Lewis Hamilton has claimed a home pole position at the 2015 British Grand Prix over teammate Nico Rosberg.
The result is the Briton’s 46th career pole, the third most number of pole positions won by any driver in Formula One and behind only Michael Schumacher and Ayrton Senna.
Momentum looked to be with Rosberg during Friday, but Hamilton seized it back during Saturday morning practice and dominated from there, holding a slender buffer to his teammate throughout qualifying.
Hamilton took provisional pole from Rosberg after their first runs by a tenth of a second with a 1 minute 32.248 seconds, and neither driver was able to improve their laps over the second runs.
Mercedes executive director Toto Wolff blamed the lack of improvement on the blustery conditions at Silverstone, while Nico Rosberg pointed specifically to a problem with his front left tyre, which he said provided no grip on his final lap.
“The first lap was really good, there’s not much to say about that,” said Rosberg. “Lewis was just one tenth quicker — which is annoying but that just the way it is.
“On the last run something strange happened, and not many people improved.
Something was wrong with my left front, something was very wrong, and we’ll have to look at what that was.”
Hamilton, on the other hand, paid tribute to the British fans, attending Silverstone in record numbers this year, for their support.
“It’s a special day,” he said. “It’s special when you get pole position here on your home turf. So many people came today and on this weekend, and they really do motivate me this weekend.
“Generally it’s not been the smoothest of weekends, It’s been a bit up and down, so going into qualifying I made a change to the car that was perhaps not great for a qualifying lap but should be good for the race.”
Felipe Massa completed the top three by outqualifying teammate Valtteri Bottas and, most importantly, outqualifying both Ferraris.
“It was a fantastic day for us,” said the Brazilian. “It’s also a home grand prix for the team, so it’s great to see me and Valtteri in third and fourth.
“I’m really looking forward to tomorrow having strong race, especially the fight with Ferrari. Today was an important day for us to see we can be in front of Ferrari.
“I’m very happy with what we did today, now we just have to concentrate on tomorrow.”
Both Ferraris were disappointed to qualify in fifth and sixth after holding out hope that practice pace might translate into qualifying pace.
Kimi Räikkönen, at least, took some pleasure from beating teammate Sebastian Vettel in a straight qualifying fight for the first time this season.
Daniil Kvyat qualified seventh, but teammate Daniel Ricciardo was poised to pip him were his fastest time not deleted for driving outside the track lines at turn nine.
Ricciardo’s previous logged time was good enough only for tenth, behind Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz and Force India’s Nico Hülkenberg.
A number of drivers tripped over the FIA’s no tolerance rule for exceeding track limits at turn nine, as outlined earlier on Saturday, and were subsequently forced to log multiple timed laps.
Kimi Räikkönen suffered a nervous moment 10 minutes into the session when his quickest time was expunged from the timesheet, but the Ferrari driver made it through to Q3 in ninth, albeit a little over a tenth of a second outside the drop zone.
Sergio Perez missed out on a Q3 berth by a hundredth of a second after his final flying lap, but had this time erased for exceeding track limits. The Force India driver’s next best lap was still good enough for P11 on the grid, however, just ahead of the Lotus of Romain Grosjean in P12.
Max Verstappen spent most of his qualifying — as he did most of his Friday and Saturday practices — complaining about a lack of rear stability aboard his Toro Rosso, despite impressive pace earlier in the day.
“I don’t know why, it just feels so bad,” he complained to his pit wall. “Not one corner is the same, I had no grip.”
The Dutchman eventually finished thirteenth fastest despite teammate Carlos Sainz making it through to the top ten without issue.
Similarly to Kimi Räikkönen, Pastor Maldonado and Marcus Ericsson spent most of the session without a listed time, saving their second runs until the last moment after have their times erased for running wide. It wasn’t enough, however, and both were eliminated in fourteenth and fifteenth.
McLaren was forced to endure the embarrassment of having two cars eliminated in Q1 at its home race, with neither Fernando Alonso nor Jenson Button able to extract enough pace to make it into the top 15.
The team has limited its mileage this weekend after being forced to run old engines after the new specifications were damaged at the Austrian Grand Prix, and Alonso’s running was truncate further when he withdrew from Saturday morning practice early with a suspected ERS leak.
Alonso headed Button y three tenths of a second, himself a tenth behind the Sauber of Marcus Ericsson. Manor duo Will Stevens and Roberto Merhi will start from the back of the grid after qualifying more than two seconds behind the ailing McLarens, but themselves separated by one hundredth of a second — although Merhi’s fastest time was later deleted for exceeding track limits.
|7||Daniil Kvyat||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:33.520||1:33.520||1:33.636|
|8||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso-Renault||1:34.071||1:34.071||1:33.649|
|9||Nico Hülkenberg||Force India-Mercedes||1:33.693||1:33.693||1:33.673|
|10||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:33.749||1:33.749||1:33.943|
|11||Sergio Perez||Force India-Mercedes||1:34.250||1:34.268|
|13||Max Verstappen||Toro Rosso-Renault||1:34.819||1:34.502|