British Grand Prix qualifying started with a light rain just five minutes prior to the start of the session. The rain didn’t add any comfort to Valtteri Bottas, Daniel Ricciardo or Fernando Alonso who all entered the weekend with grid penalties due to gearbox or engine component changes.
The session started with some teams trying Supersoft tires to determine if the track was capable of delivering grip but the drivers radioed that intermediates were the choice as there was just too much water on the track. The Pirelli rain tires are new for 2017 and the teams have no data on them with no running time so it was all new for drivers and teams.
If you were wondering why all the bad luck was happening to Max Verstappen, you may have just got your answer as the Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo brought out a red flag with 10 minutes left in the session with a turbo failure.
The session started drying out and the laps began getting quicker and quicker. Always a tough situation as anyone could be competitive on any lap so the teams were running the entire session as each lap was faster and faster. With two minutes left, Fernando Alonso dove into the pits to fit dry tires for an attempt. The pit stop didn’t show any signs of panic or respect for time. Regardless, Alonso crossed the line just as time ran out for his final attempt. The Spaniard promptly went to the top of the session on his dry tires.
The session started out with a drying track and all cars on dry-weather tires with a combination of soft and supersoft compounds as the session determines which tires they will start the race on. The drying track meant that each subsequent lap was faster than the previous one and Mercedes eventually rose to the top of the time sheets with only six minutes left in the session.
In the closing laps, most of the drivers were all setting their personal best lap times and the grid was being shuffled with each lap. Both Toro Rosso’s were out as well as Felipe Massa’s Williams, Jolyon Palmer’s Renault and Fernando Alonso who was out qualified by teammate Stoffel Vandoorne for the first time.
First runs in Q3 were led by Mercedes with Vettel just two tenths off Hamilton’s provisional pole pace. The surprise of qualifying started to expose itself and not through just a drying track in the form of Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg who was in Q3 and running in 6th after the first runs and ahead of both Force India cars.
With three minutes left the teams all entered the track for their final runs. The other development was that Lewis Hamilton started his final run while under investigation for possibly impeding the Haas of Romain Grosjean’s first attempt. Stewards made no further action leaving Romain perplexed and suggesting that Lewis was let off due to the title fight and British Grand Prix.
Hamilton took the top spot with a 1:26.600 with Raikkonen and Vettel behind him and he moved within one pole position behind Michael Schumacher’s record. Lewis was purple in each sector and completely in the zone for his home grand prix.
|4||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||1m28.130s||1.530s|
|6||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m28.902s||2.302s|
|7||Esteban Ocon||Force India/Mercedes||1m29.074s||2.474s|
|12||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m30.355s||–|
|13||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m31.368s||–|
|19||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m42.966s||–|