British Grand Prix 2020 F1 qualifying live: Can Lewis Hamilton claim Silverstone pole?

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  • Bottas quickest in Q1 and Q2 as Hamilton has an off
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Hamilton has been struggling here with balance

All weekend. He’s had more untidy laps than he has clean ones in quali trim. This is classic Hamilton, though. Will struggle all weekend and then pull out a lap when he needs it. Could it be Hamilton by a smidgen or will Bottas pull out a clean sweep of all the sessions today?

Q2 Classification – Bottas quickest

  1. BOT
  2. HAM
  3. VER
  4. SAI
  5. LEC
  6. OCO
  7. RIC
  8. NOR
  9. VET
  10. STR
    OUT: 
  11. GAS
  12. ALB
  13. HUL
  14. KVY
  15. RUS

Q2 – ENDS

Gasly in P11 and Stroll on exactly the same lap time… Stroll through by virtue of having set his time earlier. That will be disappointing for Hulkenberg, didn’t improve his time all that much despite moving to the soft tyres…P13 for him on his comeback. He had a bit of a wobble in the early part of the lap…

Q2 – Hulkenberg is pushed out!

Not a great lap from the German! Sainz goes P4. Albon is going not too well here… can he improve? Not enough! He only goes 12th and will not make it through to Q3! Oh dear…

Q2 – Vettel improves in S1

But that is where the Ferrari has been relatively strong. Stroll doing…okay here on the mediums. Not sure how touch and go it’ll be here for him. It’s not going to be comfortable… he made a mess of the last few corners and doesn’t improve from P10!

Q2 – Bottas and Hamilton come out on the softs

Perhaps for a bit of recon. They almost certainly won’t need to worry about going out here. 

Two minutes remaining…

Final runs underway. 

Q2 – Vettel out for his final run

And he’s on mediums. Not sure that’s the best tactic for him here. Stroll also out on the mediums, Hulkenberg going for the softs. He cannot risk going out of Q3 here, really. I think Vettel is extremely vulnerable here. He’s only a tenth or so away from being eliminated and he set his first time on the soft tyres. Will he improve?

Q2 – Hamilton starts his hot lap

Not a brilliant sector one time, slower than what he managed on his previous lap but he’s quicker in sector two. Two tenths or so down on Bottas. This should be absolutely fine for getting into Q3, though. He posts a time 0.332s off Bottas’s time. Steady and does the job. 

I said before this weekend I thought Mercedes would be a second clear of the next quickest car and I think we are on for that at the moment. 

Q2 resumes

Just under nine minutes left. Hamilton out first, sensibly, on the medium compound tyres. He should be able to get a couple of laps in on these if he really needs it. He has the track to himself. 

Q2 – 8’50” left when the clock restarts

Albon did not look to comfortable on those tyres. Certainly not compared to Verstappen, anyway. That is a good lap from Leclerc, though, on the mediums. I think Racing Point will have to go out on the soft tyres or risk elimination here. 

Q2 – Classification so far

  1. BOT 1.25.015 MED tyre
  2. VER +1.129 MED
  3. LEC +1.188 MED
  4. OCO +1.237 SOFT
  5. SAI +1.261 SOFT
  6. NOR +1.405 SOFT
  7. VET +1.440 SOFT
  8. STR +1.486 MED
  9. ALB +1.565 MED
  10. HUL +1.630 MED
    DROP ZONE: 
  11. RUS +2.351 SOFT
  12. HAM
  13. RIC
  14. GAS
  15. KVY

Hamilton ahead of Ricciardo, Gasly and Kvyat by virtue of them not setting times, compared to Hamilton’s 1.56/466, 31 seconds off the pace…

Q2 – RED FLAG

The debris on track caused by Hamilton’s spin is enough for them to red flag the session. Hmmm. Not good for Hamilton, who was on another hot lap on the same set of tyres. Hamilton will need to find a lap time somewhere, will he go out on softs or mediums for his second run? He cannot afford another mistake like that but he just needs to get into Q3 from here and the medium tyres should be fine for that. Unless he was REALLY uncomfortable on them. 

Q2 – Bottas sets the fastest lap

Smashing the opposition. He’s 1.129s ahead of Verstappen. 

But HAMILTON HAS SPUN ON HIS HOT LAP ON THE EXIT OF LUFFIELD! He’s gone into the gravel but rolls out of it in the end. He’s made a mess all over the track… gravel everywhere. 

Q2 – First runs underway

Onboard with Albon, looks like a decent enough lap but struggling a bit with the front end. He’s the first man to cross the line and goes quickest obviously, Hulkenberg is less than a tenth behind, though…

Verstappen smashes it, though, four tenths ahead of Albon. 

Q2 – Mediums very much the order of the day here

For the frontrunners, anyway. I think all of them, anyway. Apart from Vettel perhaps, though the information may just be out of date. Think Mercedes will be fine on them but it could be a bit tricky for some other teams if McLaren, Renault etc put on the softs. 

Q2 begins – 15 minutes to go

10 drivers to go through. Five to go out. I think it’ll be: one Renault, one AlphaTauri, one McLaren, Russell and…someone else. Albon? No…

Q1 – Norris P15 there

Just through in terms of position but he was three tenths in seconds. I think Russell is getting a penalty for that, seeing the onboard footage of the incident…

Q1 ends! Bottas quickest 

  1. BOT
  2. HAM
  3. VER
  4. STR
  5. HUL
  6. GAS
  7. OCO
  8. VET
  9. LEC
  10. ALB
  11. RIC
  12. SAI
  13. RUS
  14. KVY
  15. NOR
    OUT:
  16. MAG
  17. GIO
  18. RAI
  19. GRO
  20. LAT

Russell ended down in P13 but through anyway. He is, however, under investigation for not slowing under yellow flags caused by the Latifi incident. That could be a grid penalty and/or losing his time. So he may not end up starting in the top 15 tomorrow…

Q1  – Final runs

Latifi has gone off! Red flag? Nope but yellows. Will that affect anyone else on a hot run? It almost certainly will. That’ll be him out. He has kept it running but he’ll be out in Q1. 

Giovinazzi doesn’t improve, he’s out. Gasly goes P4! Hulkenberg makes it through into P4. Magnussen can’t get out…Russell looking good for Q2 here. Can he even improve? He can…! P9!

Vettel P6. The usual suspects out. Ocon manages to go P7. 

Q1 – Three minutes to go

Bottas currently quickest by 0.099s over Hamilton, who improved on a second run. I don’t think they will run again and indeed they are staying in their garages and won’t make it across the line. Well, Bottas has, anyway. Maybe Hamilton has gone out to get a bit more feel. He isn’t having the most serene time out there. 

Final runs are starting to crank up…

Q1 – Current order

First runs done. 

  1. BOT
  2. HAM
  3. VER
  4. LEC
  5. STR
  6. ALB
  7. GAS
  8. KVY
  9. SAI
  10. NOR
  11. VET
  12. HUL
  13. RIC
  14. OCO
  15. RUS
    Drop zone:
  16. MAG
  17. RAI
  18. GIO
  19. LAT 
  20. GRO

Q1 – Will backing up at the end of a lap being a problem?

 Don’t rule it out. I’m sure it won’t be a Monza 2019 situation, though. 

Q1 – Six minutes to go

Stroll currently in P4, he may not have to run again. Grosjean goes P14 momentarily before being replaced by his team-mate Magnussen. Russell in P14, Norris in P10. In the danger zone are now: Magnussen, Raikkonen, Giovinazzi, Latifi and Grosjean. 

Ocon the man just above the cut off and will want to find a few tenths now. He has to negotiate a McLaren on the Hangar Straight which is not ideal but he may have got a bit of a slipstream. He only goes up one place…

Q1 – Red Bulls on hot laps

Albon the first to cross the line with a 1.26.643 for 5th. Verstappen beats that comfortably with the fastest final sector, he’s in second, splitting the Mercedes and 0.023s behind Bottas. Some hideous backing up going on at the end of the lap…

Hamilton had a bit of a moment in three again. He struggled around that loop section yesterday. 

Q1 – Top 10 so far

  1. BOT
  2. HAM
  3. LEC
  4. STR
  5. GAS
  6. KVY
  7. HUL
  8. VET
  9. RIC
  10. SAI

In the drop zone: RAI, NOR, VER, OCO, ALB

None of those lads have set a time. 

Q1 – Vettel still struggling

He’s all the way down in P6, 0.520s off the pace. Lando Norris has a bit of an off-track excursion but stays out of the gravel. 

10 minutes remaining…

Q1 – What can Hulkenberg do?

He can’t quite go quickest with his slightly scrappy lap. Second for him, behind Gasly, who is currently beating everyone. Until Leclerc and Stroll come along, that is. 

Q1 – Kvyat quickest now

But that won’t last for long. He is, though, a second quicker than Magnussen. Nico Hulkenberg has a bit of trouble around turn four…bit of a scrappy lap from the comeback man. 

Q1 – Giovinazzi goes quickest

Just 0.017s ahead of his team-mate. What can either Haas do? They both beat it, Grosjean first and then Magnussen trumps the Frenchman by 0.076s. Pretty tight out there. Big boys coming out of the pit lane now, Hamilton and Bottas. 

Q1 – 16 minutes to go

A few cars out there at the moment and it’s the slow ones: both Alfa Romeos and both Haas cars plus Daniil Kvyat’s AlphaTauri. 

Q1 begins – 18 minutes to go!

Nobody out just yet…

What about Alex Albon?

He has had a tough season so far. It is difficult to match Max Verstappen, though. He looked decent in FP2 yesterday before shoving it in the wall but an electrical issue with his Red Bull cost him running time in final practice this morning. I don’t think he’ll be going out in Q2, the Red Bull looks fairly decent around here. Relatively, anyway. 

Five minutes until Q1…

George Russell is having a good run of qualifying performances

Can he get out of Q2 today? I reckon it might be tight but just is my verdict. Shame the Williams has lacked the race pace to go with the raw pace that Russell has been able to extract on one lap but hopefully that will end here. Still, at least they are racing this year, rather than being a lap adrift of the rest of the field as in 2019. 

Is Silverstone the greatest track on the F1 calendar?

It is certainly up there. Where does it rank exactly, though? I went through every track that is on the F1 calendar this year, every track that was supposed to be on it and every track that was discussed about being on it (seriously) and ranked and rated them all. That’s 27 of them. 


Credit:
Getty Images Europe

Current driver standings

It’s a fight between Bottas and Hamilton now, isn’t it? Just like last year. Let’s hope it’s more of a fight this time around.  2019 was a bit of “Hamilton in the eighth on TKO” scenario. 

 Would be nice to have the season to go to the wire for the first time since 2016. 

It is not quite as sunny as yesterday at the track

And a lot cooler, too, than yesterday’s 30c+ temps. Very little chance of rain for the session, too, just about 7-8 per cent. 

Predictions for this session?

Mercedes clearly the class of the field here as everywhere so it would be an extreme shock  if it wasn’t one of them on pole. Suppose the biggest question will be whether anyone can get close. Before the weekend I would have expected them to claim pole here by over a second over the next best team, given that the Silverstone track rewards aerodynamic performance and stability and the W11 has that in spades. 


Credit:
Frank Augstein

Red Bull looked in a better place than expected, though, so we will see. Could be a big fight between Red Bull and Racing Point for the second row. And what can Nico Hulkenberg do? I think P7 for him. 

Tell you what, the masks F1 teams use are pretty useless

In a 20-minute interview with Martin Brundle, Sebastian Vettel touched or readjusted his mask a staggering 150 times — or on average once every eight seconds. All that technology involved in designing these fantastic cars and they cannot make a mask that covers a face, mouth and allows the wearer to talk without it slipping down. 


Credit:
Getty Images Europe

FP3 classification

  1. Valtteri Bottas (Fin) Mercedes GP 1:25.873
  2. Lewis Hamilton (Gbr) Mercedes GP 1:26.011
  3. Max Verstappen (Ned) Red Bull 1:26.173
  4. Lance Stroll (Can) Racing Point 1:26.576
  5. Carlos Sainz (Spa) McLaren 1:26.664
  6. Charles Leclerc (Mon) Ferrari 1:26.771
  7. Lando Norris (Gbr) McLaren 1:26.798
  8. Daniel Ricciardo (Aus) Renault 1:26.841
  9. Nico Hulkenburg (Ger) Racing Point 1:26.872
  10. Pierre Gasly (Fra) Scuderia AlphaTauri 1:27.046
  11. Daniil Kvyat (Rus) Scuderia AlphaTauri 1:27.076
  12. Esteban Ocon (Fra) Renault 1:27.158
  13. Alexander Albon (Tha) Red Bull 1:27.178
  14. Sebastian Vettel (Ger) Ferrari 1:27.251
  15. Romain Grosjean (Fra) Haas F1 1:27.537
  16. George Russell (Gbr) Williams 1:27.738
  17. Antonio Giovinazzi (Ita) Alfa Romeo Racing 1:27.825
  18. Kevin Magnussen (Den) Haas F1 1:27.860
  19. Kimi Raikkonen (Fin) Alfa Romeo Racing 1:27.976
  20. Nicholas Latifi (Can) Williams 1:28.112

Good afternoon F1 fans

And welcome to our coverage of qualifying for the British Grand Prix from Silverstone. Naturally, every race has felt a little odd this year without fans but the British Grand Prix will feel particularly odd without the legions of fans, banners, air horns, caps, barbecues and what not. But still — some on-track action is better than none and this former RAF airfield in Northamptonshire (and, actually, also in Buckinghamshire) often provides the greatest racing of the season. Let’s hope it’s the same this year as we’re going to do it all again this time next week for the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix

For now, the focus is on round four. No doubt the biggest story of the weekend has been Sergio Perez testing positive for Covid-19 after returning from Mexico where he was visiting his mother, who was recovering after an accident. This was confirmed on Thursday afternoon and within 24 hours Nico Hulkenberg — without a seat in 2020 after being dropped by Renault — was back at his old team and driving in free practice. An astonishing turn of events. Can he get a first career podium in the resurgent Racing Point?

Nico Hulkenberg in action

Credit:
Getty Images Europe

Yesterday’s two practice sessions were perhaps a little unrepresentative due to the extremely hot conditions and the strong winds, with Lance Stroll ending FP2 quickest. Mercedes, I thought, were not showing their hands and, in any case, Lewis Hamilton made a bit of a mess of his qualification simulation runs. Alexander Albon had a worse day, though, less than a tenth off the pace in second practice, true, but he ended it in the barriers. 

Final practice this morning saw both Mercedes looking mightily quick, but that is not surprising at all. Valtteri Bottas was a tenth or so ahead of Hamilton, with Max Verstappen‘s Red Bull in third — himself only a tenth off Hamilton, which is encouraging. Ferrari, again, appear to be struggling but the midfield is very tight. 

Q1 begins at 2pm BST. I’ll be here for all of the updates for that. 

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