Lewis Hamilton will start his home grand prix from the front of the grid after he took his eighth pole position in nine races, beating Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg by just over a tenth of a second. The second row will be an all-Williams affair, with Felipe Massa edging Valtteri Bottas by just over six hundredths of a second.
Hamilton was one of the first out in Q1 and the Briton set the early benchmark at 1:34.009. Team-mate Rosberg soon passed that, with his first lap coming in at 1:33.644. They were followed by Williams’ Valtteri Bottas, four tenths off Hamilton, and Felipe Massa.
All of the top teams’ times were being set on the prime hard tyres but both Sauber and McLaren opted to send their drivers out on mediums and the Swiss team’s Marcus Ericsson and Fernando Alonso of the British outfit were soon into the top 10. That signalled the start of a shift to the option tyre. Pastor Maldonado, down in P13, opted for the mediums but like many others in the session, including Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg, Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, Force India’s Sergio Perez, Toro Rosso’s Max Verstappen and Red Bull Racing’s Daniill Kvyat, the Venezuelan had his time deleted for exceeding the track limits at Copse.
When the final runs began the men in the danger zone were Alonso, McLaren team-mate Jenson Button, Sauber’s Felipe Nasr and the Manors of Will Stevens and Roberto Merhi.
Nasr improved but not enough to edge Maldonado out of the final Q2 spot, with the Sauber driver missing out on the next segment by 11 hundredths of a second. Alonso finished in P17 ahead of Button and the Manors of Will Stevens and Roberto Merhi.
At the top of the order, Raikkonen took P1 with a time of 1:33.426, five hundredths of a second clear of Rosberg and Vettel. Hamilton was fourth ahead of Bottas. Both Ferrari drivers had set their times on the medium tyre, however. Only the Mercedes drivers, fifth-placed Bottas and the Red Bulls of Kvyat and Ricciardo, who were seventh and eighth respectively behind Perez, made it through to the second segment on the hard tyres.
Behind them came Felipe Massa, with Hulkenberg tenth ahead of Carlos Sainz, Ericsson, Romain Grosjean, Verstappen and Maldonado.
The second session saw all runners bolt on the medium tyre and with four minutes left on the clock those in danger were Grosjean in P11 followed by Verstappen, who complained of “no traction” from his car, Raikkonen, Vettel, Ericsson and Maldonado. Both Ferrari drivers though were just setting off on their first timed laps of the segment.
While Vettel quickly jumped to fourth, Raikkonen’s first flyer though was deleted as he exceeded the limits at Copse and he wound up for another quick lap before the time ran out. Despite a poor first sector he eventually climbed to eighth, which, by the time the final laps had been tallied, saw him scrape through in ninth place, just over a tenth ahead of final Q3 qualifier Sainz.
The Toro Rosso man edged 11th-placed Perez by almost two tenths of a second and the Force India man was eliminated along with P12 qualifier Grosjean, with the unhappy Verstappen in 13th ahead of Maldonado and Ericsson.
At the top, Rosberg was quickest in the second segment, his lap of 1:32.737 beating second-placed Bottas by almost three tenths. Hamilton was third ahead of the impressive looking Kvyat with Vettel fifth. Hulkenberg took P6 in front of Massa and Ricciardo.
Raikkonen was the first across the line as the opening runs of Q3 were completed, but his time of 1:33.149 was quickly eclipsed by Hamilton who powered across the line in a time of 1:32.248.
Rosberg was close behind but the German couldn’t outstrip his team-mate and slotted into P2 a tenth adrift of his team-mate. Third and fourth places went to the Williams cars of Bottas and Massa respectively, while Raikkonen was fifth ahead of Ferrari team-mate Vettel. Kvyat was seventh ahead of Sainz, Ricciardo and Hulkenberg.
In the end, the provisional front row order remained the same with neither Hamilton nor Rosberg improving. Behind them Massa put in an excellent final flyer to steal ahead of Bottas, while Raikkonen outqualified team-mate Vettel for just the second time this season to make row three an all-Ferrari line-up. Kvyat was a well-deserved seventh for Red Bull Racing. The Russian improved on his final lap to post a time of 1:33.636, which put him three tenths of a second clear of team-mate Ricciardo who finished in 10th place, behind the Sainz in P8 and ninth-placed Hulkenberg.
2015 British Grand Prix – Qualifying 1 L Hamilton Mercedes 1:33.796 1:33.068 1:32.248 14 2 N Rosberg Mercedes 1:33.475 1:32.737 1:32.361 14 3 F Massa Williams 1:34.542 1:33.707 1:33.085 21 4 V Bottas Williams 1:34.171 1:33.020 1:33.149 19 5 K Räikkönen Ferrari 1:33.426 1:33.911 1:33.379 19 6 S Vettel Ferrari 1:33.562 1:33.641 1:33.547 18 7 D Kvyat Red Bull Racing 1:34.422 1:33.520 1:33.636 22 8 C Sainz Toro Rosso 1:34.641 1:34.071 1:33.649 19 9 N Hülkenberg Force India 1:34.594 1:33.693 1:33.673 21 10 D Ricciardo Red Bull Racing 1:34.272 1:33.749 1:33.943 20 11 S Pérez Force India 1:34.250 1:34.268 14 12 R Grosjean Lotus 1:34.646 1:34.430 9 13 M Verstappen Toro Rosso 1:34.819 1:34.502 14 14 P Maldonado Lotus 1:34.877 1:34.511 16 15 M Ericsson Sauber 1:34.643 1:34.868 13 16 F Nasr Sauber 1:34.888 7 17 F Alonso McLaren 1:34.959 8 18 J Button McLaren 1:35.207 9 19 W Stevens Manor 1:37.364 9 20 R Merhi Manor 1:39.377 8