Mercedes AMG Petronas’ Lewis Hamilton managed to pull off the perfect lap of Silverstone on his last lap during the qualifying session. His teammate Nico Rosberg had one of his earlier lap times deleted for exceeding the track limits allowances at Silverstone. Hamilton dominated the qualifying to take his fifty-fifth pole position of his career. The lap time that secured him pole position was a 1:29.287 which was over three tenths quicker than Rosberg.
There was a lot of confusion about the track limits penalties as some corners were not being policed. Some drivers had lap times deleted for exceeding the track limits and gaining advantages around the Northamptonshire circuit. Hamilton was one of the drivers to be penalised during Q3 as he had his first fast lap deleted which left the British crowds confused as they saw Rosberg on top of the timing screens after the first flying laps. Hamilton soon returned to the top to take pole which delighted the fans who had turned out to support him.
Both Red Bull Racing drivers qualified to start on the second row of the grid with Max Verstappen’s lap time of 1:30.113 to beat teammate Daniel Ricciardo to third place behind the two Mercedes. This was the first time Verstapen had outpaced Ricciardo this season by over three tenths of a second.
The Scuderia Ferrari drivers would have locked out the third row of the grid but Sebastian Vettel had to serve a grid penalty for having another gearbox change, meaning he has to start from eleventh. Teammate Kimi Raikkonen had a troubled qualifying session which saw him spinning in Q2 and then narrowly making it into Q3 but he will start fifth for the British GP. Valtteri Bottas lifted Williams Martini Racing’s spirits as the teams struggled for performance in the company of their home crowd at Silverstone. Bottas finished in seventh but will line up alongside Kimi Raikkonen on the third row in sixth due to Vettel’s penalty.
Sahara Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg finished in eighth which became seventh. Carlos Sainz Jr qualified ninth which became eighth for the Scuderia Toro Rosso team with Fernando Alonso qualifying in eleventh but starts in tenth for the McLaren-Honda team. If Alonso had not had his even faster lap time removed he could have been starting the race in seventh or eight place.
One of the shocks from Q2 were the elimination of Sahara Force India’s Sergio Perez and Williams Martini Racing’s Felipe Massa. The two set lap times of 1:31.875 and 1:32.002 but unfortunately was not quick enough to make it through to Q3. Perez will move into being inside the top ten when Vettel has his grid penalty applied. Romain Grosjean was close to making it through to Q3 for the first time during this season but he was forced to settle for thirteenth for the Haas F1 team. His teammate Esteban Gutierrez finished in fourteenth. Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat and Renault’s Kevin Magnussen were the final two drivers to make it through to Q2 with Kvyat blaming Magnussen for blocking him and making him lose time on his final run when the two appeared to trip over one another at Vale on the last lap.
McLaren-Honda’s Jenson Button was unable to make it through to Q2 at his home GP after setting a lap time of 1:32.788. He failed to progress into Q3 after suffering with a rear wing issue that meant he was only able to do one run that was not fast enough to move through to the next qualifying stage. Fellow Brit Jolyon Palmer will start his home maiden home GP from eighteenth on the grid for Renault whilst both the Manor Racing drivers starting in nineteenth and twentieth ahead of Sauber driver Felipe Nasr. The second of the Sauber team cars did not participate in the qualifying session due to Ericsson being hospitalised after his earlier shunt in FP3. He will start the race providing he is cleared as fit to race.
©Fay Tilley 10th July 2016.