Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton took pole position on Saturday in qualifying for his home British Grand Prix, with a sensational lap to match the record held by Jim Clark.
Pole number five @SilverstoneUK!
— Mercedes-AMG F1 (@MercedesAMGF1) July 15, 2017
Hamilton was in fine form throughout an initially wet qualifying at Silverstone and with conditions drying out for Q2 and Q3, posted a storming 1 minute 26.600 second lap in the top-ten shootout to leave him a massive 0.547 seconds up on Ferraris Kimi Raikkonen.
It was Hamilton’s 67th career pole position – leaving him one behind Michael Schumacher on the all-time list – and his fifth pole at the British GP to equal the record held by Clark, and while it was initially provisional, after the stewards announced they would investigate whether or not Hamilton had impeded Grosjean mid-way through Q3, they later ruled that no further action was warranted.
“I don’t know if I got in the way, and if I did I apologise. I think I got away without blocking him, but I will take a look,” Hamilton told reporters later in the post-qualifying press conference.
Speaking on the grid, directly after going quickest in qualifying, Hamilton added: “I feel amazing, especially with a great crowd like this all around the track. Thank you guys for all the support – I hope you liked the lap?”
“You always try to save the best until last. I know how much support I get here and I needed to make sure I got that lap in. I didn’t do it in the last race. So I really made sure I saved it this weekend. Thank you guys so much. I hope you are happy with it,” continued Hamilton, who needs the victory on Sunday to try and make inroads into Sebastian Vettel’s 20 point lead in the Drivers’ Championship.
“I generally like it to be dry, but I quite like the conditions when they are tricky [like it was, especially in Q1]. These typical English conditions are what we grew up racing in. I felt very comfortable in it and the team did a fantastic job and then when it dried up, particularly when it is just cool, the tyres are working perfectly and that high-speed section was incredible.
“This is definitely the best position to start from [tomorrow] and the long runs were looking great [on Friday]. I need to make sure I do it for these guys.”
Pole at the #BritishGP by more than half a second
Biggest margin so far in 2017
— Formula 1 (@F1) July 15, 2017
Meanwhile, Vettel had to settle for third, 0.756secs off Hamilton and 0.209secs off Raikkonen – only the third time this season the German has been beaten by his Ferrari team-mate.
“The car really came alive today. I think yesterday we weren’t really happy but this morning was really good. It was a shame about the last run in Q3. I think there was a bit more. But in the end we got the best result we could,” Vettel said.
“It felt okay,” Raikkonen chipped in. “I think in the morning it felt a little bit more tricky. Obviously conditions were not easy, it was changing a lot – but the car behaved as good as I think it could. It was the best it has been this weekend, but obviously still not quite fast enough for the first place.”
Further back, Austrian Grand Prix winner Valtteri Bottas was fourth in his Mercedes, but will now drop to ninth after picking up a five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change.
Max Verstappen took fifth for Red Bull Racing – more than seventh tenths off Bottas, but a similar amount up on Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg in sixth.
Force India duo Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon were then seventh and eighth, split by 0.172secs, with McLaren Honda’s Stoffel Vandoorne ninth and Grosjean tenth for Haas.
Jolyon Palmer ended Q2 in P11 in his Renault, just 0.088secs adrift of a place in the top-ten shootout.
Toro Rosso duo Daniil Kvyat and Carlos Sainz were 12th and 14th respectively, sandwiching McLaren-Honda’s Fernando Alonso in P13 – although the Spaniard has a 30-place grid penalty, while Williams’ Felipe Massa was slowest in that second session.
In a wet Q1, the other Williams of Lance Stroll was bumped down to 16th right at the end, when Alonso, using slicks on a now drying track, went quickest. Stroll was 0.531secs off the cut-off.
Haas F1 driver Kevin Magnussen could do no better than 17th, with the Sauber’s of Pascal Wehrlein and Marcus Ericsson 18th and 19th.
Daniel Ricciardo finished at the bottom of the times in his Red Bull after stopping out on track at Woodcote in Q1 due to a suspected turbo problem and briefly bringing out the red flags. He was though already set to pick up a five-place grid penalty, like Bottas, for a gearbox change.
Full qualifying times available – HERE.
Picture credit: Mercedes