Lewis Hamilton is in pole position to achieve history in the British Grand Prix. The last driver to win the race three years in a row was Jim Clark in the 1960s, a win for Hamilton on Sunday will replicate that feat.
Clark actually won four in a row in that decade but equalling that record is probably my article for next year (always good to think ahead), The defending world champion grabbed pole position in qualifying and another win on his home track looks a big possibility tomorrow. That’d really close the gap on Rosberg at the top, who knows it might even see him take over as championship leader.
Qualifying looked as if it was going to result in pole for Nico Rosberg but a brilliant final lap saw Hamilton squeeze past him. With just five minutes to go Hamilton was down in 10th after his ‘fastest’ lap had been wiped out after it was decided he’d exceeded the track limits at Copse Corner. In the end he clinched pole finishing 0.319 seconds ahead of his Mercedes team mate.
Speaking after qualifying, a delighted Hamilton said, “”It was not the cleanest qualifying session. We had really good pace in Q1, ran wide in Q3 then had good pace on the penultimate lap, but I touched the kerb and it pulled me further, the car bottomed and just bounced outside. I was sitting in the garage and knew I couldn’t let the guys down and I’m grateful I got the final lap in.”
Rising star Max Verstappen is celebrating again. He’ll start in third as his Red Bull finished ahead of team mate Daniel Ricciardo for the first time in qualifying. He knows just how hard a task it’ll be to get his second Grand Prix victory of the season declaring “It seemed like the Mercedes had a turbo button.”
The Ferrari of Kimi Raikonnen was fifth and his team mate Sebastian Vettel was sixth. However, he’ll start in 11th after another five-place grid penalty. For the second weekend in a row a gearbox change saw him plummet down the grid. Trying to work out what the problem they keep having is a major task for Ferrari.
It was a mixed qualifying session for McLaren but it often is isn’t it. Fernando Alonso finished 10th but Jenson Button was eliminated in Q1. Button just hasn’t been on the pace the past couple of days and he was half a second slower than Alonso after his rear wing came loose at Turn Eight. He didn’t come out for a second run and will be a disappointing 17th on the grid.
It looks like being another battle between Hamilton and Rosberg on Sunday. Will they be on a collision path again or can Hamilton just blast his way to another Grand Prix win? It’s going to be another fascinating race. I’ll be back next weekend with another blog, between now and then, enjoy your racing.
by Steve Ashfield