Lewis Hamilton took pole for 2020 British Grand Prix following a lively Saturday in which Mercedes’ teammate, Valtteri Bottas pushed him all the way.
A topsy turvy Qualifying performance saw Hamilton snatch his 91st pole position and seventh at Silverstone alone, despite spinning at Luffield in Q2 and struggling to nail the perfect lap in FP3.
Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel meanwhile spent Saturday looking to bounce back from a disastrous Friday, whereas several drivers looked to improve in cooler temperatures throughout FP3 and Qualifying.
FP3Embed from Getty Images
Free Practice Three saw a quiet start with several drivers opting for installation lap until Sebastian Vettel posted the first timed lap of a 1m 29.562 just nine minutes into the session.
Several drivers then slowly began to trade fastest lap times except for Red Bull’s Alex Albon who was stuck in his garage with an electrical issue.
Lewis Hamilton soon set the pace with two consecutive quicker times in between cooldown laps, before Mercedes teammate – Valtteri Bottas went fastest shortly before the halfway mark with a 1m 26.526.
Hamilton, Max Verstappen and Nico Hulkenberg rounded out the top four at halfway mark, ahead of Pierre Gasly who had done the then fifth fastest time on medium tyres unlike the rest.Embed from Getty Images
Qualifying simulation runs soon followed with Bottas setting the session topping time of a 1m 25.873 ahead of Hamilton and Verstappen, with Lance Stroll and Carlos Sainz rounding out the top five.
Albon did manage to eventually get out for a qualifying simulation but could only go 13th fastest and 1.005s off Red Bull teammate – Verstappen who was third fastest overall.
Elsewhere, Vettel struggled again with his brake pedal issues as he battled to produce what was the 14th best overall lap time heading into Qualifying.
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Kimi Raikkonen was first on track and set the first representative lap of a 1m 27.941 but Alfa Romeo teammate, Antonio Giovinazzi soon bettered his time before Haas’ Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen then went faster.
Mercedes however would soon seize control with Bottas topping the session with a 1m 25.801 ahead of Hamilton by 0.099s as Verstappen comfortably was third fastest from Racing Point duo of Stroll and Nico Hulkenberg.
Nicholas Latifi briefly brought out the yellow flags when he crashed on his final Q1 run at Woodcote, condemning him to the final grid slot ahead of Grosjean, Raikkonen, Giovinazzi and Magnussen who also failed to advance.
Latifi’s teammate, George Russell however failed to sufficiently slow down for yellow flags covering the Canadian’s incident and has collected a five place grid penalty, demoting him to the final grid spot.
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Albon was first out on track as several drivers opted for mediums in knowledge that they would start on those tyres if reached Q3, whereas Vettel did his first Q2 run on the soft compound.
Bottas eventually proved quickest in the opening stages with a stunning Q2 topping 1m 25.015 and over a second clear of Verstappen, whilst Hamilton spun at Luffield to spread gravel across the track and cause an eight minute red flag as marshals swept the track clean.
Once the session resumed, Hamilton produced a 1m 25.347 to go second quickest as several drivers struggled to improve with Pierre Gasly’s best lap time proving only enough for 11th, ahead of Albon and Hulkenberg with 0.065s between the eliminated trio.
Daniil Kvyat and Russell completed the Q2 exit list but Kvyat will start the race in 19th position, having suffered a five place grid penalty for an unscheduled gearbox change overnight.
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McLaren unleashed their drivers straight onto the track but the opening runs went the way of Mercedes, with Hamilton producing a 1m 24.616 to put his car on provisional pole ahead of Bottas, Verstappen, Stroll and Charles Leclerc.
Unlike Q2, everyone with exception of Stroll found improvement on their final runs as Hamilton set a new pole record time of 1m 24.303, which was 0.313s quicker than Bottas’ effort and over a second clear of Verstappen’s time.
Leclerc improved to fourth ahead of Norris who edged out Stroll and Sainz for fifth, whilst Daniel Ricciardo qualified in eighth and was just 0.044s slower than seventh placed Sainz.
Esteban Ocon qualified ninth for tomorrow’s grid despite Ocon saying that he “lost it a little bit in Q3.”
Vettel however had his best lap time of 1m 26.077 deleted for track limits which consequently put him tenth.
|1||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes||1m 25.873|
|3||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||+ 0.300|
|4||Lance Stroll||Racing Point||+ 0.703|
|5||Carlos Sainz||McLaren||+ 0.791|
|6||Charles Leclerc||Ferrari||+ 0.898|
|7||Lando Norris||McLaren||+ 0.925|
|8||Daniel Ricciardo||Renault||+ 0.968|
|9||Nico Hulkenberg||Racing Point||+ 0.999|
|10||Pierre Gasly||Alpha Tauri||+ 1.173|
|11||Daniil Kvyat||Alpha Tauri||+ 1.203|
|12||Esteban Ocon||Renault||+ 1.285|
|13||Alex Albon||Red Bull||+ 1.305|
|14||Sebastian Vettel||Ferrari||+ 1.378|
|15||Romain Grosjean||Haas||+ 1.664|
|16||George Russell||Williams||+ 1.865|
|17||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo||+ 1.952|
|18||Kevin Magnussen||Haas||+ 1.987|
|19||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo||+ 2.103|
|20||Nicholas Latifi||Williams||+ 2.239|
|1||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||1m 24.303|
|2||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes||+ 0.313|
|3||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||+ 1.022|
|4||Charles Leclerc||Ferrari||+ 1.124|
|5||Lando Norris||McLaren||+ 1.479|
|6||Lance Stroll||Racing Point||+ 1.536|
|7||Carlos Sainz||McLaren||+ 1.662|
|8||Daniel Ricciardo||Renault||+ 1.706|
|9||Esteban Ocon||Renault||+ 1.906|
|10||Sebastian Vettel||Ferrari||+ 2.036|
|11||Pierre Gasly||Alpha Tauri||1m 26.501|
|12||Alex Albon||Red Bull||+ 0.044|
|13||Nico Hulkenberg||Racing Point||+ 0.065|
|14||Daniil Kvyat||Alpha Tauri||+ 0.243|
|15||George Russell||Williams||+ 0.591|
|16||Kevin Magnussen||Haas||1m 27.158|
|17||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo||+ 0.006|
|18||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo||+ 0.208|
|19||Romain Grosjean||Haas||+ 0.485|
|20||Nicholas Latifi||Williams||+ 0.547|