Lewis Hamilton claims pole at his home race, the British Grand Prix.
It was a duel between the Silver Arrows at Silverstone where Nico Rosberg pushed Hamilton, but Lewis was able to out-do his team-mate and force him into second to take pole position for the 2015 British Grand Prix. Williams rocketed up the field to take the fight to Ferrari and better the Italian outfit for the second row of the grid.
Mercedes opened qualifying with the fastest benchmarks with both drivers in Q1 while on the hard compound tyres. Out of the pair, the early advantage fell to Rosberg who also held the early advantage for the weekend after topping first and second free practice.
Williams, like Mercedes, had a strong start to their qualifying on the hard tyres with Bottas holding P3 ahead of Raikkonen and Massa. As for Ferrari, they were showing strong pace in comparison to Massa but Vettel’s initial time was eliminated after running wide and overstepping the track boundaries at Copse. The German was not the only driver to fall victim to this while going through the windy corner.
Manor started qualifying off by braking the silence at Silverstone but as you would expect with the team, they could only manage to lock out the back row of the grid once Q1 came to an end.
McLaren joined Manor in being eliminated from qualifying early on, but getting out on track seemed like it would be a struggle as Q1 approached for Alonso. Luckily, the ERS system leak was able to be fixed in time and he got out on track but 17th was the best he could manage. Jenson on the other hand found himself resting in 18th come the flag despite improving on the medium’s after both Sauber’s leapt ahead of McLaren.
Also on the medium’s was Kimi Raikkonen who took the top spot in Q1 after Mercedes did not return to the track. Verstappen also found himself forced into a late run on the mediums in order to stay clear of the drop, however he could only finish seven hundredths of a second above Nasr.
For Q2 Williams took Manor’s role and broke the silence for qualifying with both cars taking to an empty track. Bottas’ opening 1:33.273 meant he set the early benchmark for the midfield teams. Rosberg meanwhile set the outright benchmark, half a second up on Valtteri’s time.
In the other Mercedes car, Hamilton set about posting his first flyer and attacked the opening turn before locking up into village and abandoning the lap. On his next time round, he managed to get within three tenths of his team-mate despite the rear stepping out on him through Luffield. Despite the lock up, Lewis and his crew decided not to run again in Q2 meaning he will start the race on those tyres.
Lewis was also not alone in suffering for grip, with a very vocal Max Verstappen complaining about his Toro Rosso not being as planted as he would like, claiming “I can’t do anything at all”. This resulted in his best time being only good enough for 12th ahead of a change of tyres.
With new tyres on, Bottas improved to split the Silver Arrows for second while Raikkonen could only manage P9 after his early lap time was deleted for exceeding track limits at Copse. Verstappen however could not make any gains with the new rubber and fell to 13th at the flag, four tenths off his team-mate who snuck his way into Q3 in 10th.
Nevertheless, the top 10 shoot out kicked off with 10 minutes to go in Q3 when all 10 drivers hit the track. First of all, Hamilton went purple in the first sector to take the early advantage for his lap. But Rosberg bettered his time by eight hundredths. Come the middle sector, Hamilton again went purple while Rosberg could not better his team-mate this time round. As a result the sectors were levelled out and after the final sectors were completed, Hamilton held the early lead by one tenth.
By the time the field returned to their garages for one last time, Bottas set in third as best of the rest with his team-mate in fourth, but neither could get within nine-tenths of the Silver Arrows. The first runs in Q3 also proved hard going for Force India and the three Renault powered cars as they propped up the top 10.
Next time round, Hulkenberg lead the field into the final runs and instantly set personal bests in all of the sectors. His time however was still only good enough for 10th place, but luckily for him Ricciardo’s time was deleted and he could claim 9th place.
Elsewhere Hamilton failed to improve in his first and second sectors before pitting and abandoning his lap. Rosberg on the other hand pushed hard for the line but could only end the lap one tenth down on the British pole sitter.
In third was Felipe Massa after being the only man to make ground with his final run to overtake his team-mate. Yet even loosing the position to Massa still meant Bottas ended Q3 in 4th place, ahead of both Ferrari’s where Raikkonen also out-qualified his team-mate by one tenth of a second.