As is often the case with Lewis Hamilton he came up with the goods just when it really mattered. He’ll be on pole for the British Grand Prix as he bids to regain the championship lead and win this race for a record sixth time.
Lewis Hamilton was the fastest in final practice as track temperatures rose to 44C. He was only 0.093 seconds faster than the Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen with Valtteri Bottas in third, but his Mercedes was 0.642 seconds behind his team-mate. Sebastian Vettel, who was fastest in second practice yesterday was only fourth this time and 1.129 seconds behind Hamilton. He had to end his session early to get treatment for a crick in his neck.
Fifth and sixth went to the Red Bull’s of Verstappen and Ricciardo respectively but just 0.006 seconds between them. Ferrari-bound Charles Leclerc had another impressive session in his Sauber finished seventh with the eighth and ninth spots being filled by the Haas drivers Magnussen and Grosjean. The other Sauber of Marcus Ericsson completed the top ten.
The big incident in the session came when Brendon Hartley crashed his Toro Rosso at Brooklands. That caused major suspension failure to his car and a race to get it ready for qualifying that ultimately proved unsuccessful. It didn’t just affect him though as Toro Rosso wouldn’t let Pierre Gasly on the track as they tried to work out what caused Hartley’s crash.
Also having problems was Esteban Ocon in his Force India as he went off at Abbey Corner and only finished 11th fastest.
He left it late, but Lewis Hamilton took pole position for the British Grand Prix. After their first runs in the top ten shoot-out, Hamilton was 0.057 seconds behind championship leader Sebastian Vettel but then came his last lap. He pulled out a great one and took pole from Vettel by 0.044 seconds.
Vettel only just held onto his second place with Kimi Raikkonen finished third fastest, 0.054 seconds behind his team-mate and it’s clear Ferrari will pose a major threat on Sunday. It seems the upgraded floor they have introduced for this race is helping them. Bottas will be fourth on the grid and followed by the two Red Bulls of Verstappen and Ricciardo respectively. Seventh went to Kevin Magnussen with his Haas team-mate Romain Grosjean finishing a place behind him and not doing anything to destroy his car. Charles Leclerc will start ninth on the grid with Esteban Ocon in tenth place
Fernando Alonso was 13th fastest in his McLaren with Stoffel Vandoorne down in 17th 0.9 seconds behind his team-mate. Losing part of his floor when being a bit too aggressive at a kerb didn’t exactly help him.
Williams had another qualifying session to forget. Sergey Sirotkin will start in 18th with Lance Stroll 19th. The aerodynamic weaknesses of their car are really being exposed this weekend. Stroll ended up in the gravel and Sirotkin also spun off the track.
“I gave it everything I could,” said Hamilton after qualifying. “It was so close. The Ferraris pulled something out and I was just praying I could do it for you guys.” Hamilton added that it was maybe at Turn 13 where he made up the time on Vettel and take pole.
Vettel said his neck didn’t cause any real problems but seemed confident about tomorrow’s race: “I was down a bit on the straights. It was so close. Happy with second, it gives us chances in the race.”
It all looks set for Hamilton to make history tomorrow but after what happened last week, no one is counting their chickens. Ferrari have been showing good pace in practice, so we could be in for a thriller on Sunday. I’ll be back with another blog next weekend, til then enjoy your racing.