supreme. Hamilton went even quicker with his final run, lowering the record to a 1’24.303, with a useful three-tenths margin over his team mate.
Verstappen held on to third, but he had to respond to a challenge from Ferrari and McLaren. Leclerc popped up in an unexpected fourth, narrowly beating Lando Norris’s McLaren. Stroll failed to improve on his last run, and slipped to sixth place as a result.
Vettel blamed understeer for his sub-par final effort, which was then deleted due to a track limits violation. That left the second Ferrari tenth on the grid, with Sainz and the two Renaults ahead of him.
Top ten in Q3
|3||Max Verstappen||Red Bull-Honda||1’25.325|
|6||Lance Stroll||Racing Point-Mercedes||1’25.839|
|7||Carlos Sainz Jnr||McLaren-Renault||1’25.965|
Go ad-free for just £1 per month
2020 British Grand Prix
- Ferrari did not sacrifice Vettel to help Leclerc – Binotto
- Racing Point given 15-point deduction and fined £360,000 as stewards uphold Renault protest
- Tyre not responsible for Kvyat crash, Pirelli confirms
- Di Resta to serve as McLaren’s ‘standby driver’ for Silverstone
- Missed chance to avoid Hamilton’s puncture “a mistake that could have cost us dearly”