Image: Lee Dyer
On the day of the football World Cup quarter-final between England and Sweden, it was a British driver who set the pace in front of home fans as Lewis Hamilton pulled out a blisteringly quick lap to beat the Ferraris of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen. With only 0.098 seconds separating the top three and sunshine predicted for race day, everything looks to be set up nicely.
Here is a rundown of how events unfolded.
Q1: Leclerc impresses yet again
It looked like Ferrari and Mercedes were on course for a head-to-head battle coming out of FP3 on a hot day at the Silverstone circuit.
Q1 got underway with all teams opting for the softest tyre compound available. The soft tyres didn’t do Lance Stroll any favours as he lost the back end of his Williams into the high braking Turn Six and ended up into the gravel, bringing the red flag out early.
Once the Williams was craned out the Ferraris of Raikkonen and Vettel kept trading top spot along with the Mercedes of Hamilton. Vettel came out on top as he broke the lap record for the first time this weekend with a time of 1:26:585.
Charles Leclerc impressed again as he put his Sauber into P7 with a time of 1:27:962. However, Carlos Sainz did not make it into Q2, failing to start in the top ten for the first time this season.
Mclaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne was also unlucky and could only manage P17 ahead of the two Williams and the Toro Rosso of Brendon Hartley who could not take part in qualifying after a huge shunt in FP3.
Q2: Haas look to be best of the rest
The second qualifying session was a less eventful as Lewis Hamilton went fastest with a time of 1:26:256 followed by Vettel, the Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas and Kimi Raikkonen. This set the scene for an epic showdown in Q3 with both teams equally matched. It was down to the drivers to make something happen in the final session of qualifying.
The Red Bulls of Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen completed the top six but did not threaten in terms of one-lap pace.
Haas-Ferrari were best of the rest as Grosjean and Magnussen got through to Q3 ahead of Leclerc who took his Sauber to the final session again in P9.
Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg, Force India’s Sergio Perez, McLaren’s Fernando Alonso, Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly and Sauber F1 Team’s Marcus Ericsson failed to make it into the top ten shootout.
Q3: Lewis Hamilton reigns supreme
The final session was an absolute street fight as Vettel pulled out a magical lap to go ahead of Lewis Hamilton in the first set of hot laps with Raikkonen and Bottas not too far back.
The final set of hot laps excited as the drivers prepared their tyres during their warm up laps to find optimum grip. First up was Lewis Hamilton, who was inch perfect under pressure in sector one and two to go 0.044 seconds faster than Vettel with a 1:25:892. Both Raikkonen and Vettel threatened as they went fastest in two sectors but it was not enough to oust the Brit off of pole position.
Bottas finished in fourth place, ahead of Red Bull duo Verstappen and Ricciardo, with Magnussen outperforming Grosjean to take seventh. Leclerc secured a brilliant ninth place finish, nearly three-tenths faster than the Force India of Esteban Ocon.
It was an afternoon where Lewis Hamilton delivered in front of his home crowd to claim a record sixth British Grand Prix pole. With Ferrari expected to be faster in terms of race pace, Sunday cannot come soon enough.
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