British GP | Hamilton storms stormy qualifying at Silverstone

Lewis Hamilton wins the qualifying quest at the British Grand Prix.

From a wet start to a fiery end, Hamilton stormed Silverstone to clinch pole at the British Grand Prix. Lewis’ 67th career pole, and fifth at home, moving the Briton to within one of Michael Schumacher on the all-time list. And placing Lewis in a great spot to clinch his fourth consecutive British Grand Prix win.

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British GP | Hamilton tops final practice as rain arrives at Silverstone

Lewis Hamilton tops the final practice session at the 2017 British Grand Prix.

Silverstone sunshine went missing as Lewis Hamilton went fastest ahead of qualifying, edging Sebastian Vettel in overcast conditions at the British Grand Prix. With just 0.032 seconds separating the title-rivals, before rain fell to switch the programs. Catching out few drivers, and Max Verstappen’s engineer.

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British Grand Prix Preview

Round 10 of the 2016 Formula One World Championship brings the paddock to Silverstone for the British Grand Prix. 

After Hamilton and Rosberg came together in Austria, the paddock rolls out of the Styrian mountains to Silverstone. With the Northamptonshire circuit playing host to the second stage of a back-to-back race weekend double-header. But will Hamilton take victory in front of his home fans? Or will Rosberg seek revenge for Austria?

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First free practice at the British Grand Prix topped by Nico Rosberg

Nico Rosberg opens the British Grand Prix weekend with the fastest lap around Silverstone during the first free practice session, ahead of Lewis Hamilton.

Under glorious sunshine in Northamptonshire, Formula One hit the track in front of the dedicated British fans at Silverstone. And those fans who arrived at the circuit for practice were treated to a strong portion of action as Hamilton lead the session to the death, before Rosberg leaped into the lead after a gearbox change.

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British Grand Prix Preview

Formula One’s annual trip to Great Britain is this weekend. Read on for my preview to the British Grand Prix.

Formula One comes home for one week only as the championship battle rolls into Silverstone for the 2015 British Grand Prix. The home of not only British motorsport, but the country that held the very first Formula One World Championship event back in 1950. Now, 65 years on, who will battle for the win around the 5.891 kilometre circuit. Will it be home-boy Hamilton battling for the win with his team-mate and championship rival, Nico Rosberg or will a Ferrari get in the mix?

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Pole for the British Grand Prix goes to Nico Rosberg

In a shock end to qualifying for the British Grand Prix, it was Nico Rosberg who secured pole position. Mistakes were made by drivers throughout qualifying with surprises springing up all the time, and a miserable end for Ferrari, Williams and Hamilton. Whilst delight for McLaren and Rosberg.

Ahead of qualifying, neither Mercedes set a timed lap in the wet third free practice session. But across the practice sessions for the British Grand Prix, drivers have found themselves exceeding the track limits, especially at Copse (turn 9) and Club (turn 18). Back in Austria, drivers had their times excluded in qualifying for exceeding track limits at the final corner and that will be the case here.

Come the start of Q1, the track was still wet in areas so intermediates were the tyres of choice for drivers heading straight out. As times started to be placed on the board, the early pace was being shown by Lewis Hamilton who flew to the top with a 1:43:676. Lewis’ time put him over a second faster than Ricciardo at the top, with reports of more rain on its way.

After drivers completed their first stint of times, some drivers felt conditions on track were actually sufficient for dry tyres. Some of the early changers were the cars fighting it out at the back but were also joined by Jenson Button.

Unfortunately for Kamui, without setting a timed lap on the medium compound tyres, he was back in the pits with an issue in his Caterham. But for Chilton, whilst out on the medium tyres he was able to improve his time to send him top of the time sheets.

But not so soon after, Jenson Button pushing hard fought for control of his McLaren around the final corner, sending himself over the run off. With the race stewards saying cars exceeding track limits will have their times disqualified, this actually Jenson’s time that took him to the top removed.

With track conditions improving, drivers were pushing hard to see themselves get into Q2 but a disaster for Ferrari and Williams who saw all of their drivers out of qualifying in Q1.

Fernando Alonso was his own qualifying enemy as he ran wide and span at Luffield. Meaning he was unable to improve on his lap time. But from their disaster to joy for Marussia who saw both of their drivers get into Q2. For Red Bull, they almost saw their drivers out in Q1 as well as they only just survived in 15th and 16th.

So joining Alonso out in Q1 were; 17) Bottas [1:45:318], 18) Massa 19) Alonso 20) Raikkonen 21) Ericsson 22) Kobayashi

Come the start of Q2, there were only 15 cars competing as Adrian Sutil was unable to return to the pits as he got stuck in the gravel at the end of Q1. But looking ahead to Q2, the track conditions had changed once more. Resulting in drivers opting for intermediate tyres.

As the competing drivers set their early Q2 times, it was once again Hamilton topping the time sheets. This time with a 1:44:639, which actually created a two and a half second gap to third, with Rosberg in second.

Despite loosing time in the middle sector on his next flying lap, Sebastian Vettel jumped to the top with a 1:44:085. Possibly prompting Hamilton to change to the slick tyres. But not so soon after, Vettel’s time, like Button’s, was deleted for exceeding track limits, sending him to 14th.

When the drivers set their times on the slick tyres, the times were tumbling with Sauber rocketing to the top. Followed by the Marussia’s and Red Bull’s. But with the times continuing to tumble, the Mercedes pair found extra time to secure another one-two.

But for Gutierrez, his Q2 session came to an end in the barrier at Luffield after a spin. As Gutierrez entered Luffield, he dipped a wheel onto the kerb. And thanks to the rain, it sent his Sauber spinning into the barrier.

Joining Sutil out in Q2 were Romain Grosjean, who finished in 11th with a 1:38:496, followed by Bianchi (12), Chilton (13), Gutierrez (14) and Maldonado (15th).

Due to their respective penalties however, Max Chilton will not start tomorrow’s race from 13th, instead he will fall to 18th and Esteban Gutierrez will fall from 14th to last.

But now moving on to the top 10 shoot-out, all drivers opted to start on new medium tyres with the Toro Rosso’s first out on track. But as a few drivers started to finish their first timed laps the rain returned at Stowe.

Vergne, Kvyat and Perez were able to get in their laps in the 1:40’s but when Button finished his lap he was a second off the pace and Magnussen another four seconds back.

When the two Mercedes cars hit the line, they had managed to break into the 1:39s to get another one-two, headed up by Hamilton. But with the rain returning, teams brought their drivers back to the pits. For Vettel, he hadn’t set a time so far in Q3.

Now into the final two minuets of qualifying all but Ricciardo, Kvyat and Vergne returned to the track in a late push for a better qualifying position. But as the clock ticked down to 0, Rosberg felt he was being held up by Hamilton, who in turn was behind Perez.

The Mercedes pair managed to pass Perez before the finish line and just beat the chequered flag to start their timed laps. Perez unfortunately did not beat the flag and failed to start a timed lap. But As the lap unfolded Hamilton backed out of his lap and allowed Rosberg passed. Which in turn through pole position away.

As the drivers out on track, minus Lewis and Perez, pushed hard, it didn’t seem that anyone would improve on their times after the first sector. But they all kept pushing hard and found loads of time across the remainder of the lap from Stowe onwards thanks to the dry track.

As the drivers began to cross the line to post their new lap times Hulkenberg stormed to the top of the board, giving him provisional pole. But it didn’t stay like that for long as Vettel jumped the fellow German. Surprisingly this was not the way it would end as another German in Rosberg took the top spot to secure pole position at the British Grand Prix.

Now after Hamilton backed out of his lap he fell down the time sheets to finish in sixth place, leaving Jenson Button as the only British driver out pushing at the home of British motorsport. Even though the McLaren does not appear to be a strong car, having a strong driver in the wet like Jenson meant he was able to cause a huge surprise and finish in third place.

So the provisional grid for tomorrow’s British Grand Prix will be:

Pos No Driver Team Q1 Q2 Q3
1 6 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:40.380 1:35.179 1:35.766
2 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:45.086 1:36.410 1:37.386
3 22 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:44.425 1:36.579 1:38.200
4 27 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1:41.271 1:37.112 1:38.329
5 20 Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 1:42.507 1:37.370 1:38.417
6 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:41.058 1:34.870 1:39.232
7 11 Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1:42.146 1:37.350 1:40.457
8 3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:44.710 1:38.166 1:40.606
9 26 Daniil Kvyat STR-Renault 1:41.032 1:36.813 1:40.707
10 25 Jean-Eric Vergne STR-Renault 1:43.040 1:37.800 1:40.855
11 8 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1:43.121 1:38.496
12 17 Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 1:41.169 1:38.709
13 4 Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari 1:42.082 1:39.800
14 21 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1:43.285 1:40.912
15 13 Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault 1:43.892 1:44.018
16 99 Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 1:42.603
17 77 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 1:45.318
18 19 Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1:45.695
19 14 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:45.935
20 7 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:46.684
21 9 Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 1:49.421
22 10 Kamui Kobayashi Caterham-Renault 1:49.625
Q1 107% Time 1:47.406

Sebastian Vettel topped third free practice for the British Grand Prix

After Friday‘s running in dry conditions, the teams and drivers faced the damp conditions out on track for the third free practice session. If the track does not dry up in time for qualifying later today, this session will prove to be vital as they looked for the best wet weather set up. The driver who appeared to fare best in the wet conditions was Sebastian Vettel who set the fastest lap, ahead of team-mate Daniel Ricciardo.

As the green light flicked on to mark the start of the session, Adrian Sutil in his Sauber was the first to venture out on track. With the wet weather conditions, the track temperature was at 20 degrees celsius. In both free practice sessions yesterday, drivers were struggling to get heat into the harder compound tyres on the early laps. If the track temperature remains similar to this, drivers may struggle to get faster laps in on the slick tyres if conditions improve sufficiently.

Keeping with the track conditions, in the opening minuets of the session, some drivers opted to carry out there installation laps on the intermediate tyres. Jenson Button was one of the drivers on the intermediate tyres at this stage, and noticed there were some dry patches on track. Additionally, Valtteri Bottas felt that the track conditions were better than he was expecting.

The first timed laps on the board didn’t appear until 17 minuets into the session with most drivers remaining in the pits. When there is a wet third free practice, you can usually expect the teams to be reluctant to send their drivers out on track as they wouldn’t want to be forced into repairing the car between the end of FP3 and qualifying. But it also means you can save the intermediate and wet tyres, which could give you a big advantage in qualifying.

But the first times posted came courtesy of the Caterham pair, Ericsson and Kobayashi before they were joined by the two Toro Rosso’s and the Marussia of Bianchi.

Unfortunately for the other Marussia driver, Max Chilton, he has been forced into taking a five place grid penalty ahead of qualifying today due to a necessary gear box change. As this should rule him out for the rest of the session, he will go into qualifying not only knowing he will start at the back of the grid barring any surprises, but with a lot less knowledge of how the car performs on a wet Silverstone track.

For Romain Grosjean, he appeared to be struggling through the final corner with his Lotus. One on occasion he ran slightly off-line through Club and almost performed a drift in order to stay in control of his car. But a few laps later Grosjean had another moment on the exit of club as he once again ran wide and onto the green painted section. Sending Romain into a spin. It took great control from Grosjean to keep his car out of the pit lane wall. Just releasing the breaks at the precise moment he could turn the front away from the wall.

As the session entered the final seventeen minuets the track conditions appeared to deteriorate further, and the FIA opted to disable the DRS. But things were about to get worse for Marussia, who already were a driver done for the session.

For Jules Bianchi, he brought his session to a close after going off and into the barrier at Stowe. This corner had caught a few drivers out across the session but most were able to stay out of the barrier and continue on their ways. But for the Frenchman, he was unable to slow down in time and ended up bumping the barrier. The gravel trap appeared to slow him down enough to minimise the damage, but he still ended up with a broken front wing.

When the chequered flag fell to mark the end of the session most drivers were sitting in the pits so Sebastian Vettel’s 1:52:522 would not be challenged for the fastest lap time. Daniel Ricciardo finished in second place to make it a Red Bull one-two. This looks good for Red Bull but it will be interesting to see how the Mercedes pair and Fernando Alonso can do later today after not setting a FP3 time. Moreover, the top four cars in FP3 were all Renault powered drivers with Lotus finishing in third and fourth behind Red Bull.

Pos No Driver Team Time/Retired Gap Laps
1 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:52.522 6
2 3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:52.631 0.109 6
3 13 Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault 1:53.044 0.522 10
4 8 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1:53.566 1.044 6
5 99 Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 1:53.585 1.063 12
6 26 Daniil Kvyat STR-Renault 1:53.654 1.132 15
7 20 Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 1:53.911 1.389 5
8 22 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:54.041 1.519 6
9 77 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 1:54.217 1.695 4
10 7 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:54.558 2.036 5
11 25 Jean-Eric Vergne STR-Renault 1:54.602 2.080 6
12 21 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1:54.761 2.239 13
13 19 Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1:55.003 2.481 4
14 27 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1:55.688 3.166 6
15 11 Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1:56.918 4.396 7
16 9 Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 1:57.091 4.569 10
17 17 Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 1:57.566 5.044 6
18 10 Kamui Kobayashi Caterham-Renault 1:57.914 5.392
19 4 Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari
20 14 Fernando Alonso Ferrari
21 6 Nico Rosberg Mercedes
22 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes