Rosberg Steals Silverstone Pole In Bizarre Finish To Q3


Nico Rosberg snatched a crucial pole position for the British Grand Prix in a strange conclusion to Q3 at Silverstone. Drizzle early in the last session looked to have settled the issue in Lewis Hamilton’s favour but a dry final sector turned everything on its head with the home favourite relegated to sixth in the dying seconds.

The rain began in the opening minutes of Q3 and initially Toro Rosso looked to be in the box seats having sent their drivers out immediately. The Mercedes pair had just enough time to get a dry lap in and regained control of the front row with Hamilton a tenth quicker than Rosberg and that, it seemed, was that.

Despite the drizzle, most drivers opted for a final run although Rosberg nearly missed the chequered flag on his out lap, complaining that his teammate was too slow up ahead. Even two thirds of the way through everyone’s final laps, the grid looked to be set and Lewis Hamilton clearly took that view, pitting without completing the final sector, but the final sequence of bends was drier than everybody thought and the grid received a serious reshuffle.

Nico Hulkenberg was the first to light up the timing screens, going fastest on a 1:38.329, but Sebastian Vettel snatched top spot away immediately by almost a second. To compound Hamilton’s misery still further, Rosberg had stayed on course and clocked a magnificent 1:35.766 to claim his fourth pole of the season. Hamilton also lost the honour of leading Briton with Jenson Button grabbing third, well behind Vettel but a fraction ahead of Hulkenberg.

Kevin Magnussen took fifth in the second McLaren with Hamilton relegated to sixth ahead of Sergio Perez, Daniel Ricciardo and the two Toro Rossos who were also caught out when conditions unexpectedly improved.

The constantly changing conditions kept all of the teams on their toes in the two knockout sessions. Q1 kicked off with a damp circuit but as conditions improved, drivers quickly recognised that slicks were the best option but Williams and Ferrari didn’t realise early enough. With both of their drivers in the drop zone, both teams were stranded when the drizzle returned at Brooklands in the final minute while yellow flags for Adrian Sutil’s beached Sauber confirmed their elimination.  As a result, the times set on intermediates remained as their fastest with Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa seventeenth and eighteenth, a row ahead of Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen.

Q2 was similarly chaotic with intermediates the order of the day for the first run but the fast drying surface prompted a change of strategy for the second. Marussia were sensing an almighty upset, having already reached Q2, with a spot in Q3 up for grabs but Jules Bianchi and Max Chilton narrowly missed out in twelfth and thirteenth, just behind Romain Grosjean’s Lotus. Esteban Gutierrez joined his Sauber teammate in the barrier with a spin at Luffield, keeping him back in fourteenth with Pastor Maldonado between him and Sutil on tomorrow’s grid.

 

 FORMULA 1 SANTANDER BRITISH GRAND PRIX – QUALIFYING CLASSIFICATION
POS DRIVER TEAM TYRE TIME
1  6. NICO ROSBERG MERCEDES MEDIUM 1:35.766
2  1. SEBASTIAN VETTEL RED BULL RACING RENAULT MEDIUM 1:37.386
3  22. JENSON BUTTON McLAREN MERCEDES MEDIUM 1:38.200
4  27. NICO HULKENBERG FORCE INDIA MERCEDES MEDIUM 1:38.329
5  20. KEVIN MAGNUSSEN McLAREN MERCEDES MEDIUM 1:38.417
6  44. LEWIS HAMILTON MERCEDES MEDIUM 1:39.232
7  11. SERGIO PEREZ FORCE INDIA MERCEDES MEDIUM 1:40.457
8  3. DANIEL RICCIARDO RED BULL RACING RENAULT MEDIUM 1:40.606
9  26. DANIIL KVYAT STR RENAULT MEDIUM 1:40.707
10  25. JEAN-ERIC VERGNE STR RENAULT MEDIUM 1:40.855
ELIMINATED IN QUALIFYING 2
11  8. ROMAIN GROSJEAN LOTUS RENAULT MEDIUM 1:38.496
12  17. JULES BIANCHI MARUSSIA FERRARI MEDIUM 1:38.709
13  4. MAX CHILTON MARUSSIA FERRARI MEDIUM 1:39.800
14  21. ESTEBAN GUTIERREZ SAUBER FERRARI MEDIUM 1:40.912
15  13. PASTOR MALDONADO LOTUS RENAULT MEDIUM 1:44.018
16  99. ADRIAN SUTIL SAUBER FERRARI MEDIUM NO TIME
ELIMINATED IN QUALIFYING 1
17  77. VALTTERI BOTTAS WILLIAMS MERCEDES INTER 1:45.318
18  19. FELIPE MASSA WILLIAMS MERCEDES INTER 1:45.695
19  14. FERNANDO ALONSO FERRARI INTER 1:45.935
20  7. KIMI RAIKKONEN FERRARI MEDIUM 1:46.684
107% QUALIFYING TIME: 1:47.406
21  9. MARCUS ERICSSON CATERHAM RENAULT INTER 1:49.421
22  10. KAMUI KOBAYASHI CATERHAM RENAULT INTER 1:49.625