Lewis Hamilton overcame a stern challenge from Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg to take pole position for the British Grand Prix. The pair headed Williams duo Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas, who locked out the second row of the grid.
The reigning World Champion and defending British Grand Prix winner clocked a 1:32.248 time on his first run in Q3, which ultimately proved untouchable as track conditions rapidly fell away from the drivers as the twelve-minute session progressed.
Rosberg, fastest in the preceding Q2 phase, suffered with understeer through the Becketts/Maggots sweeps and had to settle for second place on the grid, one-tenth of a second adrift of his teammate.
Felipe Massa was one of the few drivers to actually improve on his second Q3 run, popping his Williams into third place on the grid with a time just seven-hundredths of a second faster than teammate Valtteri Bottas.
The pace of the Williams FW37s proved to be one of the major highlights of qualifying. Having not shown their hand during Friday’s practice sessions while concentrating on longer, race-style runs, the Mercedes-powered cars showed significant improvement in FP3 before unleashing some impressive one-lap pace.
The ‘Noah’s Ark’ theme continued on the third row of the grid, with Kimi Räikkönen outqualifying Ferrari teammate Sebastian Vettel for just the second time this season. The pair was over a second off the Mercedes’ pace, and will – on the basis of Williams’ superior pace and better grid positions – struggle to threaten for the podium on Sunday.
Daniil Kvyat led Red Bull Racing’s charge with the seventh-fastest time, ahead of the sister Toro Rosso of Carlos Sainz Jr. Force India’s Nico Hülkenberg and Kvyat’s teammate Daniel Ricciardo completed the top-ten, with Ricciardo having his final flying lap time deleted for running wide at the exit of Copse.
The FIA’s ‘zero tolerance’ approach to exceeding the track limits at the high-speed right-hander was in full force, and a number of other drivers fell foul of the directive from race director Charlie Whiting. Pastor Maldonado was the principal offender, and the Lotus driver qualified fourteenth as a result of his indiscretions, two spots behind teammate Romain Grosjean.
One of the biggest shocks of qualifying was the poor showing from Scuderia Toro Rosso, which Max Verstappen had proclaimed was the second-fastest car at Silvestone behind the Mercedes’ after a strong showing in Friday’s two practice sessions.
While Carlos Sainz Jr managed to break into the top-ten, the much-fancied Verstappen saw the handling of his car completely deteriorate. The Dutch youngster at a spin at Turn 3 en route to qualifying a frustrated thirteenth-fastest between the two Lotus’.
The two Sauber’s locked out the third-last row of the grid, with Marcus Ericsson pipping teammate Felipe Nasr for the final spot in Q2.
The Swiss team’s line-up will start ahead of the two McLaren Hondas, which predictably found their lack of straight-line speed wanting down the circuit’s long straights. Such was the closeness of Q1, Fernando Alonso was just 1.5 seconds off the fastest time in Q1 – teammate Jenson Button was a further two-tenths adrift – so in all fairness, it was actually somewhat encouraging for the Woking squad.
Despite a major aerodynamic upgrade, the two Manor Marussias remained at the bottom of the timesheets by some margin. Local driver Will Stevens outqualified teammate Roberto Merhi for the first time in three outings. finishing over two seconds clear of the Spaniard. Merhi did, however, have his fastest lap time deleted for running wide at Copse.
Sunday’s 52-lap British Grand Prix gets under way at 14:00 local time (GMT +1).
|2015 Formula 1 British Grand Prix – Qualifying Results|
|Pos||Q3 Qualifiers||Team / Entry||Time||Gap||Laps|
|1.||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W06 Hybrid||1:32.248||14|
|2.||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W06 Hybrid||1:32.361||+ 0.113||14|
|3.||Felipe Massa||Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW37||1:33.085||+ 0.837||21|
|4.||Valtteri Bottas||Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW37||1:33.149||+ 0.901||19|
|5.||Kimi Räikkönen||Scuderia Ferrari SF15-T||1:33.379||+ 1.131||19|
|6.||Sebastian Vettel||Scuderia Ferrari SF15-T||1:33.547||+ 1.299||18|
|7.||Daniil Kvyat||Infiniti Red Bull Racing Renault RB11||1:33.636||+ 1.388||22|
|8.||Carlos Sainz Jr.||Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault STR10||1:33.649||+ 1.401||19|
|9.||Nico Hülkenberg||Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM08B||1:33.673||+ 1.425||21|
|10.||Daniel Ricciardo||Infiniti Red Bull Racing Renault RB11||1:33.943||+ 1.695||20|
|Pos||Q2 Qualifiers||Team / Entry||Time||Gap*||Laps|
|11.||Sergio Pérez||Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM08B||1:34.268||+ 1.531||14|
|12.||Romain Grosjean||Lotus F1 Team Mercedes E23 Hybrid||1:34.430||+ 1.693||9|
|13.||Max Verstappen||Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault STR10||1:34.502||+ 1.765||14|
|14.||Pastor Maldonado||Lotus F1 Team Mercedes E23 Hybrid||1:34.511||+ 1.774||16|
|15.||Marcus Ericsson||Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C34||1:34.868||+ 2.131||13|
|Pos||Q1 Qualifiers||Team / Entry||Time||Gap**||Laps|
|16.||Felipe Nasr||Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C34||1:34.888||+ 1.258||7|
|17.||Fernando Alonso||McLaren Honda MP4-30||1:34.959||+ 1.533||8|
|18.||Jenson Button||McLaren Honda MP4-30||1:35.207||+ 1.781||9|
|19.||Will Stevens||Manor Marussia F1 Team Ferrari MR03B||1:37.364||+ 3.938||9|
|20.||Roberto Merhi||Manor Marussia F1 Team Ferrari MR03B||1:39.377||+ 5.951||8|
* Denotes gap to fastest Q2 time of 1:32.737 posted by Nico Rosberg
** Denotes gap to fastest Q1 time of 1:33.426 posted by Kimi Räikkönen
Image via Mercedes AMG F1 Petronas
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