Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas beat team-mate Lewis Hamilton to pole position for Formula 1’s 70th Anniversary Grand Prix while Racing Point’s super-sub Nico Hulkenberg claimed third.
Front-running Formula 1 teams flitted between the Soft and Medium tyres due to their similar levels of performance at Silverstone, with Pirelli having gone one step softer compared to last weekend’s event.
Mercedes put both drivers on Softs for the first runs before switching to Mediums for the closing stages of Q3.
Hamilton held provisional pole position and while he improved on his second effort Bottas found comparatively more time to leap his team-mate, setting a 1:25.154, to finish 0.063s ahead.
Hulkenberg stars for Racing Point
Hulkenberg remained in the Racing Point RP20 after Sergio Perez delivered another positive Covid-19 test result.
He almost failed to make it through to Q2 after a wide moment through Chapel on his first push lap, but on his final effort he went second overall, splitting the Mercedes drivers.
Hulkenberg maintained that form in the top 10 shootout as he classified third, albeit 0.928s down on Bottas, to ensure he beat usual best-of-the-rest leader Max Verstappen.
Red Bull adopted a Medium/Soft strategy in Q3 with Verstappen as he wound up fourth, while Daniel Ricciardo ran Mediums throughout to finish fifth.
Lance Stroll was unable to match his stand-in team-mate as he finished sixth while Pierre Gasly took a fine seventh for AlphaTauri, maintaining his strong early 2020 form.
Charles Leclerc was the quickest Ferrari driver in eighth position as the team’s struggles continued, with Red Bull’s Alexander Albon and McLaren’s Lando Norris rounding out the top 10.
Such was the similarity between the Soft and the Medium tyres that nine of the top 10 starters will use the yellow-banded tyre for the first stint of the race, aside from Verstappen, who will use Hards.
Ocon hit with penalty, Vettel out early
Sebastian Vettel’s wretched 2020 campaign continued as he failed to make it through to Q3 for the second time this season.
Vettel has lacked pace throughout both Silverstone events and even on Soft tyres in the closing stages could muster only 12th.
“I gave it all I had, that was everything in this car. I tried. Thank you,” was Vettel’s succinct message as he returned to the garage.
Esteban Ocon finished one position ahead but was hit with a grid penalty after he baulked Williams’ George Russell in Q1.
It means he will drop from 11th on the grid to 14th.
Russell made it through to the second session for the fourth straight event and finished 15th, behind McLaren’s Carlos Sainz Jr. and Haas’ Romain Grosjean.
Alfa Romeo slowest once again
Alfa Romeo was fastest when Formula 1’s World Championship began at the same venue back in May 1950.
But on the weekend when the championship celebrates 70 years its C39 has been the slowest car over one lap.
That situation was replicated in qualifying as Antonio Giovinazzi and Kimi Raikkonen finished at the foot of the timesheets.
It was the fourth time out of five that Giovinazzi finished ahead of the 2007 World Champion, who was slowest of all for the second time in three rounds.
The Alfa Romeo duo were joined in the Q1 knockout zone by AlphaTauri’s Daniil Kvyat, who reported that a part of the AT01’s floor broke – shortly after he ran heavily over the Becketts kerb, as well as Haas’ Kevin Magnussen and Williams rookie Nicholas Latifi.
Sunday’s 52-lap 70th Anniversary Grand Prix is scheduled for 14:10 local time.
|3||N. Hulkenberg||Racing Point||1:26.082||0.928|
|4||M. Verstappen||Red Bull||1:26.176||1.022|
|6||L. Stroll||Racing Point||1:26.428||1.274|
|9||A. Albon||Red Bull||1:26.669||1.515|
|19||A. Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo||1:28.433||3.279|
|20||K. Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo||1:28.493||3.339|