The psychological advantage of racing on home soil was laid bare by Lewis Hamilton, who scorched the opposition in qualifying at the British Formula 1 Grand Prix to claim pole position.
He claimed provisional pole position with his first flying lap in Q3 by breaking the lap record, and then went even quicker on his second run to ram home his advantage and claim the 91st pole position of his career. Teammate Valtteri Bottas was second-fastest, missing a few vital tenths around the Silverstone Circuit that Hamilton has simply made his own in recent years.
The gap behind the ‘Black Arrows’ was simply vast – with over a second to the rest of the field it looks set to be a two-horse race on Sunday afternoon while the rest of the field squabbles for scraps. With the technical regulations and car designs essentially frozen, the Brackley squad will be very hard to beat until 2022.
While Hamilton may have made it look easy, he proved that he is indeed human with a rare error in Q2 when he looped his Mercedes at the exit of Luffied. He managed to rejoin the circuit, but by littering the width of the track with gravel he triggered a brief red flag interruption. He put this setback behind him to claim his third pole position of the season.
‘Best of the rest’ honours went to Max Verstappen, who pulled out all stops and outdrove his understeering Red Bull Racing Honda to the third-quickest time ahead of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and McLaren’s Lando Norris who was an impressive fifth-fastest.
Friday pacesetter Lance Stroll could manage no better than sixth in his Racing Point Mercedes, while stand-in teammate Nico Hülkenberg acquitted himself well and managed thirteenth-fastest in his first outing since last year’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Rounding out the top ten were McLaren’s Carlos Sainz Jr., the Renaults of Daniel Ricciardo and Esteban Ocon, and the Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel.
|FORMULA 1 PIRELLI BRITISH GRAND PRIX 2020 – QUALIFYING|
|Q3 Qualifiers||Team / Entry||Time||Gap|
|1.||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes-AMG F1 Team W11||1:24.303|
|2.||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes-AMG F1 Team W11||1:24.616||+ 0.313|
|3.||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing RB16||1:25.325||+ 1.022|
|4.||Charles Leclerc||Scuderia Ferrari SF1000||1:25.427||+ 1.124|
|5.||Lando Norris||McLaren F1 Team MCL35||1:25.782||+ 1.479|
|6.||Lance Stroll||Racing Point F1 Team RP20||1:25.839||+ 1.536|
|7.||Carlos Sainz Jr.||McLaren F1 Team MCL35||1:25.965||+ 1.662|
|8.||Daniel Ricciardo||Renault F1 Team R.S.20||1:26.009||+ 1.706|
|9.||Esteban Ocon||Renault F1 Team R.S.20||1:26.209||+ 1.906|
|10.||Sebastian Vettel||Scuderia Ferrari SF1000||1:26.339||+ 2.036|
|Q2 Qualifiers||Team / Entry||Time||Gap*|
|11.||Pierre Gasly||Scuderia AlfaTauri AT01||1:26.501||+ 1.486|
|12.||Alexander Albon||Red Bull Racing RB16||1:26.545||+ 1.530|
|13.||Nico Hülkenberg||Racing Point F1 Team RP20||1:26.566||+ 1.551|
|14.||Daniil Kvyat||Scuderia AlfaTauri AT01||1:26.744||+ 1.729|
|15.||George Russell||Williams Racing FW43||1:27.092||+ 2.077|
|Q1 Qualifiers||Team / Entry||Time||Gap**|
|15.||Kevin Magnussen||Haas F1 Team VF-20||1:27.158||+ 1.357|
|19.||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo Racing C39||1:27.164||+ 1.363|
|16.||Kimi Räikkönen||Alfa Romeo Racing C39||1:27.366||+ 1.565|
|DNQ.||Romain Grosjean||Haas F1 Team VF-20||1:27.643||+ 1.842|
|18.||Nicholas Latifi||Williams Racing FW43||1:27.705||+ 1.904|
* Denotes gap to fastest Q2 lap time of 1:25.015 set by Valtteri Bottas
** Denotes gap to fastest Q1 lap time of 1:25.801 set by Valtteri Bottas
- Kvyat penalised five grid places for an unscheduled gearbox change.
- Russell penalised five grid places for failure to respect double yellow flags.
Image via Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team