Lewis Hamilton spun on his way to yet another pole, as Renault and Ferrari saw improvements.
Hamilton had to really dig deep on this windy qualifying in the English countryside in order to take the initiative into Sunday’s race.
A mistimed spin by the champion in Q2, on what was meant to be his only run in the session, ramped up the pressure on the Brit as he was behind his closest rival in Valtteri Bottas all weekend.
Red Bull will struggle to attack with only one car at the sharp end of the grid and with over a second deficit to the lead car of Hamilton. Alexander Albon has struggled all weekend, including a crash in FP2 yesterday afternoon, failing to get into the final session and languishing down in 12th.
Both Ferraris managed to get into Q3 this weekend but are still well off challenging for honours upfront. Renault also saw a jump in performance, with two cars in Q3 also, as they closed the gap to their customer team McLaren.
Racing Point will be left wondering what might have been as Nico Hulkenburg deputising for the COVID stricken Sergio Perez was unable to join Lance stroll in the shootout, having only found out he was racing 24 hours before practice started on Friday.
Q1: George Russell put in another amazing lap to go tenth after teammate dropped it on his last run, but went straight under investigation for not slowing under the resulting yellow flags
16. Kevin Magnussen, Haas
17. Antonio Giovinazzi, Alfa Romeo
18. Kimi Raikkonen, Alfa Romeo
19. Romain Grosjean, Haas
20. Nicholas Latifi, Williams
Q2: Less MC Hammer and more Dead or Alive as Hamilton swapped Hammertime for You Spin Me Round as he dropped it in the same place as Latifi the session before. The resulting gravel that was sprayed onto the track bringing out the red flag.
The champion was straight out on a new set of mediums as the light went green. Whether he was lacking confidence after his spin, or his set-up wasn’t in the sweet spot, he was still over 3 tenths off his teammate.
Albon and Hulkenburg really should have made it through to Q3 with the cars they have at their disposal. Hulkenburg has a reason, he’s 3 races down on the rest of the field with regards to how they handle, but Albon is just putting the pressure on himself, much like Pierre Gasly did last year in his seat, and he ended up demoted into the feeder team.
11. Pierre Gasly, Alpha Tauri
12. Alexander Albon, Red Bull
13. Nico Hulkenberg, Racing Point
14. Daniil Kvyat, Alpha Tauri, +five place grid penalty
15. George Russell, Williams
Q3: It was roles reversed as Hamilton pulled out two blisteringly fast laps to put his Q2 misadventure behind him, taking pole by over 3 tenths over Bottas, and over a second faster than 3rd placed man Max Verstappen.
The Mercedes man has now taken as many poles for Mercedes in 7 and a bit years, as the late Ayrton Senna took in his whole career.
The pain continues for Sebastian Vettel as his fastest lap was deleted for track limits putting him in 10th. The real kicker is that even if it wasn’t, he’d be 9th. His teammate showing him up by popping up in 4th.
Lance Stroll will be ruing a missed chance to really push onto the 2nd row, falling behind Lando Norris and Charles Leclerc, but a stewards inquiry for unsafe release by Ferrari may put paid to the young Monagasque’s efforts.