The Mercedes-AMG F1 has qualified around the iconic Silverstone circuit for the 2020 British Grand Prix. Lewis Hamilton dominated the pack on Sunday with a record-setting bar to claim pole position for the race ahead of teammate Valteri Bottas, who would start in the front row with him in the second line. Max Verstappen at Red Bull was far enough ahead of Charles Lechler in Ferrari to claim third place on the grid. However, if you haven’t followed the British Grand Prix weekend, you should know that Sergio Perez has tested positive for COVID-19 and has been forced to sit out for the weekend. No one else to replace him temporarily at Racing Point is former Renault and Force India driver Nico Hulkenberg who was called at the last minute and arrived at the padcock for a few hours before starting on Friday.
In Qualifying 1, Valtteri Bottas set the pace at Mercedes in the first season. However, it was worth noting that Hürkenberg, who was the fifth fastest ahead of both Ferraris showing German, has got it since leaving the game after last season. However, the slowest five drivers of the season were Kevin Magusen, Antonio Giovinazzi, Kimi Raikkonen, Romain Grosjean and Nicolas Latifi, who were eliminated and did not run on Q2. However, George Russell who made it through Q2 is under scrutiny for not slowing down under the yellow flag after Williams teammate Latifi off the track on his final hot lap.
Q2 is where tire strategies started as the factor that drivers making it through Q1 would have to start the race on the same set. Nearly all drivers decided to use medium compound tires for their first run, which is expected to be the optimal tire for the race, but Ferrari differed its strategy and sent Vettel to red marked softs. On his first run, Bottas set a new track record, setting the fastest time. Meanwhile his teammate Hamilton lost the back end on his hot lap when Lufield went out and destroyed Mercedes on his lap. Hamilton’s spin threw a significant amount of gravel onto the track, for which the session was flagged for 8:50 seconds.
When the season resumed, Hamilton head-out for the first time and secured himself in the top-10 with a new set of medium tires, but was second fastest and unable to match record-breaking times by Bottas.
On their second run, drivers at risk of termination tried to use softer tires. But Pierre Gasli was terminated after setting the exact same time as the lance stroke. Stroke was classified as the 10th fastest as he had previously set the time, ending for Galley’s day for Alpha Tory. Alex Albon also missed in Q3 for Red Bull, while Nico Hulkenberg failed to capitalize on his pace from Q1 and would start the race for a racing point from 13th. Daniel Kiwat was the 14th fastest N in the second Alpha Tauri, but would take a five-place grid penalty for an unplanned gearbox change, leaving him to start behind Romain Grosgen in the 19th. This means that George Russell at Williams will start on GERD on Sunday the 14th.
In the final session, all 10 drivers scheduled their first hop lap and soft compounds at this time. Hamilton broke Bottas’ track record time with 1: 24.616 claiming the provisional pole, which Botas could not beat in his first run. But the provisional top-10 had Mercedes in the front row, with Verstappen and Stro in the second row. In the fifth and sixth order, Ferrari often has two McLaren and two Renault leads.
On his final run, Hamilton went even faster with a 1: 24.303 to set another record-breaking lap. But his Mercedes-teammate, Bottas, was unable to match after a poor middle field, but managed to remain the second fastest so that Mercedes could claim the front line of the grid. Verstappen was a full second at the pace of Hamilton and would start the race with a third from Charles Lecler’s leading Ferrari in the fourth. McLaren’s Lando Norris intercepted Lance Stroke of Racing Point for fifth place on the grid with a walk on the set to start the sixth. Carlos Sainz, Daniel Ricciardo, Estebon Ocon qualified for seventh, eighth and ninth respectively, but Sebastian Vettel would start for Ferrari from 10th.