Bottas revels in Silverstone thrill

Finn pips home favourite Hamilton to pole as Mercedes lock out front row for seventh race

SILVERSTONE (England) • Valtteri Bottas upstaged his teammate Lewis Hamilton by a mere 0.006sec yesterday as Mercedes locked out the front row of the grid for the seventh time this season in today's British Grand Prix.

The Finn, 31 points adrift of defending champion Hamilton (197) in the Formula One title race, set a track record of 1min 25.093sec to outpace the local hero on a cloudy afternoon at Silverstone.

Charles Leclerc of Ferrari was third, 0.079sec behind Bottas, ahead of the Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Pierre Gasly, with four-time champion Sebastian Vettel sixth in the second Ferrari.

Bottas' success brought him his first British pole position. It was also his fourth pole in 10 races this season, more than any other driver, and career 10th.

"It was really good and it reminds me of why we do this," said Bottas, who has two wins this year, including one from pole in Azerbaijan.

"It's been really close with Lewis all weekend and I am really happy to get such a good lap and pole.

  • BRITISH GP GRID

  • 1ST ROW

    1 Valtteri Bottas (Fin) Mercedes 2 Lewis Hamilton (Gbr) Mercedes

    2ND ROW

    3 Charles Leclerc (Mon) Ferrari 4 Max Verstappen (Ned) Red Bull

    3RD ROW

    5 Pierre Gasly (Fra) Red Bull 6 Sebastian Vettel (Ger) Ferrari

    4TH ROW

    7 Daniel Ricciardo (Aus) Renault   8 Lando Norris (Gbr) McLaren

    5TH ROW

    9 Alexander Albon (Tha) Toro Rosso   10 Nico Hulkenberg (Ger) Renault

    SELECTED

    12 Kimi Raikkonen (Fin) Alfa Romeo

"I knew the first lap was good but it wasn't perfect and, honestly, I should've improved in the second run and I'm glad it was enough.

"It's not easy to get a quick lap together and it's very easy to do mistakes."

Two weeks after the heat-wave conditions in the Styrian Alps at the Austrian race, the session began in cool and overcast conditions in front of packed grandstands with a little hint of sunshine.

SPEED KING

It was really good and it reminds me of why we do this. It's been really close with Lewis all weekend and I am really happy to get such a good lap and pole.

VALTTERI BOTTAS, Mercedes driver, after winning his fourth pole, the most of any driver this season.

The track temperature fell to 28 deg C, around 30 below that recorded in Austria.

Hamilton also kept his cool despite two slight mistakes and remains well-placed for a record sixth home win and 80th of his career.

He said: "Congratulations to Valtteri. He did a really good job.

"I sacrificed a lap in Q2, which would have helped get a reading of how the car was. And then just at the end, I had that mistake on the first lap and the second one just wasn't that great.

"But this is the best grand prix of the year because of the energy this crowd and all these people bring."

It was Mercedes' 64th front-row lockout and Leclerc admitted that Ferrari have much to do.

The Monaco driver said: "Mercedes turned up the engine a little bit and they were so good in the corners, which we know we need to work on."

Vettel, last season's runner-up, has yet to win in nine races this term and is already 74 points behind Hamilton.

The German, who did not complete qualifying in Austria owing to a mechanical problem, was again not pleased with his car.

"I've had worse ones but at least I took part," he said in jest. "I don't know, I didn't have the speed. I guess it's pretty clear you go faster from Q1 to Q3 without doing anything but we didn't do that today. I didn't have a good feeling for the car.

"He (Leclerc) did a good job. Mercs will be quick but race pace will be fine, I think. It will be a tough battle between us and the Red Bulls."

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE


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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on July 14, 2019, with the headline 'Bottas revels in Silverstone thrill'. Print Edition | Subscribe