We couldn’t really go to England without it raining, could we? Intermittent showers played a big part during the F1 running today at Silverstone, with qualifying being one of the most interesting of the season as a result.
It did little to change the final result though. Once again, it was advantage Mercedes as Nico Rosberg secured his fourth pole position of the season. The German driver bided his time in Q3 and made the most of the drying track to secure P1 by over 1.6 seconds.
It wasn’t all good news for the Silver Arrows as a mistake by Lewis Hamilton left him down in sixth, and the Briton faces an uphill struggle to cut the gap to Rosberg in the championship tomorrow.
Here are all of the reports, news and analysis from Silverstone today.
- After a twelve-hour period of rain overnight, FP3 was a rather soggy affair. Mercedes chose not to run, allowing Sebastian Vettel to top a session for the first time in 2014.
- The Silver Arrows reigned supreme once again in qualifying though (well, one of them did). Marussia was brilliant, Ferrari and Williams rubbish, and Sauber – despite crashing both cars – matched its best qualy of the year.
NEWS FROM THE PADDOCK
- McLaren chief operating officer Jonathan Neale explained how the team is continuing to rebuild after a difficult 18-month period.
- As mentioned, Ferrrari and Williams were pretty dreadful during qualifying today, with Bottas, Massa, Alonso and Raikkonen all being eliminated in Q1.
- Lotus will be powered by Mercedes in 2015, with an engine deal being signed but still waiting an official announcement.
- Marussia were the stars of qualifying as Jules Bianchi and Max Chilton finished 12th and 13th – the team’s best ever result in F1.
- Fernando Alonso rued Ferrari’s mistake to run so late, but felt that there was a lot of bad luck in his Q1 elimination.
- Valtteri Bottas wasn’t too pleased either, calling his session “unbelievable“.
- Lewis Hamilton admitted that he made a mistake bailing on his final Q3 lap.
- Nico Rosberg was delighted with pole after a “crazy” qualifying.
- A sprinkling of rain did wonders for Sebastian Vettel today; he’ll start in second place.
- Jenson Button ran to P3 in qualifying – his best grid slot since the 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix.
- Force India’s qualifying rut came to an end today.
- Caterham has confirmed that Julian Leal will test for the team at Silverstone next week.
- Pastor Maldonado has been excluded from qualifying.
THOUGHTS FROM THE TRACK
There’s nothing quite like a bit of rain to spice things up in Formula 1. Qualifying today was meant to be a straight fight between the two Mercedes drivers for pole position once again, but Lewis Hamilton’s certainty that the track was too wet proved to be a costly one. Rosberg went for it and stormed to pole position by 1.6 seconds; Hamilton will start sixth.
This is not the first time that Hamilton has made a mistake in qualifying, though. In Austria, the Briton pushed too hard on both of his hot laps and failed to post a time, leaving him down in ninth. Although he did manage to fight his way back through the field to finish second, this mistake did appear to cost him a real shot at catching teammate Nico Rosberg.
Today, it was simply a misjudgement. Hamilton believed that the track was not improving, so bailed on his lap. The other drivers kept pushing, and even though the first sector was indeed wetter (very few improved their times in S1), the final two had dried out considerably – so much so that Rosberg’s lap was over 3.5 seconds quicker than Hamilton’s.
Praise must be heaped upon the drivers that make up the Mercedes sandwich. Sebastian Vettel matched his best qualifying result of the season in second place, whilst Jenson Button put on a show for the home fans in third ahead of Nico Hulkenberg and McLaren teammate Kevin Magnussen. Hamilton will have a tough job from P6, but the spirit of 2008 will reverberate around the grandstands at Silverstone.
The real stars were at Marussia, though. Jules Bianchi and Max Chilton perfected the timing of their Q1 laps to get through inside the top ten, but it didn’t stop there. Ferrari junior Bianchi finished a brilliant 12th with Chilton an equally-excellent P13, although he does drop down three places due to a grid penalty.
As for Ferrari and Williams, qualifying was nothing short of disastrous. All of the drivers dropped out in Q1 after badly mistiming their laps, and although some positions are made up because of penalties for Chilton, Gutierrez and Maldonado, neither team was at all pleased with the result. It will be great to see cars capable of making the podium charging through the field, though.
The weather in Britain is far from reliable, but today that was a good thing. Come rain or shine on race day though, it should be a thrilling GP tomorrow.
You can watch the British Grand Prix live on CNBC from 7:30am ET tomorrow morning.