At the time of qualifying for the British F1 Grand Prix, the weather was more than uncertain on the Silverstone circuit. After EL1s in the rain, EL2s in the sun and EL3s in the clouds, the British weather continued to act up.
The issue was obviously crucial for several teams, and in particular for the two leading teams, Red Bull and Ferrari. After a disappointing first day, the Austrian team had dominated EL3 thanks to Max Verstappen, while the Scuderia seemed to remain in the race.
But these two teams saw the threat of a Mercedes team returning in great form, Lewis Hamilton having finished in the top three in the two sessions contested in the dry so far. A fight with three teams could therefore be profiled.
Of course, this was entirely dependent on the rain which arrived just before the start of the session on the Silverstone track. As the radars had indicated earlier, the disturbance arrived at the start of the session.
Q1 – 18 mins
The rain arrived in force in the three minutes before the start of the qualifying session, and the drivers started on intermediate tyres, the Red Bull and Alpine F1 drivers were the only ones not to go out, certainly to see if the rain tires were needed.
Alex Albon took the best time in 1’49″9, quickly beaten by Charles Leclerc in 1’47″521. Carlos Sainz took second place, but still 2 seconds behind his teammate for this first attempt.
Albon improved to 1’46″991 but Max Verstappen replied in 1’45″743, before Leclerc regained the lead with a time of 1’43″028! The times were progressing very quickly, and Pierre Gasly took third place, beaten by Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and George Russell, who came in second and third.
Verstappen regained control in 1’42″814, Pérez placed third, and Leclerc improved again in 1’42″129! Sainz slotted into third place, and the Alfa Romeo F1 drivers progressed. Valtteri Bottas took sixth place, and Guanyu Zhou eighth.
Russell moved up to third place, immediately beaten by Lando Norris, who beat him by 4 thousandths of a second. Pérez then took the provisional second place.
Russell took the best time in 1’41.743, beaten by Verstappen in 1’40.452. Leclerc came between the two men, three tenths behind Verstappen.
Leclerc improved, Sainz also took third place, and Zhou moved up to fifth. Norris’ engineer announced on the radio that the rain might not return from the session, as the track improved.
Verstappen again bettered the best time of the session to 1’39.975, and Pérez moved back into fourth place. Esteban Ocon moved up to seventh, ahead of Norris and Fernando Alonso, while Yuki Tsunoda provisionally entered the top 10.
Sainz took second, beaten almost immediately by Hamilton, and Russell took fifth ahead of Pérez. Bottas took ninth place behind Zhou, while Ricciardo attacked the clock from 19th place. The Australian made the 13th provisional time, 1.5 behind his teammate.
Gasly moved up to eighth and Latifi to tenth, but everyone was improving. Leclerc took the best time in 1’39″846, beaten by Verstappen in 1’39″129. Ricciardo moved up again to 13th place.
Sebastian Vettel took 15th place, but Tsunoda beat him. Ocon found himself under threat of elimination, while Sainz took third place. Russell took third and Hamilton fifth. Albon improved but not enough, falling just behind Latifi.
The eliminated are Albon, Magnussen, Vettel, Schumacher and Stroll.
Q2 – 15 minutes
Albon was very unhappy with his elimination, blaming his team for asking him to do a cooling lap between his two times, which took away too much temperature in the tires.
Rain returned to Silverstone between Q1 and Q2, and Russell’s engineer told him that light rain was expected until the end of Q3.
Latifi set a time of 1’45″1, beaten by Zhou in 1’44″0. Tsunoda got in between, as did Bottas, with both riders having a time of 1’44.8. The rain was clearly back.
Alonso took the best time in 1’43″121, beaten by Pérez in 1’42″512. Behind, the McLarens, Ocon and Gasly could not pass Latifi’s initial time.
Verstappen took the best time in 1’41″486, and Hamilton reached provisional third place, just ahead of Russell. Pérez came in second, and Zhou then moved up to third!
Norris was second, and Leclerc set the best provisional time in 1’41″247. Verstappen improved a few seconds later to 1’40″655. Hamilton slipped into second place, and Russell also improved. Alonso placed sixth, and Sainz improved to fourth.
Gasly and Leclerc wondered about an acceleration of the rain, and indeed, the conditions were getting worse, to the point that the track was less good. Verstappen made a minor error at turn 13.
Latifi had just improved and entered the top 10, and the provisional eliminated were Gasly, Bottas, Tsunoda, Ricciardo and Ocon, who then had to hope that the rain subsided very quickly and very clearly. Unfortunately for them, that’s not what the radar showed.
And indeed, the track had regressed too much in terms of performance, which allowed Nicholas Latifi to reach the first Q3 of his career! The eliminated were Gasly, Bottas, Tsunoda, Ricciardo and Ocon.
Q3 – 12 minutes
The rain had calmed down at the start of Q3, and Sainz’s engineer warned him at the start of this third part of the session that a downpour was possible at the end of the session. Clearly, each driver’s time was going to be crucial for his qualifying place.
Sainz set a time of 1’51″022, and Leclerc beat him immediately in 1’50″297. The lap times were 10 seconds slower than in Q1, showing the difficult conditions.
Verstappen spun on his fast lap! The Red Bull driver set a 1’51″332, far from the Ferraris, and Zhou set the best time of the session in 1’49″454!
The Mercedes drivers failed to set a Ferrari-level time, with Alonso setting a time of 1m46.227s. Sainz beat him in 1m46.098s, and Leclerc took the best time in 1’44″844!
Zhou improved just behind Alonso, and Verstappen slipped into second place 0.043 behind Leclerc despite a small error. Alonso took third place two tenths behind Leclerc, and Pérez fourth.
Hamilton took fifth, while Latifi made a mistake. Verstappen set the best time in 1’42″996 for his first lap without error, 1″8 ahead of Leclerc!
Norris took second place, but soon lost it to Hamilton and Russell. The seven-time world champion was only two tenths behind Verstappen, and Russell nine tenths behind the Dutchman.
“We expect more rain, keep attacking” Verstappen’s engineer said on the radio. Zhou failed to improve his place, remaining ninth, and Hamilton moved up, only to fall 0.027 behind Verstappen!
Leclerc moved up to third, but was immediately beaten by Alonso, who came within 0″122 of Verstappen! Russell improved just before. Sainz then set the fastest time of the session in 1’42″181, beaten by Leclerc in 1’41″298!
Ferrari’s lap didn’t last long, with Verstappen clocking 1m41.055s to regain provisional pole position. Norris took third place, but many drivers were up.
Pérez set the third fastest time, one second behind his teammate. Alonso moved up to fifth, pushing Sainz back to sixth, but the Spaniard was improving.
And Sainz set a good time by going for a 1’40″983 which placed him on provisional pole! Hamilton took fourth place and Russell failed to do better than eighth!
Sainz therefore signs his first career pole position, ahead of Verstappen and Leclerc! Pérez will be fourth after improving, ahead of an all-British third row with Hamilton and Norris. Alonso and Russell will be in the fourth row, ahead of Zhou and Latifi.
|pos.||Pilot||Car||Q1 time||Q2 time||Q3 time|
|01||carlos sainz||Ferrari F1-75||1:40.150||1:41.602||1:40.983|
|02||Max Verstappen||Red Bull RBPT RB18||1:39.129||1:40.655||1:41.055|
|03||Charles Leclerc||Ferrari F1-75||1:39.846||1:41.247||1:41.298|
|04||Sergio Perez||Red Bull RBPT RB18||1:40.521||1:42.513||1:41.616|
|05||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes W13||1:40.428||1:41.062||1:41.995|
|06||Lando Norris||McLaren Mercedes MCL36||1:41.515||1:41.821||1:42.084|
|07||Fernando Alonso||Alpine Renault A522||1:41.598||1:42.209||1:42.116|
|08||george russell||Mercedes W13||1:40.028||1:41.725||1:42.161|
|09||Guanyu-Zhou||Alfa Romeo Ferrari C42||1:40.791||1:42.640||1:42.719|
|10||Nicholas Latifi||Williams Mercedes FW44||1:41.998||1:43.273||2:03.095|
|11||Pierre Gasly||AlphaTauri RBPT AT03||1:41.680||1:43.702|
|12||Valtteri Bottas||Alfa Romeo Ferrari C42||1:41.396||1:44.232|
|13||Yuki Tsunoda||AlphaTauri RBPT AT03||1:41.893||1:44.311|
|14||Daniel Ricciardo||McLaren Mercedes MCL36||1:41.933||1:44.355|
|15||Esteban Ocon||Alpine Renault A522||1:41.730||1:45.190|
|16||Alex Albon||Williams Mercedes FW44||1:42.078|
|17||Kevin Magnussen||Haas Ferrari VF-22||1:420159|
|18||Sebastian Vettel||Aston Martin Mercedes AMR22||1:42.666|
|19||Mick Schumacher||Haas Ferrari VF-22||1:42.708|
|20||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin Mercedes AMR22||1:43.430|