Unusually, an air temperature of over 25°C greeted the teams as they began qualifying for the 10th round of the 2018 FIA Formula One World Championship at Silverstone, Britain.
Qualifying session one piled on the misery for Williams at their home race. Not only did both drivers exit the session, perhaps as expected, but both drivers had significant off track moments due to aerodynamic imbalances following the disengagement of the drag reduction system. Both Lance Stroll and Sergey Sirotkin will be bitterly disappointed.
The biggest shock in the first qualifying session was Carlos Sainz who was unable to set a time quick enough to be inside the top 15. The Spanish driver will start tomorrow’s race from 16th position ahead of Stoffel Vandoorne, the two Williams drivers, and Brendon Hartley who didn’t take to the track following a big accident, and residual car damage, suffered in third practice.
Sauber have done a fantastic job so far this weekend with their car looking extremely well set-up for the high-speed corners seen on this circuit. Both drivers made it through to Q2 with Marcus Ericsson ultimately qualifying in 14th place. The Swede was eliminated in that second session along with Nico Hulkenberg, Sergio Perez, Fernando Alonso and Pierre Gasly. Five different teams being eliminated in second qualifying once again demonstrates how close and compact the midfield is in 2018 – not that proof were needed.
The final part of qualifying saw Lewis Hamilton looking to take pole position at his home race, but it was Sebastian Vettel who took the early advantage after the opening runs – and that’s despite suffering with neck pain this weekend. Valtteri Bottas was behind his team mate in 3rd, with Kimi Raikkonen 4th and the Red Bull drivers 5th & 6th.
When the final runs happened; Hamilton was able to improve and take pole position off Sebastian Vettel who’ll start alongside him in second. The gap between the two was just 0.044 seconds; mighty close. Raikkonen was 0.054 seconds further back in 3rd. Bottas, Verstappen and Ricciardo then fill grid spots 4, 5 and 6 to complete “division 1”. Meanwhile, it’s a “Ferrari” 7-8-9 with Kevin Magnussen 7th, Romain Grosjean 8th and Charles Leclerc 9th. Finally, Esteban Ocon rounds out the top ten for Force India.
What do you think will happen tomorrow? Can Lewis Hamilton go on to take his 6th British GP win, or are you predicting a surprise? Give us your call in the comments below.