Grand Prix of Britain – Qualifying

Not much in the way of news since Austria; the test session in Austria (the week after the GP) was mostly wet; Mark Smith (previously technical director with Caterham, Force India and Red Bull) will join Sauber mid-July; Manor have a new sponsor and new colour scheme. Good news for McLaren: ALO and BUT will be allowed to use an additional power unit without penalty this season following regulation changes agreed in Wednesday’s meeting of the Formula One Strategy Group. [FIA] There was also a decision not to reintroduce refuelling. Rumour that Ferrari may ditch RAI at the end of this season.

Free Practice:

  1. FP1: ROS (1:34.274), HAM, VES, RAI, SAI
    Susie Wolff finished P13 in BOT’s Williams, followed by Jolyon Palmer in GRO’s Lotus and Raffaele Marciello in ERI’s Sauber.
    ROS posts P1 then pulls off track just after Copse due to a loss of hydraulic pressure. HAM took P1 but, at the end of FP1, ROS was out to test the hydraulic fix and went P1 again.
  2. FP2: ROS (1:34.155), RAI, VET, HAM, KVY, RIC
    GRO caused the session to be suspended after he beached his Lotus in the gravel at Luffield. ALO off there too. BUT complaining of terrible stability – “the car’s bouncing all over the place”. MER follows in ALO and GRO’s footsteps, spinning off at Luffield; another brief red flag period.
  3. FP3: HAM (1:32.917), ROS, RAI, VET, VES, SAI, MAS, BOT
    ROS had a gearbox oil leak, which the Mercedes mechanics resolved; ALO’s hydraulic issue kept him in the pits. The wind at Turn 9 (Copse) was challenging with a series of cars going off there (13 cars in 14 minutes).

HAM is just 10 points ahead of his team-mate in the standings, with ROS 39 points ahead of VET. Mercedes are 136 points clear of Ferrari.

BBC point out today would have been the 55th birthday of Roland Ratzenberger, who died in practice at the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix, the day before Ayrton Senna’s death.
It’s also 61 years today since Juan Manuel Fangio claimed Mercedes’ first F1 win at the 1954 French GP.

Tyre choices: prime=hard (orange markings), option=medium (white).

Air temperature 22°C; track 36°C; wind 4.7km/h; humidity 57%; partly cloudy
It’s gusty in some of the corners; a tailwind in the pits means a crosswind in Copse.

McLaren mechanics still working on ALO’s car with 30 minutes before qualifying.

Qualifying session 1 (Q1)
Manor send out MER and STE first
HAM heads out of the pits to the cheers of the home crowd
MER 1:39.377
STE 1:38.618
HAM 1:34.009
BBC – “The differences between the two tyres this weekend has been just under a second. The top teams will try to get through this Q1 on the hard tyre. I think the cut off will be 1.34.7secs to get through to Q2.”
ROS 1:33.654
ALO on track, so the mechanics fixed his McLaren’s hydraulic problem
VET runs wide in Copse – too wide, so that lap won’t count
ROS 1:33.475
Radio from STE: “Can you not send the cars out so close together? It’s pretty stupid when we are so close together.”
5mins left of Q1; bottom 5 are NAS, STE, MER, VES and GRO* (*no time)
GRO now on track
Radio for ERI pointing out lots of drivers losing their lap times for exceeding track limits
Radio for MAL telling him his time has been deleted for running wide at Copse
GRO to P11 pushing BUT to P16
Radio from VES – no traction, absolutely nothing
Chequered flag; bottom 6 are MAL, BUT, NAS, STE, MER
MAL P13; ALO P16
ALO P14
RAI 1:33.436
KVY P8; ALO back in the drop zone
VET P3 but looked wide
Bottom 5 are NAS, ALO, BUT, STE, MER
So both McLarens fail to reach Q2
HAM fastest through the speed trap @ 326.4km/hr (~203mph)

Qualifying session 2 (Q2)
BOT and MAS first on track
BBC estimate cut off will be 1:33.8
Radio for ROS telling him these tyres will be his starting tyres, so they expect to be his one flying lap
BOT 1:33.273
HAM locks up into Turn 1 and aborts his flying lap
ROS 1:32.737
Radio for MAL – we went over the limits in Turn 9 again, we can’t do that
HAM P2
Radio from VES – I can’t do anything, no traction at all
3mins left of Q2; bottom 5 are GRO, VES, RAI*, ERI*, MAL*
RAI just had his time deleted, so no times from 3 cars yet
Chequered flag; bottom 5 are PER, GRO, VES, ERI*, MAL*
BOT P2
Middle of the grid: PER, GRO, VES, MAL, ERI
Radio from VES still complaining about the car – “feels so different to practice”

Qualifying session 3 (Q3)
The top 10 shootout is between ROS, BOT, HAM, KVY, VET, HUL, MAS, RIC, RAI & SAI
RIC 1:33.943
RAI 1:33.379
HUL P3
BOT 1:33.149
HAM 1:32.248
KVY P4
ROS P2
MAS P4
Order after 1 flying lap: HAM, ROS, BOT, MAS, RAI, VET, KVY, SAI, RIC, HUL
3mins left
BOT first on track
HUL P9
RIC P7 but he ran wide and that time will be deleted
HAM pits
MAS P3
ROS doesn’t improve
Front of the grid: HAM, ROS, MAS, BOT, RAI, VET, KVY, SAI, HUL, RIC
Radio from ROS – no grip on left front

Provisional grid: HAM, ROS, MAS, BOT, RAI, VET, KVY, SAI, HUL, RIC; PER, GRO, VES, MAL, ERI; NAS, ALO, BUT, STE, MER.

HAM on pole; his 3rd British GP pole; 46 poles in total, moving him one ahead of Sebastian Vettel and behind only Ayrton Senna (65) and Michael Schumacher (68).

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