Mercedes lockout front row at Silverstone as Hamilton tops Rosberg for pole; Wunderkind Max Verstappen qualifies P3 for Red Bull
Lewis Hamilton continued applying the pressure to his points-leading Mercedes teammate, Nico Rosberg, with a blistering lap to take pole late in the third Qualifying session on Saturday at legendary Silverstone. Performing in front of his English countrymen in the stands, Hamilton scrambled for the top time after seeing his previous fast lap deleted for exceeding track limits. That issue seems to bedevil both stewards and drivers with certain efforts being penalized for the track limits violation while others went unscathed for seemingly the same infraction. In any event, Hamilton pulled one out of the bag late in Q3 and pipped his teammate for the top starting spot in tomorrow’s race. Coming a week after the two Silver Arrows came together on the last lap of the Austrian GP and Rosberg saw victory slip away to his archival, Hamilton will be looking to pull ahead of his German teammate in the points and earn his third straight victory at Silverstone.
Red Bull’s wunderkind Max Verstappen out-qulaified his more senior teammate Daniel Ricciardo, P3 to P4. Newly re-signed Kimi Raikkonen bested his Ferrari teammate, Sebastian Vettel, P5 to P6 and worse for Vettel, he faces yet another 5-spot grid penalty for a gearbox change. After a bright start, Vettel’s 2016 season has devolved into a long, tough slog with a series of crashes, technical DNFs and other issues hampering the 4-time world champ’s aspirations to take it to Mercedes.
Valtteri Bottas ran well enough for the seventh-fastest time despite the Williams’ chronic lack of downforce. Carlos Sainz took P8 for for Toro Rosso, Nico Hulkenberg was P9 for Force India and Fernando Alonso qualified P10 for improving McLaren. All three of those drivers will move up one spot due to Vettel’s penalty, with Sergio Perez of Force India inheriting the last top 10 starting spot on the grid.
Marcus Ericsson of Sauber had a scary crash in practice that necessitated a trip to the hospital for further evaluation. Ericsson is questionable for tomorrow’s race start pending more medical tests.
Top 10 qualifiers at Silverstone:
|3||33||RED BULL RACING TAG HEUER||1:31.305||1:30.697||1:30.313||12|
|4||3||RED BULL RACING TAG HEUER||1:31.684||1:31.319||1:30.618||12|
|8||55||TORO ROSSO FERRARI||1:32.115||1:31.708||1:31.989||15|
|9||27||FORCE INDIA MERCEDES||1:32.349||1:31.770||1:32.172||18|
Tomorrow’s British Grand Prix airs live on CNBC beginning at 8AM Eastern here in the States. Will Hamilton make it a trio of triumphs in his home GP and Rosberg continue to wilt under the unrelenting pressure of the Championship? Hope to see you then to find out!