Lewis Hamilton on pole position for British Grand Prix
August 2 2020 , 10:57 pm
Lewis Hamilton set the fastest ever lap around Silverstone to beat Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas to pole position at the British Grand Prix.
Hamilton, faster on both runs in the final session, was 0.313 seconds clear of Bottas while Red Bull’s Max Verstappen pipped Charles Leclerc’s improved Ferrari to third.
McLaren’s Lando Norris starred with fifth place, ahead of the so-called ‘pink Mercedes’ Racing Point of Lance Stroll.
Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel could manage only 10th after struggling all weekend.
The Mercedes cars were expected to fly around the high-speed Silverstone sweeps and so it proved, with Hamilton ending qualifying 1.022secs quicker than Verstappen.
The black cars have such an advantage – exacerbated by Red Bull and Ferrari falling back compared to last year – that at this stage it seems hard to see them being beaten at all this year.
Hamilton’s pole was his fifth at Silverstone in six years and he is aiming to extend his record of home victories to seven on Sunday.
But it was far from plain sailing – Hamilton was beaten by Bottas in the first two sessions of qualifying and even had a spin early in the second, but he pulled the laps out of the bag when it mattered in the top 10 shoot-out.
Hamilton said: “There is a relatively big gap between us and third place but it doesn’t matter. Valtteri is pushing me right to the limit. He has been pushing me all weekend.
“I made some changes before qualifying and it was worse. It was a real struggle out there.
“This track is difficult with the wind and it is like juggling balls while on a moving plate at high speed.
“I had that spin but with some deep breaths I managed to compose myself. It never gets old.”
Bottas said: “I was just waiting for Q3 but then I started to drift a bit more with the rear end. I don’t know what happened, Lewis found more than me.”
Verstappen said that there was no way of challenging the Mercedes, but Red Bull will be just as concerned that while Hamilton’s time was 0.7secs quicker than Bottas’ pole from last year, Verstappen was a fraction slower than he was in 2019.
“Very early in qualifying they were just way too fast,” he said. “You try to accept that and do the best you can. To be P3 is a good start.
“We are little but should be a bit closer in the race. I don’t say I am going fight them but at least you have a fighting chance starting third.”
His team-mate Alexander Albon was struggling after a crash on Friday and missing much of the final practice session with a battery problem and qualified only 12th.