Hamilton takes record sixth pole at Silverstone

British Grand Prix Pole for Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W09, 2nd for Sebastian Vettel (GER) Ferrari SF71H and 3rd for Kimi Raikkonen
© XPB 

Lewis Hamilton succeeded in taking his fourth consecutive pole position at Silverstone for the 2018 British Grand Prix. It makes it a record six poles for the driver at his home circuit, and his 50th in total for Mercedes.

His final round lap of 1:25.892s was a new track record, and was 0.044s faster than Sebastian Vettel who will join him on the front row of the grid for Sunday's race.

Vettel's Ferrari team mate Kimi Raikkonen just beat Valtteri Bottas to third place, while Red Bull pair Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo had to settle with locking out the third row of the grid.

The session saw an early red flag in Q1 for Lance Stroll going off at Brooklands, and his team mate Sergey Sirotkin also spun at Stowe a few minutes later in another nightmare qualifying session for the beleaguered Williams team.

2018 British Grand Prix - Qualifying

1Lewis HamiltonMercedes1:26.818s1:26.256s1:25.892s
2Sebastian VettelFerrari1:26.585s1:26.372s1:25.936s
3Kimi RäikkönenFerrari1:27.549s1:26.483s1:25.990s
4Valtteri BottasMercedes1:27.025s1:26.413s1:26.217s
5Max VerstappenRed Bull1:27.309s1:27.013s1:26.602s
6Daniel RicciardoRed Bull1:27.979s1:27.369s1:27.099s
7Kevin MagnussenHaas1:28.143s1:27.730s1:27.244s
8Romain GrosjeanHaas1:28.086s1:27.522s1:27.455s
9Charles LeclercSauber1:27.962s1:27.790s1:27.879s
10Esteban OconForce India1:28.279s1:27.843s1:28.194s
11Nico HülkenbergRenault1:28.017s1:27.901s
12Sergio PérezForce India1:28.210s1:27.928s
13Fernando AlonsoMcLaren1:28.187s1:28.139s
14Pierre GaslyToro Rosso1:28.399s1:28.343s
15Marcus EricssonSauber1:28.249s1:28.391s
16Carlos SainzRenault1:28.456s
17Stoffel VandoorneMcLaren1:29.096s
18Sergey SirotkinWilliams1:29.252s
19Lance StrollWilliams
20Brendon HartleyToro Rosso

A baking hot Silverstone without any prospect of rain during qualifying meant that the heat was well and truly on the drivers as they headed out on track. Brendon Hartley was not among them after his suspension failure in FP3 but his Toro Rosso team mate Pierre Gasly had been cleared to take part in the session after precautionary changes to his STR13.

Q1: Vettel fastest amid more gloom for Williams

Gasly was among the first to head out at the start of the 18-minute Q1. He and the two Haas drivers Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen had just set their first times of the afternoon when Lance Stroll went off into the gravel at Brooklands, triggering an immediate red flag while the beached Williams was recovered.

When the session resumed, Kimi Raikkonen went to the top of the timesheets with a lap of 1:27.647s on mediums, just as the second Williams of Sergey Sirotkin flew off the track at Stowe. Fortunately in this case the driver was able to crawl through the gravel and get back to the pit lane without causing another stoppage.

Raikkonen now held a near half-second advantage over Sauber's Charles Leclerc and Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo. His team mate Sebastian Vettel then went to the top with a time of 1:26.585s, shrugging off concerns about a 'nuisance' neck injury for which he'd received treatment following FP3.

The Mercedes drivers were among the last to come out to play, Lewis Hamilton slotting into second ahead of Valtteri Bottas with Max Verstappen making his bow in fourth despite losing gear sync to push Raikkonen down to fifth. McLaren's Fernando Alonso also confidently booked his place in the second round by going eighth fastest just behind Leclerc.

His team mate Stoffel Vandoorne was not to lucky, running over the kerbs and damaging the bodywork of his MCL33 on his flying lap. It left him in the drop zone along with the two Williams cars, with Renault's Carlos Sainz also at risk of going out of qualifying. The Spaniard was able to improve his time and briefly climbed out of danger, only to be pushed back again and duly eliminated by a late run from his own team mate Nico Hulkenberg. It's the first time he's missed the first round cut since Bahrain 2017.

Q2: Track record times for Hamilton, Vettel and Bottas

Soft tyres were the order of the day as the cars headed out for the second round. Hamilton aborted his first tun after running slightly wide in turn 4, while Bottas opened his account with a 1:26.413s. Already a new track record, it lasted just a few seconds before Vettel shaved off another four hundredths to take the top spot.

Hamilton's next run was mistake-free and a tenth faster than Vettel. Raikkonen, Verstappen and Ricciardo were also safely into the top six ahead of Grosjean, Magnussen, Force India's Esteban Ocon, and Hulkenberg in tenth. Leclerc then completed his first run in ninth place, pushing the Renault driver into the drop zone and leaving Ocon on the bubble.

Ferrari and Red Bull felt confident enough to sit out the remainder of Q2, but as a precaution the two Mercedes cars joined the rest of the field making a second run. Only Gasly managed to improve his time, but he still ended up on the wrong side of the cut line in 14th meaning that he joined Hulkenberg, Perez, Alonso and Ericsson on the sidelines for the final top ten pole shoot-out.

Q3: Final lap shoot-out for pole between Hamilton and Vettel

Hamilton was straight out when the track opened for business at the start of Q3. His first run clocked in at 1:25.993s, the fastest time of the weekend so far and almost three tenths faster than Bottas. Even so, it wasn't quick enough to stop Vettel from claiming provisional pole by a narrow 0.057s.

Raikkonen's first run put him in fourth, while the Red Bulls were well off the pace of the top four. Reporting problems with his DRS activation, Ricciardo was over a second off Vettel's time and down in sixth place ahead of Ocon, while the two Haas cars and Leclerc were yet to show their hand.

All ten drivers were out on track as the end of the session approached. Hamilton led the charge and improved his time to nip ahead of Vettel for pole; Vettel's own run failed to find any improvement and he had to settle for second place. Raikkonen meanwhile just managed to get ahead of his compatriot to go third place, pushing Bottas to fourth.

The third row will be an all-Red Bull affair with Verstappen pipping Ricciardo, while the row behind was locked out by the Haas pairing. Leclerc succeeded in taking ninth place ahead of Ocon.

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