Superior Mercedes cars sweep British GP front row
Using his superior Mercedes car that has dominated F1 qualifying all year, Lewis Hamilton stormed to pole position for the British GP, his first at Silverstone since 2007.
Sebastian Vettel (3rd, 1:30.211): "We will see what happens tomorrow. It's a long race, but I'm happy with today. Either Lewis found a short cut or he has something special round here, it was a phenomenal lap and he wasn't in reach today. I was very happy with the lap I did at the end, it was very close with Mark also. We did what we could for the team and it's always nice to position well in qualifying, especially around here – qualifying is good fun and I'm enjoying the high speed corners. We'll see how we get on with the tires tomorrow and with looking after them. I'm happy for the team today, our factory is very close to this track, so I'm looking forward to tomorrow."
Mark Webber (4th, 1:30.220): "We were up against it to get on the front row against the Mercs, they're on another level as they have been for the last few events. It was disappointing to get pipped by Seb there at the end by a hundredth, it was very close. I was happy with the first part of my lap, but I could have done better in the last sector. We have a good balance for qualifying and race pace in terms of where we prioritized things. It should be an interesting race, we can get a good result from there."
Christian Horner, Sporting Director: "We could see this morning that Mercedes were very fast over a single lap and they've demonstrated that again this afternoon, so congratulations to Lewis on his pole position at Silverstone. It was a great performance from both of our drivers with only one hundredth of a second separating them on the second row. Hopefully we can give Mercedes a good run for their money tomorrow from there, and I'm sure it's going to be an exciting British Grand Prix."
Thierry Salvi, Renault: "Silverstone is one of the hardest circuits on the engines, with some of the fastest series of corners we see all year and one of the highest average speeds, but also some of the tightest complexes. As a result, getting the maps correct is always a compromise, but we were on the right side today. While it would have been great to get a front row start at the team's home race, we did the best we could. We're still in a good position to let the race come to us and hopefully we can win for the fourth time in five years."
Fernando Alonso (10th, 1:30.979): "This weekend has been complicated for us by problems that we haven't managed to get on top of, concerning various aspects such as the balance of the car, its drivability and performance. We can consider this the worst Saturday of the season so far, having never finished so far down, but now we must react immediately to try and return to the form we showed at the start of the year. We definitely expected a lot more here, because this is a track that suits our car's characteristics better than others. In Q3, we hesitated a bit over tire choice: we went out on the Hards because they had worked well in free practice this morning and in Q1. Then we switched to Medium with the idea of just coming back to the pits if it did not go well but then we decided to finish the lap and nevertheless our rivals were quicker. Now, we must try to do the same, starting from tomorrow: even if the race will be an uphill struggle we are well aware how things can change during a race. We hope we can stage a good climb up the order and bring home as many points as possible."
Felipe Massa (12th, 1:31.779): "It was an extremely difficult day as we did not have the car we were expecting and we had no grip whatsoever with new tires. Compared to other cars, we struggled to put together a good lap. The time lost when I went off the track yesterday and the interruption this morning to change the engine definitely cost me valuable kilometers and in qualifying I lacked the few tenths necessary to make it through to Q3. Now we must think about tomorrow, as the race is an altogether different matter and I hope that, with a full fuel load and higher temperatures, things can change in our favor. If the car is more competitive, I'm sure I can pull off a few passing moves and fight for a good result."
Pat Fry: "Today, the much awaited sunshine didn't manage to push the temperatures up as much as we had hoped, especially on the track. The surface stayed rather cold and already in the final free practice this morning had created some problems with grip, with several drivers going off the track. Things only improved slightly in qualifying, but not enough to improve the grip levels. Looking at our start positions, it's obvious that our cars suffered more than others, even if the gaps in the small group of cars ahead of Fernando are very close. While trying to improve the balance on the car, we tested various solutions, trying to increase drivability in both the high and low speed corners, always keeping in mind what will be the key factors in tomorrow's race. We can be more confident when it comes to the race and we will be counting on the performance we have seen over a long run, which is encouraging. During the opening laps it will be important to try and make up a few places. Then, our strategy will be aimed at helping the drivers as much as possible in their efforts to close up to our direct rivals."
Jenson Button (11th, 1:31.649): "I'm higher on the grid than I expected after practice. Yesterday, I didn't think we'd qualify ahead of one Ferrari and just behind the two Lotuses. But I was much happier in qualifying than I'd been all weekend – we should be positive that we've improved the car I think 11th was the best we could have realistically achieved today. Even if we'd got into Q3, we'd probably have been 10th; so starting 11th means I'll have a new set of tires and will start from the clean side of the grid. After Q2 I walked down the pitlane to the FIA scales, waving to the crowd. There were so many Union Jacks and rocket-red caps out there, and the fans have been unbelievably supportive all weekend. You always want to do a good job in front of your home crowd, so I want to say a big 'thank-you' to them for their support. You never know what will happen tomorrow: starting 11th isn't great, but we can race well from there. I will drive my heart out for a good result."
Sergio Perez (14th, 1:32.082): "It's been a difficult day. The puncture in FP3 wasn't the best preparation for qualifying – and it made it more difficult, because we had to change the damaged floor for the older-spec version. This afternoon, I struggled a little with the warm-up of my tires during Q2; I lost temperature when I was stopped and weighed at the FIA scales. We've been a bit unlucky all day. Still, we were a lot closer today than we were yesterday. Even if it's not apparent, we've definitely made some improvements, and I think we might have had the potential to slip into Q3 if we'd been a little bit luckier. Our race pace should be better than our qualifying pace. Tomorrow is still going to be difficult, but I'm positive we can go forwards from here."
Martin Whitmarsh, Team Principal: "It's been a difficult weekend for the team, but our pace in qualifying shows an upturn in form that we hope to carry into the race tomorrow. Jenson was unfortunate to miss out on Q3. In Q2, he lost out to 10th place by just 0.057s, and was only 0.659s from the fastest qualifier. Checo had an unlucky day: his poor luck started with his puncture in FP3, which damaged his floor and meant we had to fit an older-spec floor to his car. Into qualifying, he was called to the FIA weighbridge, which lost him tire temperature, and then encountered traffic on his critical run, which lost him time. However, both our drivers are fantastic racers: Jenson will have the support of the home crowd behind him, and Checo will be determined to recover from the setbacks that affected him today. So I think our drivers are both set for charging races tomorrow."
Romain Grosjean (8th, 1:30.955): "Whilst were very quick on the hard tires at the beginning of qualifying, we weren't as competitive on the mediums, I don't know if it's the weather or something else, but we weren't as good on them as in free practice this morning meaning we didn't have enough to qualify further up the grid. We are working hard and in the right direction, but the tires are still playing a key part. I'm quite satisfied with my performance today."
Kimi Raikkonen (9th, 1:30.962): "It was a close qualifying session between both of the team's cars so I think we both got pretty much all there was from the car today. It's not ideal as we'd like to be nearer the front of the grid, but it is what it is. We'll go into the race wanting to get a better result than we did in qualifying. Usually this is what happens for us and hopefully that is the case again tomorrow."
Alan Permane, Chief Race Engineer: "We're reasonably happy with both cars in the top ten" TWEET IT I'm reasonably happy with both cars making it into the top ten but, of course, we would have liked a bit more from today. Romain didn't have a perfect last lap and suffered from understeer in Turn 15 whilst there didn't seem to be much more pace in Kimi's car. They seem to be quite close for us in terms of ultimate lap pace. We had quite a dilemma as to whether we should run Romain on the harder tires in Q3 as he went very well on them in Q1. Other than that, both compounds are well suited to the demands of Silverstone and there should be a range of strategy permutations available tomorrow. Like many of the crew, the E21 certainly prefers warmer temperatures. The cloud cover today can mean a reasonable temperature drop, so we're certainly hoping for clearer skies and a warmer track tomorrow."
Lewis Hamilton (1st, 1:29.607): "It feels incredible to be on pole, just like it did back in 2007. We have the greatest Formula One fans in the world here in Britain and there was a great turnout today, which makes the atmosphere so special. My lap in Q3 was a lap for the fans out there around the circuit. I haven't been feeling comfortable in the car all weekend, so I was really happy to find a good lap and this feels fantastic. The team has done a phenomenal job and it's a great reward for the guys here at the track but also back at base, especially as our two factories are so close to the track. But we know that tomorrow is another day and our Sunday performance isn't quite as strong right now. Our long run pace looked ok yesterday and we were able to manage the tires quite well. It's going to be tough to keep Seb behind but we will give it everything we've got."
Nico Rosberg (2nd, 1:30.059): "A fantastic team result today and it's great to see how much progress we have made together since last year. The feeling of confidence that our car will be quick in qualifying is fantastic and I love going to a race knowing that we have a shot of a strong grid position. The team are doing a great job and we are keeping up the development so a big thank you to everyone at the factories, many of whom are here today watching. My lap was good and starting from the front row is great but Lewis did a fantastic job today. I hope we have improved our race pace; it will be all about tire management tomorrow and keeping the others behind us. I'm confident that we can get a good result."
Ross Brawn, Team Principal: "The team has worked incredibly well over the past few months to achieve a result like today's. We have been chipping away at the performance, quietly bringing new updates and continuing to push, while also focusing our efforts on how we could improve our tire management issues, and it seems to be paying off. The engineers and drivers got the cars into the perfect place for qualifying and, as the wind dropped towards the end of the session, both Lewis and Nico were able to deliver strong performances. Lewis put in a stunning lap at the end of the session and it's great to see him and Nico pushing each other so hard in every session. It will be more of a challenge to remain as competitive in the race but we gathered good information yesterday and hope to be able to build on that tomorrow."
Toto Wolff, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "A fantastic result for the entire team to take our third front row lockout this year. Fair, sporting competition is what Mercedes stands for and, while a lot has been said and written this weekend, the only thing that really matters is what happens out on track. The focus this afternoon should be on our drivers, Lewis and Nico, and on this fantastic team who have pushed so hard to keep developing the car in tough times and solve our problems. Lewis put in a mega lap: I don't know if it's the Silverstone factor or something else, but that was an incredible performance. Nico has been strong all weekend and second position gives us a great platform for the race tomorrow. Tomorrow should be warmer and we have struggled with race pace at some circuits so far this year. But the trend is going in the right direction, and I hope we can continue that tomorrow."
Nico Hulkenberg (15th, 1:32.211): "Unfortunately P15 is reality. It was more or less the best we could do today. The car was difficult to drive, especially at high speed with a little bit of wind the car is very sensitive. We are simply not quick enough. Of course, a lot can happen during the race tomorrow, and maybe a bit of English rain would help us. But I think points will be difficult, then again you should never say never."
Esteban Gutierrez (18th, 1:32.666): "Compared to the practice sessions yesterday, I think we made a step forward, but it's tricky because we find ourselves in a position where everything is on the limit. Whatever we do there is always a compromise to it, which is challenging. It seems I am losing a lot of time at the exit of the corners, and this is tricky, because that is usually when I try to push and get things right. I believe I did my best with overall good and consistent laps. But it is just not quick enough. This is something we have to evaluate and see what we can do to be better in order to progress."
Monisha Kaltenborn, Team Principal: "We can't be happy with a result like that. Nico did a good job, while Esteban was struggling. Of course, this is not the position you want to be in looking ahead to the race tomorrow. It won't be an easy race for us."
Tom McCullough, Head of Track Engineering: "We struggled with the car's balance in FP3, but were able to improve it for qualifying. P15 and P18 on the grid is clearly not where we want to be and will make the race difficult tomorrow. The current forecast is dry, so we will work hard tonight on the strategy in order to maximize our chances."
Paul di Resta (5th, 1:30.736): "I'm over the moon with the qualifying result and I think the whole team can feel very satisfied with fifth on the grid. The morning practice session was quite difficult so it feels great to come through and end up just behind two Mercedes and two Red Bulls. This track takes a lot of commitment and you need to build up your speed, but I think we saved our best till last – and that's when it mattered. For tomorrow our tire wear looks healthy and we've given ourselves a good opportunity to get in some clean air during the race. I will sleep well tonight and hope that we can have a straightforward race, and come away with lots of points."
Adrian Sutil (7th, 1:30.908): "Seventh place is a great result today. The car was not easy to drive this morning, but we made some improvements before qualifying and found more speed with each session. If we can do our homework tonight then we have the potential to have a great race. There are still some unknowns with the tires over long runs because I haven't really done more than ten laps on a set of tires, but I feel comfortable on both compounds. So we can be happy with the result, but we need to concentrate on tomorrow because that's what counts. In terms of strategy we need to keep an open mind and have several options going into the race so that we can react as the race develops."
Dr. Vijay Mallya, Team Principal: "I am delighted with today's qualifying result. The sun was shining, the grandstands were full, and we put on a fantastic show. Fifth place for Paul at his home Grand Prix is a tremendous effort, especially on this high-speed track, which has not been our strongest race in previous years. Adrian's seventh place confirms just how competitive we are this weekend and we know that we have good race pace. For tomorrow it's important that we maximize these starting positions and hopefully give our supporters and partners something to celebrate at our local race."
Pastor Maldonado (16th, 1:32.359): "We were expecting to be a bit closer to the top ten today, but we were struggling to put everything together in the car for one lap. Hopefully tomorrow we can work on our race pace and fight with the teams around us to move up a few positions. We need to keep improving as a team because we're not where we want to be still, but race by race we are aiming to close the gap."
Valtteri Bottas (17th, 1:32.664): "We were unlucky to miss out on Q2 today as I was very close to my teammate and we could have both made it through. There are always things you can do better during a lap but we didn't have the pace to be in the top ten today so we need to do everything we can to get closer. We will look at our strategy going into tomorrow and try to maximize our potential for the race."
Mike Coughlan, Technical Director: "It was a difficult session for us, after a promising FP3 we were expecting more from qualifying. In the high speed corners here we feel we are competitive but we still have work to do in the low speed sections. There is always a great crowd here at Silverstone and we are looking forward to the race tomorrow. We will be aiming to put on a good show for all our fans here supporting us at our home event."
Daniel Ricciardo (6th, 1:30.757): "Coming off the back of a bad couple of races, I expected to be strong here and I was more motivated than ever. However, if I'd been told I could be sixth this afternoon, I would have been surprised. We were very close to Di Resta in fifth, but we can be happy with this position. We showed good pace all weekend, including this morning when I was sixth, so it was nice to confirm that this afternoon. Now I am looking forward to the race when I hope I can come away with a good handful of points. I'd like to think I could finish at least in the same place I am starting from. It would be nice to do even better and I will be pushing hard to achieve that. I believe it will be a few degrees warmer tomorrow, which could make the track conditions change quite a lot. This is a very demanding circuit with lots of high speed corners, so the tires don't get much of a rest, therefore tire wear will be an important factor tomorrow."
Jean-Eric Vergne (13th, 1:31.785): "I made a mistake on my quick lap in Q2 and that's the plain fact and I'm very upset about it, as it lost me the chance to get into Q3 which was definitely possible. As to what happened when I got it wrong, I am not exactly sure what was the reason: maybe I was too close to Vettel in front of me, but I felt I lost downforce and then just went straight on. Anyway, I am not looking for excuses. The car was working well, as it has done all weekend, so now I must make up for it in the race tomorrow. Looking at Daniel's performance this afternoon, it's a good sign as it shows the car is quick and we will have something to work with tomorrow afternoon. I think it's still feasible to have a good race tomorrow and to bring home points."
James Key, Technical Director: "It's good to have got through to Q3 with one car here. We've been reasonably on the pace right from the start of the weekend, even if neither driver has been completely happy with the balance of the car. However that did not stop them from setting what we consider a competitive lap time. We were not sure what to expect at Silverstone, as it's such a different track to the last three venues, especially to Monaco and Montreal. We did a lot of work to ensure we had the car in its sweet-spot for here and that paid off. Daniel did a fantastic job to get to Q3 and then to P6 completely on merit, while it was a great shame for Jev, who had matched Daniel's pace all weekend but just did not get the maximum out of his Q2 lap. Overall, it shows that the steps forward we are making on the performance front are working consistently and a two car points finish is a realistic target tomorrow."
Charles Pic (19th, 1:33.866): "The final lap in quali is one of my best laps of the year so far so I'm very pleased with how today's gone. We made some good progress in FP3 with the balance and that carried over to qualifying, and breaking into the 1.33s and finishing ahead of the Marussias was about as much as we aimed for today, so it's gone to plan. It changes from race to race but it does look like we have a small advantage over our nearest rivals this weekend, but having seen good race pace all year I'd like to think we'll be fighting with a couple of cars ahead as well in the race tomorrow. We've been close to the Williams cars this year in a few races so with a good start, decent deg levels and no reliability issues tomorrow could be a good day."
Giedo van der Garde (21st, 1:35.481): "It's been an interesting day as we ran a different plan to the normal FP3 and then did just the one run in quali. It's finally dry so we used some of FP3 for aero evaluation and then switched to race prep, bearing in mind the penalty from the last race which meant we knew pretty much where we'd end up in quali. We worked a lot on managing the tire degradation, not really looking at quali at all but we still ended up beating one of the Marussia cars in quali which was a bonus, but really today's all been about getting ready for Sunday. I think we're in pretty good shape now and after the work we did today the degradation levels look manageable, even with the warmer track conditions we had today and which it looks like we'll have tomorrow, and we have a good setup for the race so let's see what happens."
Jules Bianchi (20th, 1:34.108): "It's good to have one Caterham behind us but less good to have one ahead. In the short space of time that we have had to work on our dry set-up, I don't think we are quite there yet, so we'll be spending the time we have now to see what we can do to give us the best chance for tomorrow."
Max Chilton (22nd, 1:35.858): "Today was a challenging day. We had some work to do this morning trying to get the balance right and it felt like we had made a good step forward, but so did everyone else. We still have quite a bit of work to do but our race pace yesterday looked more promising, so that's what we'll focus on now. We'll do what we can to have a better race tomorrow."
John Booth, Team Principal: "Following on from yesterday we had two differing car balances to contend with and Jules was slightly happier with his car than Max. We made some changes to Max's car in order to equal up the set-ups, however this morning both cars appeared to be suffering with balance issues. During and after FP3, the engineers and crews worked hard to make significant changes to the cars to gradually improve the balance, however at the end of our qualifying session we still have two cars for which the balance is less than perfect. Overall we are slightly disappointed with the result and need to understand how we can improve our pace in qualifying. For tomorrow it looks like we will have a better race set-up and I am sure that with the top speed we have and the improvements we have made to our race pace, we can have a better day. It looks like the race will be dry and temperatures up from today and these conditions should suit us better."
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