Lewis Hamilton snatched pole position from championship leader Sebastian Vettel with his final attempt in qualifying for the British Grand Prix.
Vettel produced a good first lap in Q3 to edge Hamilton by 0.057s, but Hamilton hit back to post a 1m25.892s with the two Ferrari drivers still on track. Vettel — who was hampered by a sore neck he suffered earlier on Saturday — failed to improve and ended up 0.044s short, but it was Kimi Raikkonen who looked a bigger threat as he posted the fastest first sector on his final attempt before ending up also within 0.1s in third place.
In the end, 0.098s covered the top three drivers, with Hamilton securing a fourth consecutive pole position at Silverstone to the delight of his home crowd. Teammate Valtteri Bottas was just over 0.3s adrift in fourth, with Max Verstappen fifth and Daniel Ricciardo — without DRS in Q3 — having to settle for sixth.
Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean locked out the fourth row for Haas with just one run in the final part of qualifying, while Charles Leclerc again impressed in ninth just ahead of Esteban Ocon.
Nico Hulkenberg missed out on a place in the top 10 by just 0.058s in Q2, and while he will have a free choice of tires to start the race on it also marks the first time Renault hasn’t had a car starting in the top 10 this season. Hulkenberg pipped Sergio Perez to P11 by 0.027s, with Fernando Alonso set to start from 13th ahead of Pierre Gasly and Marcus Ericsson.
Although Leclerc advanced, Sauber will have had higher hopes for both cars after its double-points finish in Austria and Ericsson’s pace in FP3 when he was 10th, but the Swede was 0.6s adrift of his teammate on the final runs in Q2.
Q1 started with only four drivers needing to worry about elimination as Brendon Hartley was unable to take part due to his crash in FP3. The Toro Rosso driver was cleared to drive by the medical center, but his car was too heavily damaged after suffering a front suspension failure and hitting the barrier at high speed.
Lance Stroll soon ensured he would join Hartley in dropping out when he suffered a spin at the same corner as the New Zealander, overcorrecting when trying to catch a snap of oversteer at Brooklands and heading sideways into the gravel. The incident caused a red flag delay for six minutes, during which Williams teammate Sergey Sirotkin failed to enter the pits immediately and is under investigation.
Sirotkin then spun at Stowe when the session restarted, but was able to recover the car to the pits in order to have another attempt at the end of Q1. With the Williams a handful, Sirotkin was slowest of those to set a time, dropping out in 18th place behind Stoffel Vandoorne — who lost part of his car hitting a curb — and the surprise of the session Carlos Sainz, with the Spaniard failing to make it through to Q3 for the first time this season after hitting traffic.