Valtteri Bottas led home a Mercedes 1-2 in qualifying for the British Grand Prix by 0.006s, while Leclerc couldn’t beat the Mercedes despite dominating the early stages of qualifying.
The Finn’s pole time was a 1.25.093, which gave him a 0.006s advantage over Lewis Hamilton, whilst the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc was 0.079s adrift of the pole position time in third place, with his team-mate Sebastian Vettel having a disastrous qualifying, finishing only sixth behind both Red Bull’s and his team-mate.
Story of the session
As the session got underway, the Sauber’s and the McLaren of Norris were the first to take to circuit. Raikkonen was the first man to set a lap, which was a 1.27.501, but was quickly beaten by Sainz, Grosjean, Magnussen, Norris, Albon, Stroll and Kvyat. After the first round of laps by the mid field drivers, Sainz was the fastest man with a 1.26.689s, heading Grosjean by 0.064s.
As the Ferrari’s headed to the circuit, Leclerc immediately smashed the lap record with a 1.25.628s, but Vettel was over half a second adrift on his first run, but Hamilton went even faster with a 1.25.513s, beating the Ferrari by 0.115s, whilst Bottas was thrid and some two tenths off the front-running pace. Leclerc, who was on the slower yellow marked tyre, set a time just 0.020s adrift of Hamilton’s lap, which boded well for the pole battle to come in Q3.
As Q1 came to an end, Magnussen, Kvyat, Stroll, Russell and Kubica all faced elimination, as the clouds around Silverstone got ever darker, with the ambient temperature down to just 19 degree C.
With a threat of rain looming, both Mercedes were sent out on mediums just as the second part of qualifying got underway. Hamilton set a 1.25.840s, which put him 0.048s clear of his Formula 1 team-mate, but that was well behind the Ferrari’s times set in Q1 on the same compounds.
As Leclerc, who had been the man to watch until now, pipped Hamilton to top spot with a 1.25.646s. Meanwhile, Vettel who headed on softs could only go P8 in the Ferrari, but many suspected he faced problems during his first run.
With Mercedes lacking, Bottas went for a second run, however was still 0.026s adrift of Leclerc’s pace-setting time set during his first attempt.
As Q2 came to an end, Giovinazzi, Raikkonen, Sainz, Gorsjean and Perez all faced elimination, whilst Leclerc sneaked in a new lap record for a 1.25.546 on his final flyer, and looked good for pole in Q3.
Bottas took provisional pole position with a 1.25.093, edging out Hamilton by 0.252s after Hamilton made an error, meanwhile after dominating the Ferrari’s were only fourth and sixth.
During the second runs, Hamilton wasn’t able to overtake his team-mate to top spot, whilst Leclerc closed the gap in third, and was just 0.079s adrift of the pole time.