Nico Rosberg took pole from under Lewis Hamilton’s nose at the British Grand Prix, after Hamilton abandoned his last lap, believing that a wet track would stop everyone from improving, and would secure his provisional pole position.
A dark cloud lingered over Silverstone as Q1 got underway, which brought a serious threat of rain and led the drivers to rush out onto the circuit to try to get some banker laps down while the track was still relatively dry.
The backmarkers were the first ones to set a lap, and were six seconds faster than the fastest time in the wet morning practice session. After all had drivers set a lap, it was Hamilton leading from Ricciardo and Rosberg.
The clock ticked down and, with three minutes left, Jenson Button, the Saubers and the backmarkers went out on the dry compound tyres, which would then prompt everyone to come back out. Gutierrez went top and was followed by Chilton then Button, who went nearly three seconds quicker, but had his time deleted as he exceeded track limits at the final corner.
Drivers were given the hurry up and needed to get the perfect lap to ensure that they made it through to the next stage of Qualifying – but a perfectly timed yellow flag caused by Adrian Sutil’s spinning Sauber ruined the final chance for Felipe Massa, Valtteri Bottas and Kimi Raikkonen to make it through, while Fernando Alonso went wide at Brooklands and lost his chance – meaning both Williams drivers and both Ferrari drivers joined the Caterham duo in the drop-zone.
With the Ferrari and Williams story fresh in their minds, the teams were eager to get straight out on track when Q2 began. Hamilton went quickest ahead of Rosberg, while Grosjean, Gutierrez, Bianchi, Vettel, Chilton and Sutil were stranded in the drop-zone. Those in the bottom six were given the hurry-up and Vettel jumped from fourteenth to first, five-tenths clear of Hamilton’s – but this was lap time subsequently deleted after it was found that Vettel has exceeded track limits at turn 9, putting him back in the drop-zone. In the meantime, Ricciardo got within two tenths of Hamilton’s fastest time as he took the top time.
The conditions improved and the drivers swapped over to the dry tyres. Jules Bianchi was the first to improve and he went to the top of the times, although Hamilton, Rosberg and Vettel weren’t long getting back to the top spots.
Gutierrez was pushing to make it into Q3 – but pushed too hard and spun backwards into the barriers at Luffield, ending his session prematurely and resigning himself to fourteenth. Meanwhile, the Marussia duo recorded an impressive twelfth and thirteenth, although Chilton will be five places down due to a grid penalty, while Pastor Maldonado was told to pull over with a loss of oil pressure and subsequently finished fifteenth.
The fastest ten drivers progressed to Q3 and, again, there was no hesitation on getting out on track. The rain had cleared but it could not be guaranteed that it would stay away, and it was important that everyone got a good first lap in – both Q1 and Q2 had ended under yellow flags. A similar end to Q3 could throw up a surprise pole position.
The Toro Rosso duo tip-toed around and put down their banker laps, while Perez beat Ricciardo to third – behind Hamilton and Rosberg respectively. The McLaren duo filled out the bottom two places with their first laps, but was then split by Hulkenberg. Rain was still falling lightly, with Hamilton on provisional pole.
Sebastian Vettel abandoned his first attempt in the hopes of saving tyres and reaping the rewards of going out after the track had had the chance to dry. The gamble surprisingly worked, and the final sector proved to be the driest section of the track. Hamilton, originally trying to slow his team-mate, safe in the knowledge that he had pole, came into the pits, and watched, helplessly, as Hulkenberg took the top time, followed by Vettel, then Button and finally, Rosberg – who took pole. As a result of the surprise dry sector, Hamilton was bumped down to sixth.
- Nico Rosberg
- Sebastian Vettel
- Jenson Button
- Nico Hulkenberg
- Kevin Magnussen
- Lewis Hamilton
- Sergio Perez
- Daniel Ricciardo
- Daniil Kvyat
- Jean-Eric Vergne
- Romain Grosjean
- Jules Bianchi
- Max Chilton
- Esteban Gutierrez
- Pastor Maldonado
- Adrian Sutil
- Valtteri Bottas
- Felipe Massa
- Fernando Alonso
- Kimi Raikkonen
- Marcus Ericsson
- Kamui Kobayashi
Image courtesy of Mercedes AMG F1 Team.