FORMULA 1 MOTORSPORT NEWS

Lewis Hamilton takes pole for British F1 GP with Kimi Raikkonen second

Lewis Hamilton claimed pole position for the British Grand Prix, putting in an almost untouchable performance in his Mercedes that his championship rival, Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, could not match. Vettel caught traffic on his final hot run and was beaten into second place by his team-mate Kimi Raikkonen. The stewards, however, announced they are investigating Hamilton for potentially blocking Romain Grosjean in the Haas during his first quick run in Q3 and the Mercedes driver may yet face a grid penalty.As things stand, this is his sixth pole of the season and the 67th of his career, one short of Michael Schumacher’s total of 68, the most any driver has achieved. Hamilton now has five poles at Silverstone, matching Jim Clark’s tally, including at the last two races here, both of which he converted into victories following one from sixth place in 2014.

Lewis Hamilton

Hamilton has won at Silverstone four times in all and, should he triumph on Sunday, he would join Clark and Alain Prost with the most victories at the British Grand Prix. He would also equal Clark’s achievement of winning four British GPs in a row.

“The support from the fans really means a lot to me,” said Hamilton. “That energy inspires me to do laps like that. The track feels incredible and the engineers worked really hard to get the setup where we needed it. I grew up in these wet and chilly conditions so I felt at home. The final lap felt fantastic, I didn’t expect to have a gap like that but that was the target.”

Mercedes continue to show they have the edge over Ferrari over a single lap, the team have secured the top spot in eight of the 10 meetings thus far this season. Bottas finished in fourth but will take a five-place grid penalty for changing his gearbox, which had taken damage in the same way that affected Hamilton’s before the last round in Austria and resulted in the British driver taking the same penalty. The team opted to use a similar tyre strategy to that of Hamilton’s in Austria, having the Finn qualify on the harder soft rubber in Q2 – with which he will now start the race, able to go longer in the first stint. He will start from ninth on the grid.

Hamilton had led the first hot runs in Q3 and was two-tenths in front of Vettel but wanted more, concerned he was losing time through the first corner, and he absolutely nailed his second run, with a time of 1min 26.600sec, over a second clear of Raikkonen and Vettel.

The second session opened with the track just dry enough to take the slick rubber, if remaining a little greasy; conditions that were testing as the drivers looked for grip. Hamilton came out on top, running the supersoft tyre, and he looked menacingly good, a full second clear of Vettel in third.

In damp, drizzling conditions, the cars had gone out on the intermediate wet tyres for Q1. The first session was red-flagged when Daniel Ricciardo’s Red Bull came to a halt with a turbo failure. He will also take a five-place grid penalty due to a gearbox change and start from 19th on the grid.

Max Verstappen in the other Red Bull was in fifth and will start from fourth, followed by the Renault of Nico Hülkenberg, the two Force Indias of Sergio Pérez and Esteban Ocon, with Stoffel Vandoorne in ninth and Grosjean’s Haas in 10th.

McLaren’s Fernando Alonso took a very welcome huge cheer when he topped Q1, with McLaren putting him out for his final lap on dry tyres, but while their timing was perfect it was ultimately to no avail for their chances in the race. He finished in 13th place but will take a 30-place grid penalty and start yet again from the back of the grid, after Honda had already opted to change his engine and multiple power unit components. The engine manufacturer chose to take the hit at Silverstone so they would not have to at the next round in Hungary, a track where they would hope to be more competitive. His team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne did exceptionally well to finally out-qualify the Spaniard for the first time this season and put his McLaren into Q3.

Renault’s Jolyon Palmer went out in 11th in Q2, followed by the Toro Rosso of Daniil Kvyat and his team-mate Carlos Sainz Jr.

It has been a difficult weekend for Williams on their 40th anniversary, with Felipe Massa eliminated in Q2 in 15th and his team-mate Lance Stroll out in Q1 in 16th. The Canadian was followed by the Haas of Kevin Magnussen and the Saubers of Pascal Wehrlein and Marcus Ericsson finished in 18th and 19th.