British Grand Prix – Qualifying


It’s not even two weeks since the Hungarian Grand Prix, but there’s been lots of talk about the pre-race anti-racism protests and HAM sharing a video linked to unfounded conspiracy theories about a coronavirus vaccination … so it’s really good to get back to some racing again!

Unfortunately PER has tested positive for coronavirus so he’ll be in quarantine instead of participating in this race weekend and possibly next weekend’s 70th Anniversary Grand Prix, also at Silverstone. Racing Point share reserve drivers Stoffel Vandoorne and Esteban Gutierrez with Mercedes, but they’ve brought in Nico Hulkenberg instead. HUL drove for Force India (Racing Point’s previous name) from 2014 to 2016. [BBC]

Free Practice:
FP1: VER (1:27.422), HAM, STR, ALB, LEC, BOT, OCO, RIC, HUL, KVY (VET was the only driver not to set a time)
“Alfa Romeo Formula 1 driver Antonio Giovinazzi has been given a warning by the FIA stewards at the British GP after dropping debris when driving back to the pits after a spin in FP1, bringing out a red flag.” “A warning is a step above a reprimand and fine on the list of penalties. He is the first F1 driver to receive the sanction in 2020.” [motorsport.com]
VET apparently had an intercooler problem

FP2: STR (1:27.274), ALB, BOT, LEC, HAM, SAI, HUL, GAS, RIC, RAI (VER P14, VET P18)
Many drivers struggled for grip as the wind picked up – it’s also the hottest day of the year (35°C) so that’s not helping either
ALB lost the tail, caught it, then got a tank-slapper on, slid backwards across the gravel trap, and into the tyre wall; red flags suspended the session [video]
VER lost his temper when GRO interrupted VER’s flow on a fast lap
GAS similarly was blocked by VET
VET complained of a problem around his pedals; he pitted and took a look himself; the mechanics discovered they were loose

KVY will have a 5 grid spot penalty as a result of AlphaTauri changing his gearbox

“Renault break curfew replacing Ricciardo’s damaged chassis” [racefans.net]

The team said in a statement it had discovered a fracture on Ricciardo’s car following practice at the circuit on Friday.

The FIA confirmed “team personnel of the Renault DP World F1 Team team, who are associated with the operation of the car, were within the confines of the circuit during the eight hour period which commenced at 0:00 on August 1st, eleven hours before the scheduled start time of P3 and ends three hours before the scheduled start time of P3 at 8:00am on August 1st.” This is the first time this year Renault have broken the curfew, and may only do so once more before the end of the season without incurring a penalty.

FP3: BOT (1:25.873), HAM, VER, STR, SAI, LEC, NOR, RIC, HUL, GAS (ALB P13, VET P14)
It’s about 15°C cooler than yesterday; there’s talk of maybe some rain later in the day – FIA official risk of rain for this session is 60%
After being rebuilt yesterday, ALB’s Red Bull is already back up on the stands, getting a lot of attention from the mechanics – team report it’s an electrical issue
RAI gets annoyed at teammate GIO and aborts a quick lap

Qualifying starts shortly…
Air temperature 22°C; track 39°C; light wind; 60% chance of rain during Quali.

Qualifying session 1 (Q1)
Green lights to start the session
ALB’s Red Bull is still being worked on!
RAI 1:27.941
MAG 1:27.814
KVY 1:26.819 – reminder: he will have a 5 grid spot penalty for a gearbox change
Everyone is on soft tyres so far
GAS 1:26.657
NOR runs wide, off track and ruins that lap
LEC 1:26.550
HAM 1:26.431
BOT 1:26.092
(ALB P5) but at least he’s running now
(VER P2)
BOT 1:25.801
GRO exceeded track limits at Turn 9 – lap time deleted
5mins left of Q1; bottom 5 are MAG, RAI, GIO, LAT, GRO
McLaren teammates SAI and NOR set identical times; P9 & P10
2mins left and most cars heading out for a final flying lap
LAT off, backwards across the grass but keeps away from the barriers; yellow flags as he recovers
GRO P19
Chequered flag
GAS P4
HUL P4
GIO P17
STR P4, just ahead of his temporary teammate
Back of the grid: MAG, GIO, RAI, GRO, LAT

Race control: RUS under investigation for not slowing under yellow flags on that last lap

Qualifying session 2
Looks like a lot of mediums tyres for the first run in Q2 … except VET and OCO on softs … and a few others
ALB 1:26.580
VER 1:26.144
HAM loses the tail, spins over the gravel
BOT 1:25.015 – that’s quicker than his Q1 time on softs
Red flag because HAM brought a lot of gravel onto the racing line – Q2 paused while the marshals clean up
8:51 left of Q2
Will HAM use mediums again? He’s currently P12
Green lights to resume Q2
HAM leaves the pits on mediums
Looks like HAM will have the circuit to himself as everyone else seem to be waiting for a final flying lap
HAM goes P2 but he’s 0.332sec slower than BOT
5mins left of Q2; bottom 5 are HUL, RUS, RIC, GAS, KVY
3mins left and now the garages are emptying
VET is on mediums, having already set a time on softs (he’s P8)
BOT and HAM go out on softs, just in case
GAS P13
HUL P10, relegates ALB
Chequered flag
RIC P7, pushes GAS to P11
Middle of the grid: GAS, ALB, HUL, KVY*, RUS
*KVY will start P19 because he had a gearbox change
GAS was unlucky – he set exactly the same time as STR, but STR did it first

Qualifying session 3
Top 10 shootout is between BOT, HAM, VER, SAI, LEC, OCO, RIC, NOR, VET and STR
(They will all start the race on their Q2 medium tyres)
STR had to stop suddenly in the pit lane, and RIC had to swerve to avoid him – unsafe release by Ferrari
NOR 1:26.456
SAI P2
HAM 1:24.616
RIC P4
Race control: Pit lane incident involving LEC and STR will be investigated after the session
STR P2
BOT P2 (0.150sec slower than HAM)
LEC P4
OCO P7
VET P5
VER P3
Order after the first run: HAM, BOT, VER, STR, LEC, VET, NOR, SAI, OCO, RIC
McLaren (NOR, SAI) and Renault (OCO, RIC) were on used soft tyres
3mins left; everyone heading out for their final flying laps – VER is the last to leave the pit lane
Chequered flag
RIC P5
OCO P7
SAI P5
NOR P4
LEC P3
VET P5
HAM 1:24.303
BOT P2
VER P3
Front of the grid: HAM, BOT, VER, LEC, NOR, STR, SAI, RIC, OCO, VET

That’s HAM’s 91st pole position – HAM moves ahead of Ayrton Senna with the most home Grand Prix pole positions (HAM now has 7)

Interviews:
HAM: At the end of the day Valtteri is pushing me right to the limit. It was a real struggle out there, the wind in different parts of the circuit. I had the spin, took some deep breaths and managed to compose myself for Q3. It never gets old, that’s for sure!
BOT: I felt pretty comfortable, but in Q3 I started to drift a bit with the rear end, more than I’d have liked.
VER: They were just way too fast. We just have to accept that, do the best we can which is P3 for us.

Provisional grid: HAM, BOT, VER, LEC, NOR, STR, SAI, RIC, OCO, VET, GAS, ALB, HUL, KVY*, RUS, MAG, GIO, RAI, GRO, LAT
*KVY will start P19 because he had a gearbox change

Ongoing investigations:
RUS under investigation for not slowing under yellow flags on the last lap of Q1
Q3 pit lane incident involving LEC, STR and RIC