Lewis Hamilton took his fifth British Grand Prix pole position and the 67th pole of his career with a blistering final flying lap in qualifying to beat Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen by more than half a second. The Finn’s team-mate Sebastian Vettel was third.
Q1 began in greasy conditions and with drizzle falling. The weather and the expectation that it might worsen led to a flurry of activity as soon as the pit lane lights went green.
Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo set the first time on inters, a lap of 1:42.966 with Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg taking P2 ahead of the second Red Bull of Max Verstappen.
Ricciardo’s time as the pacesetter was limited, however. Seven minutes into the session he slowed dramatically and was forced to pull over at the edge of the track at Luffield, reporting to his team that his car was suffering a turbo issue.
With Ricciardo’s RB13 stranded just off track the red flags were displayed and all cars returned to the pit lane while the Australian stricken Red Bull was removed.
When the session resumed Hamilton was quickly into his stride and he took P1 with a time of 1:41.296. That was bettered by Vettel, however, with the German stealing top spot by 0.240s. The track was improving rapidly, however, and with two minutes to go Verstappen jumped to P1 with a time of 1:38.912.
The major drama in the closing stages was provided by Fernando Alonso. The McLaren driver pitted late in the session and opted to try a run on slicks. It was marginal as to whether the Spaniard would make it across the line to begin his flying lap before the chequered flag was waved. He made it by the tiniest margin, however, and then on a rapidly drying track the McLaren driver vaulted from P20 to P1 with a time of 1:37.598 set on supersoft tyres.
There was no such reprieve for others, however, and eliminated after the first segment were Williams’ Lance Stroll in P16, followed by Haas’ Kevin Magnussen, the Saubers of Pascal Wehrlein and Marcus Ericsson, and in P20 the unfortunate Ricciardo.
With conditions improving by the minute the early part of Q2 saw times improve rapidly. Verstappen was quickly in P1 but his time of 1:33.917 but over the next few minutes chunks of time were found as the track dried and as the session entered its final minutes Hamilton held sway with a time of 1:29.097 with team0-mate Bottas almost half a second back in P2 and Vettel third.
In the closing moments Hamilton powered away from the pack, setting an untouchable time of 1:27.893, 1.1s ahead of team-mate Bottas. Vettel was third ahead of team-mate Raikkonen, while Hulkenberg took fifth in front of Verstappen.
There was no last-gasp escape from the drop zone in Q2 for Alonso though. While team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne scraped through to Q3 in P10, edging Renault’s Jolyon Palmer by eight hundredths of a second, Alonso was eliminated in P13 behind Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat. Carlos Sainz qualified in P15, while Williams Felipe Massa finished in P15.
Hamilton made an early claim for pole position in Q1 with a first run time of 1:27.231. That put him 0.199s ahead of Vettel, with Bottas in third ahead of Raikkonen and Verstappen.
The Briton was in irresistible form, however, and in the final runs he put in a blistering lap of 1:26.600 to claim his fifth Silverstone position 0.547s ahead of Raikkonen. There was the possibility of an upset, however, as Hamilton was put under investigation for an incident involving Haas’ Romain Grosjean early in Q3.
Vettel’s final flyer was a slightly scrappy affair and the German had to settle for P3, two tenths behind his team-mate. Bottas qualified fourth ahead of Verstappen, with Hulkenberg sixth. Sergio Perez took seventh place ahead of Force India team-mate Esteban Ocon, McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne and Grosjean.
2017 British Grand Prix – Qualifying
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes Mercedes 1:26.600
2 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari Ferrari 1:27.147 0.547
3 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari Ferrari 1:27.356 0.756
4 Max Verstappen Red Bull TAG 1:28.130 1.530
5 Nico Hulkenberg Renault Renault 1:28.856 2.256
6 Sergio Perez Force India Mercedes 1:28.902 2.302
7 Esteban Ocon Force India Mercedes 1:29.074 2.474
8 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren Honda 1:29.418 2.818
9 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes Mercedes 1:27.376 0.776
10 Romain Grosjean Haas Ferrari 1:29.549 2.949
11 Jolyon Palmer Renault Renault 1:30.193 3.593
12 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso Renault 1:30.355 3.755
13 Carlos Sainz Jr. Toro Rosso Renault 1:31.368 4.768
14 Felipe Massa Williams Mercedes 1:31.482 4.882
15 Lance Stroll Williams Mercedes 1:42.573 15.973
16 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari 1:42.577 15.977
17 Pascal Wehrlein Sauber Ferrari 1:42.593 15.993
18 Marcus Ericsson Sauber Ferrari 1:42.633 16.033
19 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull TAG 1:42.966 16.366