A sunny, warm day greeted qualifying at Silverstone for the Formula 1 70th anniversary race. After spending all three Free Practice sessions trying to get on top of the Pirelli tires, given last weekend’s tire issues, the teams deemed the Soft compound very fragile and spent most of the sessions burning through the Red Softs in order to save the Medium Yellow and Hard White branded tires.
The conventional thought was that the teams, unlike last weekend, would opt for a two-stop strategy due to the softer tire compounds on offer. Q1 would most likely be ran on the Softs while the teams saved the Mediums for Q2.
The Haas F1 duo set the initial times in far from impressive times of 1:28s and change. Sitting in for Sergio Perez, Nico Hulkenberg jumped to the top on a set of Softs but that wasn’t going to last long as the top teams had yet to make an initial run.
Interestingly, neither Ferrari could top Hulkenberg’s initial lap time but Lewis Hamilton had no trouble in leaping to the top but he was nipped by teammate Valtteri Bottas with 10 minutes left. Both Mercedes were jumped by Red Bull’s Max Verstappen but his teammate, Alex Albon was well off the pace down in 13th.
Daniel Ricciardo, who has been quick all weekend long, jumped to 6th just behind Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari. Hamilton’s second run took him to the top over Bottas while Lance Stroll’s Racing Point languished down in 14th and in the elimination possibility. He wasn’t alone, Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, in 13th, was dangerously close to elimination as well.
With 3:20s left, Alex Albon came out for another lap and as he was in the elimination zone, he needed redemption. Especially as both Alpha Tauri drivers were running 7th and 8th. Notably both Renault’s were ahead of both McLaren’s.
George Russell, who had his first run balked by Esteban Ocon, jumped up to 8th. Lando Norris moved his McLaren up to 5th while Albon moved to 3rd. Daniil Kvyat, who looked set for Q2 had his time eliminated for exceeding track limits and was eliminated.
Out in Q1- Kvyat, Magnussen, Latifi, Giovinazzi, Raikkonen
The target cutoff time was 1:26.8s and the teams were out immediately with Verstappen on the Hard compounds versus most teams on the Medium’s including both Mercedes cars.
Hamilton slotted behind Bottas followed by Ricciardo who managed to get ahead of Verstappen on his Hard compounds. Max’s teammate, Alex slotted behind him in 5th but was moved backward by Racing Point’s Lance Stroll who jumped 5th.
Both Ferrari’s were on Medium’s with Vettel only 10th quickest while Leclerc jumped to 4th leaving many scratching their heads as to why Vettel’s pace was woefully off. George Russel ran on Softs and missed the top 10 by two one hundredths of a second.
With 2:30s left, Ferrari sent Vettel back out to try and get into the top 10. Hamilton sent out on soft tires with the Red Bull out on Medium’s. Hulkenberg had a mistake on his first run and was looking for redemption. Carlos Sainz languishing in elimination zone needed a good run.
Norris improved but Hulkenberg jumped to P2 with Sainz left out and Pierre Gasly jumped to P4. Vettel was out languishing down in P12. Verstappen narrowly made it through to Q3 but he’ll start on the Hard compounds against Mercedes on Medium compounds.
Out in Q2- Vettel, Ocon, Sainz, Grosjean, Russell
All teams out immediately, as is usual in Q3, and the Renault of Ricciardo was on Medium’s. Norris on Red Soft compounds. Albon and Verstappen were also on Medium compounds joining Ricciardo in the thought they may be a faster option for their chassis than the Red Soft’s.
Hamilton jumped to the top with Ricciardo behind him. Bottas moved Daniel to third slotting just behind Hamilton. Verstappen managed 5th fastest ahead of Albon in 6th. Hulkenberg jumped to 4th with Stroll in 8th. Leclerc’s Ferrari only managed 7th quickest but the damning news was that both Mercedes were over a second quicker than the field.
Both Mercedes came out with 3:30s left on Medium’s. Red Bull switched to Reds for their final run. Ricciardo stuck with his Medium compound tires. Everyone else on Soft Red’s. Interesting that Mercedes sent Bottas out on Medium knowing provisional pole was on Soft compounds. They were confident they could best their Soft-compound runs on Medium compound tires and they were right.
Regardless, both Merc’s set faster laps but it was Bottas for pole position ahead of Hamilton. Hulkenberg jumped to P3 and Stroll in P5. Verstappen jumped to P4.
|3||Nico Hulkenberg||Racing Point/Mercedes||0.928s|
|4||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Honda||1.022s|
|6||Lance Stroll||Racing Point/Mercedes||1.274s|
|9||Alexander Albon||Red Bull/Honda||1.515s|
|12||Carlos Sainz Jr.||McLaren/Renault||1.929s|
|19||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||3.279s|
|20||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||3.339s|