Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton set blistering pace at Silverstone to take the seventh British Grand Prix pole position of his career with a new track record time of 1:24.303. Valtteri Bottas will line up alongside his Mercedes team-mate on the front row, while Max Verstappen qualified in third place for Red Bull Racing, a full second behind Hamilton.
Botta held sway early in the sesson, with the Finn taking control of Q1, two hundredths of a second clear of Verstappen, with Hamilton third and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc in fourth place. Friday afternoon’s fastest man, Lance Stroll of Racing Point, slotted into fifth place ahead of Red Bull’s Alex Albon who set an opening time of 1:26.565 as he attempted to recover from missing out on the second half of FP2 following a crash and most of FP3 as a electrical issue with his RB16 left him stranded in the team’s garage.
After making a mistake on his first run, Hamilton improved on his next and he rose above Verstappen with a lap of 1:25.900. That wasn’t enough to dislodge Bottas, though, as the Finn had also improved to 1:25.801.
With three minutes left in the session the men in danger in the drop zone were Haas’ Kevin Magnussen in P16 followed by the Alfa Romeo cars of Kimi Räikkönen and Antonio Giovinazzi, the Williams of Nicholas Latifi and the second Haas of Romain Grosjean.
Giovinazzi was able to leapfrog Räikkönen to take P17 and Latifi dropped to the foot of the order when he spun off at Luffield, but none of the bottom five was able to escape elimination.
It was a different story further up, as behind the pace-setting Mercedes drivers, Verstappen and Stroll, Nico Hulkenberg put in a good lap in the second Racing Point to climb to P5 ahead of AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly and Renault’s Esteban Ocon. Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel made a late jump up the order, too, claiming P8 ahead of team-mate Charles Leclerc. That meant that Albon progressed to Q2 in P10, ahead of Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren’s Carlos Sainz, Williams’ George Russell, the second AlphaTauri of Daniil Kvyat and the second McLaren of Lando Norris.
At the start of Q2 Mercedes, Red Bull, Racing Point all sent their drivers out on medium tyres, with Leclerc also opting for the yellow-banded compound. Bottas led the way in the opening runs by beating his 2019 pole time with a new track marker of 1:25.015.
Hamilton, though, made a mistake on his first flying lap and spun at Luffield. The incident resulted in gravel being spread across the track and the red flags were soon displayed so that the surface could be cleared.
Under the red flags Bottas headed the order in front of Verstappen and Leclerc. Ocon was fourth ahead of Sainz, Norris and Vettel. Strolll was eighth and Alex ninth ahead of Hulkenberg. In the drop zone were Russell, Hamilton, Ricciardo, Gasly and Kvyat, with the latter three being unable to set a time due to Hamilton’s spin.
Hamilton was the first out on track for the final runs and he claimed P2 with a medium-tyre time of 1:25.347, pushing him safely through to Q3. Albon, though, was in trouble. On track on softs for his final run of the session, he couldn’t find the time required and his lap of 1:26.545 was only good enough for 12thplace and he was eliminated along with P11 driver Gasly, 13th-placed Hulkenberg, Kvyat and Russell.
Both Mercedes drivers backed out of their final lap on softs, as did third-placed Verstappen and they, along with Leclerc and Stroll, will start the race on medium tyres. Sainz made it through to Q3 in fourth place ahead of Leclerc, Ocon and Ricciardo. Norris went through in eighth ahead of Vettel and Leclerc.
In Q3, Hamilton set blistering pace to take control of qualifying for the first time and the Briton powered past his team-mate’s earlier track record to claim P1 with a lap of 1:24.616. Verstappen slotted into third place behind Bottas with a time of 1:25.763 and that left him two tenths of a second clear of Stroll in fourth. Leclerc’s first run netted him fifth place ahead of team-mate Vettel, Norris, Sainz and the Renaults of Ocon and Ricciardo.
Bottas managed to exactly match his team-mate’s opening time in the final runs but there was simply not stopping Hamilton as he found even more time to claim his seventh Silverstone pole position with a time of 1:24.303. Verstappen took P3 behind Bottas thanks to an improvement of four tenths of a second to 1:25.325, while Leclerc was left with fourth place ahead of Norris, with Stroll in sixth. Leclerc was set to be investigated after the session for a possible unsafe release in front of the Canadian Racing Point driver. Sainz qualified in P7, with Ricciardo and Ocon in eighth and ninth respectively. The final top 10 place was taken by Sebastian Vettel.
2020 FIA Formula 1 British Grand Prix – Qualifying
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:24.303 6 251.564
2 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:24.616 0.313 6 250.633
3 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Honda 1:25.325 1.022 6 248.550
4 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:25.427 1.124 6 248.254
5 Lando Norris McLaren/Renault 1:25.782 1.479 6 247.226
6 Lance Stroll Racing Point/Mercedes 1:25.839 1.536 6 247.062
7 Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren/Renault 1:25.965 1.662 6 246.700
8 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1:26.009 1.706 6 246.574
9 Esteban Ocon Renault 1:26.209 1.906 6 246.002
10 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:26.339 2.036 6 245.631
11 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri/Honda 1:26.501 1.486 4 245.171
12 Alexander Albon Red Bull/Honda 1:26.545 1.530 6 245.047
13 Nico Hülkenberg Racing Point/Mercedes 1:26.566 1.551 6 244.987
14 Daniil Kvyat AlphaTauri/Honda 1:26.744 1.729 4 244.484
15 George Russell Williams/Mercedes 1:27.092 2.077 6 243.508
16 Kevin Magnussen Haas/Ferrari 1:27.158 1.357 9 243.323
17 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 1:27.164 1.363 9 243.306
18 Kimi Räikkönen Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 1:27.366 1.565 9 242.744
19 Romain Grosjean Haas/Ferrari 1:27.643 1.842 9 241.977
20 Nicholas Latifi Williams/Mercedes 1:27.705 1.904 7 241.806