Hamilton blasts to British GP pole with stunning Q3 lap

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Lewis Hamilton blasted his way to pole position for the British Grand Prix on Saturday thanks to a stunning final lap in qualifying that saw him finish half a second clear of the Formula 1 field.

Home favorite Hamilton entered the race weekend keen to end a patchy run of form that has seen him slip 20 points back of Sebastian Vettel in the drivers’ championship, and the Briton sent out an emphatic warning shot with his qualifying display.

In greasy conditions following early rain, Hamilton was able to produce a lap of 1:26.600 to take pole at Silverstone, sending the home crowds into raptures.

Kimi Raikkonen finished as the best of the rest for Ferrari, qualifying second, while Vettel was left to settle for third after a scruffy final effort in Q3.

Valtteri Bottas finished fourth for Mercedes, but will drop back to P9 thanks to a grid penalty, bumping Max Verstappen onto the second row.

Nico Hulkenberg excelled in the damp conditions to qualify sixth for Renault ahead of the Force India duo of Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon, while Stoffel Vandoorne was able to lead McLaren into Q3, finishing ninth. Romain Grosjean rounded out the top 10 for Haas.

Jolyon Palmer’s hopes of reaching Q3 on home soil were dashed late in the second session, the Renault man being bumped out in P11 after Perez made a late improvement.

Daniil Kvyat qualified 12th for Toro Rosso ahead of Fernando Alonso, who was half a second slower than teammate Vandoorne in Q2, but Spaniard will drop to the back of the field due to a litany of grid penalties for power unit changes. Carlos Sainz Jr. and Felipe Massa struggled to 14th and 15th respectively.

Damp conditions early in Q1 meant that drivers had to try and time their runs perfectly as the circuit dried, with a flurry of late improvements quickly changing up the order.

The dropzone featured the usual pretenders, though, with Williams’ Lance Stroll being nudged out in P16, marking back-to-back Q1 eliminations for the Canadian rookie.

Kevin Magnussen emded up P17 for Haas ahead of the Sauber pair of Pascal Wehrlein and Marcus Ericsson, both of whom failed to capitalize on the wet conditions to make up for the team’s performance disadvantage.

Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo will face a challenge to extend his streak of podium finishes after suffering a loss of power on his car early in Q1, resigning him to last place, with his misery only compounded by a grid penalty for a gearbox change.

Reviewing Danica Patrick’s highs and lows at Indianapolis Motor Speedway

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So much of Danica Patrick’s fame can be traced to Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

It’s where she became a household name 13 years ago when she became the first woman to lead the Indianapolis 500 and emerged as a transcendent athlete.

It’s where everything started. This Sunday, it’s where everything will end, too.

In her last warmup before starting the final race of her career, Patrick had a bumpy final practice Friday on Carb Day. She was eighth fastest, but her Dallara-Chevrolet was in the garage most of the session because of an electrical problem in the engine. After returning during the final 10 minutes of the session, Patrick’s No. 13 seemed to be OK.

“At the end of the day, these are things you’re actually glad for, because if this had happened Sunday, we would have been done,” she said. “I’m glad to get the issues out of the way early on. Overall, today felt good. We made some changes when I went out the second time, and I’m feeling good about starting seventh on Sunday.”
Though she has had her share of success – along with a fourth in her debut, there was a third in 2009 and six top 10s in seven starts — Patrick has learned well how to handle frustration at the 2.5-mile track, too.

Fuel mileage might have kept her from winning her debut, a pit collision ruined 2008, and an unstable setup made 2010 a wild ride.

For a review of her up-and-down history at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and her legacy in racing, watch the video essay above that ran during Friday’s NASCAR America Motorsports Special on NBCSN.