Mercedes has delivered a pole position for British born driver Lewis Hamilton for the British Grand Prix. It’s his sixth pole position at the track and puts him firmly in place to break the record for converting poles to wins on the historic track, held by Jim Clark and Alain Prost.
Sebastian Vettel almost chose to not enter into qualifying due to strained and stiff neck muscles. He’s now glad that he did as he qualified second for Sunday’s race. He’s also part of a trio that qualified within 0.09 of a second of each other, with third position going to Kimi Raikonnen.
Hamilton qualified with a 1: 25.892, Vettel a 1:25.936, and Raikonnen a 1:25.990. Valtteri Bottas wasn’t far of being in this group either, notching fourth overall with a 1:26.217. Red Bull claimed fifth and sixth, with Max Verstappen ahead of Daniel Ricciardo, followed by Kevin Mganussen, Romain Grosjean, Charles Leclerc, and Esteban Ocon.
It wasn’t good news for Renault, with their run of Q3 finishing cars coming to an end at Silverstone. Carlos Sainz qualified sixteenth, suggesting that the circuit’s layout and the setup of the Renaults don’t gel. ““We’ve been struggling at the last couple of tracks. Especially at Paul Ricard and Austria with the high-speed corners, we are simply not quick enough. Silverstone is the king of high-speed corners. That’s probably why our cars are top not in Q3.”
The Williams team was left scratching their head after both Lance Stroll and Sergei Sirotkin spun their cars. After the team had replaced bodywork parts in the free practice sessions, the cause of the spins was subsequently identified to be a lack of downforce, or as the team’s Chief Technical Officer Paddy Lowe described it: “…the DRS activation intermittently causes a complete loss of aerodynamic floor loading which does not recover at the entry to the subsequent corner.”
A befuddled Stroll said that he was unaware of what was about to happen, saying he’d been doing the same thing only to have the car break away from him. A despondent Sirotkin also admitted that even without the issues, the team were unlikely to have made it as far as anticipated, with their speed six tenths of breaking into the Q2 sessions.
Young New Zealander Brendon Hartley could be forgiven for thinking he’s run over a black cat standing under a ladder. Yet another crash befell the struggling Toro Rosso driver during free practice, with a front left suspension failure arrowing the stricken car into the barriers at speed. The resulting impact was enough to have the car declared unrepairable for qualifying but thankfully Hartley was unscathed.
Asked if he felt he was due some luck, the Kiwi smiled, saying :”That’s four or five (crashes) now, I’ve had a few big hits. Most of the crashes have been out of my control.”
Sunday’s race leaves the F1 season with just two more before the summer break and gets under way at 14:10 local time.