June 29th, 2013 (F1Plus / Chris Cameron-Dow) - Lewis Hamilton stormed to pole position for the British Grand Prix, beating his team-mate Nico Rosberg by almost half a second. The Red Bulls of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber had no answer to the pace of Mercedes and had to settle for third and fourth on the grid.
Q1 saw both Marussias and both Caterhams eliminated, which was expected. They were joined by the Sauber of Esteban Gutierrez and the Williams of Valtteri Bottas. The result for Williams is particularly disappointing given that the famous team is celebrating 600 races in Formula One this weekend (although their 600th race is in fact next week at the German Grand Prix).
It was clear from Q1 that Mercedes had plenty of pace, as Hamilton became the first drive to set a lap in less than 1 minute 31 seconds this weekend. Surprisingly, both Hamilton and Rosberg went out on the medium compound option tyres in Q1, opting not to run the hard tyres at all even though they had the pace to progress to Q2 on the prime tyres.
Q2 saw another demonstration of Mercedes' pace, as Hamilton and Rosberg managed to progress to Q3 using the same sets of tyres they had run in Q1. New tyres were not necessary for all of the other teams, but Mercedes had enough pace in hand to run used tyres.
McLaren had a dismal qualifying session, with both cars eliminated in Q2. Button came within six hundredths of a second of 10th place, but ultimately did not have the pace for Q3 and will start the race 11th. Sergio Perez was a further four tenths back in 14th place. The surprise disappointment of Q2 was Felipe Massa, who could do no better than 12th as Ferrari struggled for pace throughout qualifying. The drivers eliminated in Q2 were Button, Massa, Vergne, Perez, Hulkenberg and Maldonado.
Q3 saw more dominance from Mercedes, as Hamilton and Rosberg were quickest after the first runs of the session were completed. But the real pace was yet to come, and on fresh tyres, Hamilton and Rosberg set about showing just how quickly a Formula One car can lap the Silverstone circuit. Rosberg went fastest on a 1:30.059 lap, but t hen Lewis Hamilton stunned the crowd by going almost half a second quicker than his team-mate.
Hamilton had complained throughout the weekend that he was not feeling comfortable in his Mercedes. He expressed his satisfaction in the post-qualifying interviews, stating that he was pleased to finally get a lap together around his home track. This is Hamilton's 28th career pole position, which puts him just one behind Juan Manuel Fangio in the all-time list of polesitters.
It was an impressive qualifying session for Force India, who ended up with Di Resta in fifth and Sutil seventh at their home race. Toro Rosso's Daniel Ricciardo qualified sixth, after looking strong throughout the weekend. His team-mate Jean-Eric Vergne will be disappointed with 13th place, especially considering that both Toro Rosso drivers are currently under consideration to replace Mark Webber at Red Bull in 2014 after the Australian announced on Thursday that he will be leaving Formula 1 at the end of this season.
Full qualifying results:
|3||1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:31.559||1:30.990||1:30.211||14|
|4||2||Mark Webber||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:31.605||1:31.002||1:30.220||15|
|5||14||Paul di Resta||Force India-Mercedes||1:32.062||1:31.291||1:30.736||19|
|7||15||Adrian Sutil||Force India-Mercedes||1:32.002||1:31.097||1:30.908||17|
|21||21||Giedo van der Garde||Caterham-Renault||1:35.481||3|
|Q1 107% Time||1:37.364|