It’s a busy sporting Sunday with major events in both cricket and tennis (not forgetting the Netball World Cup). But for racing fans there’s only one event on Sunday and that’s the British Grand Prix. Lewis Hamilton is chasing a record sixth win in the race, but would he be starting on pole?
Final Practice Session
The weather was mixed for the final practice session with some light rain early on. That led to teams using intermediate tyres for the first session. The final practice session was a promising one for Ferrari with a 1-2 in the final qualifying session. Charles Leclerc finished 0.026 seconds ahead of team-mate Sebastian Vettel. It wasn’t the easiest of tasks for Leclerc as a previous flying lap had seen him run into traffic.
Lewis Hamilton was third fastest and only 0.049 seconds behind Leclerc. He set his fastest time right at the end of the session but claimed “the car’s not got a lot more to give.”
It was another impressive session for Pierre Gasly in his Red Bull. After finishing fastest in yesterday’s first practice session, this time he was fourth 0.213 seconds off the pace. He was a place and 0.322 seconds ahead of his team-mate Max Verstappen.
The other Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas was back in sixth place but only 0.019 seconds behind Verstappen. Lando Norris was the best of the rest finishing in seventh ahead of the two Renaults. Nico Hulkenberg was eighth fastest, 0.020 seconds ahead of Daniel Ricciardo. The top ten was completed by the Toro Rosso of Alexander Albon.
Despite the earlier success of Ferrari, it was Mercedes who took a 1-2 in qualifying. It wasn’t to be a fifth straight pole in this race for Lewis Hamilton though. Valtteri Bottas will be starting on pole but he only finished 0.006 seconds ahead of his team-mate.
It could have been another pole for the championship leader after he made a mistake on his first lap in the final session sliding when his Mercedes lost rear grip in Brooklands corner. Ferrari took third spot with Charles Leclerc only 0.079 seconds adrift. He had been in fine form earlier in qualifying but couldn’t repeat that in the final session.
Red Bull took the next two places with Max Verstappen ahead of Pierre Gasly. Sebastian Vettel could only manage to get the sixth fastest time. Vettel’s time was 0.615 seconds behind Leclerc. It’s the third straight race in which Vettel has finished behind his team-mate in qualifying.
Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo took seventh spot with Lando Norris in his McLaren a further place behind. He’s the only McLaren driver in the top ten after Carlos Sainz was eliminated in Q2. He’ll start the race in 13th place. Alexander Albon finished ninth with the other Renault of Nico Hulkenberg taking tenth.
Speaking after qualifying, Valtteri Bottas said it had “been really close all weekend with Lewis.” He was disappointed at not getting a faster time on his second run in final qualifying. Hamilton admitted that he didn’t put in a good enough performance. “I had that mistake on the first lap and the second one wasn’t that great.”
Charles Leclerc felt that third was the best Ferrari could manage after Mercedes turned their engine “a little bit” for Q3 and as a result were “very, very quick.” He added that Ferrari need to improve around the corners if they want to win tomorrow.
The gap between the top three teams isn’t a great one so we could be set for a good race on Sunday. Ferrari will be starting on different tyres (soft rather than medium), so it’ll be interesting to see what happens in the first part of the race. I’ll be back later in the month with more blogs, till then enjoy your racing on Sunday.