British GP 2018
JULY 7, 2018
Qualifying Report - Home court advantage
By Dan Knutson in Silverstone
Lewis Hamilton will start his home Grand Prix of Britain with the advantage of being on pole position for the race. Throughout practice and qualifying it has been a tight battle between Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel, and the latter ended up second on the grid.
"I gave it everything I could," Hamilton said after winning his fourth consecutive home pole and a record sixth pole at Silverstone.
The line-up for the weekend was: Mercedes - Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas; Ferrari - Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen; Red Bull TAG Heuer - Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen; Force India Mercedes - Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon; Williams Mercedes -Lance Stroll and Sergey Sirotkin; Renault - Nico Hulkenberg and Carlos Sainz; Toro Rosso Honda - Brendon Hartley and Pierre Gasly; Haas Ferrari - Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen; McLaren Renault - Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne; Sauber Ferrari - Marcus Ericsson and Charles Leclerc.
Hamilton had been quickest in FP3, recording a 1:26.722 on Pirelli's soft compound tires. The other compounds available were the medium and the hard.
Hartley would not take part in qualifying after crashing in FP3 because of suspension failure. He was okay but the car certainly was not. Toro Rosso changed the front suspension on Gasly's car and he did drive in the session.
"He (Hartley) just completely lost the suspension under braking," Gasly told Sky TV. "I spoke to him. He seems a bit shocked after that because it's not what you expect under braking to lose one wheel like this but he was okay."
The ambient temperature at the start of qualifying was 79 degrees Fahrenheit (26 degrees Centigrade) and the track temperature was 126 degrees Fahrenheit (52 degrees Centigrade).
The 18-minute session had barely begun when it was red flagged after Stroll spun into the gravel trap at Brooklands, the same corner where Hartley crashed.
After the restart, Sirotkin spun off at Turn 15 but managed to limp back to the pits.
Raikkonen was out front with a time of 1:27.647 with eight minutes remaining. Then his teammate Vettel beat that with a time of 1:26.585.
With five minutes remaining, the order was Vettel, Hamilton, Bottas, Verstappen and Raikkonen. Sainz was 15th and on the bubble of the group moving on to Q2.
Then Sainz got pushed down to 16th and now Gasly was 15th with just over a minute to go.
The five drivers who were eliminated at the end of Q1 were: Sainz, Vandoorne, Sirotkin, Stroll and Hartley.
The fastest 15 drivers who moved on to Q2 were: Vettel, Hamilton, Bottas, Verstappen, Raikkonen, Leclerc, Ricciardo, Hulkenberg, Grosjean, Magnussen, Alonso, Perez, Ericsson, Ocon and Gasly.
Bottas set the mark with a lap of 1:26.413. But Vettel topped that with his 1:26.372.
Hamilton made a mistake on his first flying lap and had to go for a second attempt, which netted him the lead with a 1:26.256. They were all using the soft tires.
So the order was Hamilton, Vettel, Bottas, Raikkonen, Verstappen and Ricciardo with eight minutes remaining.
Ocon was tenth and on the bubble, with Leclerc ninth and Hulkenberg 11th with five minutes to go.
All 15 drivers were in the pits with three minutes left in the session. But then most of them started filing out back on the track.
The five drivers who were eliminated at the end of Q2 were: Hulkenberg, Perez, Alonso, Gasly and Ericsson. It was the first time this season that a Renault had not made it up to Q1.
The fastest 10 drivers who moved on to Q3 were: Hamilton, Vettel, Bottas, Raikkonen, Verstappen, Ricciardo, Grosjean, Magnussen, Leclerc and Ocon.
Hamilton got to work in Q3 with a time of 1:25.993, but Vettel pipped that with his 1:25.936. Both on the soft tires.
Bottas and Raikkonen were third and fourth after the first runs ahead of Verstappen, Ricciardo and Ocon.
While everyone else were in the garages, Grosjean and Magnussen made their first attempts.
With just over two minutes remaining in Q3 all 10 drivers were on the track.
Hamilton turned a 1:25.892. Bottas grabbed third place. Vettel ended up 0.096 of a second slower than Hamilton. And Raikkonen displaced Bottas.
And so the top 10 qualifiers were: Hamilton, Vettel, Raikkonen, Bottas, Verstappen, Ricciardo, Magnussen, Grosjean, Leclerc and Ocon.