Valtteri Bottas pips Lewis Hamilton to British Grand Prix pole position�
Press Association Luke Slater, live updates
...and the Cricket World Cup final but the British Grand Prix tomorrow will be worth a watch. Thanks for joining me today, I'll be back tomorrow early afternoon for more of the same from the race. Can Hamilton write himself into the history books (again?), can Bottas get his season back on track? Or can a Red Bull (I mean Verstappen) or a Ferrari (Leclerc) get in the mix?
I make today the smallest pole position margin for nearly a decade, since Vettel beat Alonso to pole at Hockenheim in 2010 by 0.002s #BritishGP
At least I took part! I just didn't have the speed, I guess. Usually it's pretty clear that you go faster from Q2 to Q3 but that didn't happen today. It's a bit strange. It didn't come. I think he did a good job but for me I don't have an answer. He seems to gain a bit everywhere. I didn't have a great feeling this afternoon and part of it...around here, you need to have a good feeling to throw the track from one side to the other.
He says the race should be better for them but that it could be a battle with the Red Bulls.
He will be in the mix tomorrow. Strategy could decide it, yes, but there are plenty of overtaking opportunities at Silverstone.
Yes and no. The championship certainly needed what we got today. Bottas had lagged behind Hamilton a bit but beating Hamilton at Austria was at least something and taking pole here, his fourth of the season, is also a big moment. Hamilton was so thrilled to get pole here last year and seemed a little deflated in the post-qualifying interviews.
It's significant that Leclerc was able to challenge them, too, and being within 0.079s is a good effort. Especially as Vettel was nowhere, being both Red Bulls. Even two tenths down on Gasly. Very strange.
They were very, very quick, also around the corners. This was the best we could do today.
He, too, gets a good reception from the fans.
Firstly, congratulations to Valtteri. Ultimately [I was] not good enough. It got a bit away from us. Sacrificed a lap in Q2. I had that mistake on the first lap and the second one wasn't that great. It's a long race tomorrow. We've got a good crowd here so hopefully I can do something for them.
It feels really good. Again, just reminds me why you do this. It's been pretty close all weekend today with Lewis. Just really happy to get a good lap and get pole. I knew that the first lap was good and it was not perfect. I should have improved on the second run...I didn't get the lap together. Everyone was struggling a bit.
Just 0.183 down from Bottas. Top four separated by that time. Gasly again several tenths down but at least ahead of Vettel who had a very strange Saturday indeed. Bottas not the man the home crowd wanted to see on pole but he gets a big cheer anyway.
His first lap was the one. Hamilton could not find the time he needed. Bottas really needed that. Really. Leclerc almost had it but not quite. Vettel nowhere, really, behind both Red Bulls...Ricciardo seventh, Norris eighth.
Hamilton still down in the middle sector...Bottas not improving. Hamilton can't take pole...he was 0.006s down! Leclerc is still going...and he could do it. Can he?!
NO! 0.079s down! Wow. That was close. So close.
Hamilton is down in the first sector...Bottas is also down, they are several tenths off! Leclerc has gone quickest, though in sector one!
Has the track worsened? A few struggled to match their Q2 times but Bottas improved by over 0.6s! Hamilton needs a lap without an error to take pole. Bottas needs another quick lap. It could be close. Can Leclerc have a decent lap and challenge?
...he goes P8 but ahead of Nico Hulkenberg, decent-ish. Albon goes 10th but he hasn't found any extra time from Q2, really. 10th is about as much as he can achieve here, you'd think.
NOR (no time)
ALB (no time)
Well, the difference here is that Ferrari have not improved on their Q2 times whereas Bottas has found 0.6s from Q2 to Q3. Vettel is also 0.3s down in his Q2 time. Strange, given he's on the quicker tyres. Leclerc phones in on the radio and says hemade a mistake by trying something which didn't work. Reckon Vettel must have done the same as well, surely.
Gasly goes into P3 but is bumped down by Verstappen with another strong lap from the Dutchman. 0.3s ahead. Where will Ferrari be? Well, Leclerc is 0.5s down and Vettel is nearly 0.7s down. What's happened there? If one of them made an error then fair enough but that's a bit baffling.
1.25.3 for Hamilton but 1.25.093 for Bottas to go into provisional pole! The mistake was the difference there as Hamilton got very sideways going into Luffield. Could it even have cost him more time than that?
Hamilton goes wide through Brooklands and into Luffield. That has cost him a tenth or two for sure...Bottas was close after the first sector. Indeed, he's three tenths down in Bottas on that sector!
...but not if it was Leclerc.
Quick runs underway now...
12 minutes to go. Who is going to be the pole man?
...makes it interesting. Sets it up nicely for tomorrow.
Meanwhile Cheeky Kevin Magnussen is cheeky, speaking to Sky Sports F1 after a tough lap. "Where does that leave you for the race?" he is asked. "16th," he answers bluntly. Tough times.
All these are through to Q3 and in with a (theoretical) chance of pole.
An improved performance from Renault to get both drivers through and they look likely to beat McLaren here now, with Ricciardo a tenth ahead of Norris. Another find performance from the teenager, though.
That's not too bad from Alfa, a bit poor from Sainz. He didn't improve on his second timed lap, down in all three sectors. Not sure if he hit traffic or if it was just a scruffy lap. Either way disappointing.
Perez looking like he's not going to improve with a slow second sector...would be a big ask now. He doesn't...Leclerc puts in the quickest first sector, much quicker than Bottas...and Hamilton...
Giovinazzi gets through! Raikkonen moves up to 10th. Sainz has a bad lap and cannot get out. Albon finds a tenth or two and makes it through...Norris finds enough time to join Albon and make it one McLaren through. Leclerc improved and will start on the soft...
Vettel going well but cannot afford a mistake...what can he do? It's fifth! He's through. Phew...but still nearly 0.5s down on Leclerc.
All 15 drivers out there. Everyone going for the softs! Apart from Lewis Hamilton. I mean, Hamilton is obviously safe and it may be a precautionary measure for some of them due to track evolution but it could lead to some mixed tyre strategies for tomorrow. And on a track that is as hard on the tyres as this one, that could be interesting...
...he's still bottom of the pack. Ted Kravitz does inform us that Vettel was indeed set on an old set of softs. Suggests he'll on the mediums for his final run. "I don't understand what's going on," Grosjean says on the radio. He is not the only one at Haas who is confused by it all.
...and goes to P4, aheadof his team-mate. All the top five set their times on the mediums. Everyone else on the softs, including Vettel. Perhaps it was a used set of softs for Vettel...but how used? And why would they even try that if he had to start the race on them? Curious.
Drivers in the drop zone:
Verstappen tries another lap on the mediums...
Vettel on the soft tyre...he's going for a first hot lap on them...and if he sets his fastest lap in this session he'll start the race on them. Well, he's 0.7s in the first two sectors...and completes the lap but only goes eighth quickest on the soft tyres. Bit weird. Is something up? Can't quite work out what's happened there as it is in effect 1.3s off Leclerc's time when you include the tyre differential.
...and it's a 1.25.840 on the mediums. Bottas only 0.048 behind, so a decent lap from him after a tough Q1 relative to Hamilton. Ricciardo sets a decent lap on the softs to go third. Leclerc flying again...he goes quickest by nearly two tenths! Looks like that Ferrari pace is genuine!
Is it like the aged golfer who is awful off the tee but one putts most holes? Or the bloke playing darts who can't score for toffee but always finds the double? Neither really. He's a professional racing driver and needs to improve his one-lap pace.
And the dark clouds are gathering, so that gets quite a few of them out early. Both Mercedes on the medium tyres, which is probably the tyre they will want to start the race on. Can they find enough pace to get them comfortably through though? Cool-ish conditions out there now.
Enough to challenge Mercedes? They set their quickest times on the slower medium tyres. Mercedes probably holding something back, you'd think. But it's still an unknown at the moment. And that's promising.
That was Lance Stroll's 14th Q1 elimination in a row. Sure, he was in a very poor Williams for a few of those but most of have been in 2019. It's unacceptable. He's a decent racer but his one-lap pace is arguably the worst in the field.
All these lads are through to Q2.
Stroll cannot improve! He's out in Q1 again. Kvyat cannot improve either, he's out too! Perez is going for it...can he make it through? Yes! Just. By 0.013 seconds! That drops Kevin Magnussen down...and out...and he had to abort his final lap. Another session to forget for Haas.
...and chewing through another set of tyres. Vettel does the same but on the soft tyres. Hamilton stays in as does Leclerc. Verstappen staying in as well.
Hulkenberg finds a bit of time but perhaps not enough. He only moves up to 12th and is in danger of getting knocked out. Grosjean looking a bit better and should get through but he's only a few tenths ahead of the drop. I think it'll be a case of who joins Racing Point and Williams...
This is going to be, as ever, a frantic final couple of minutes. Think everyone down from Gasly has at least some danger of going out. Sainz and Norris safe at 0.6 and 0.7s off the lead? Maybe...
Drivers currently in danger are Kvyat, Stroll, Perez, Russell and Kubica.
Racing Point predictably struggling, but Stroll isn't too far away from P15. It's going to be quite close at the back end of the midfield and to get through to Q2. Verstappen has moved up to third, ahead of Bottas. McLaren look decent again here, can they out-qualify one or two Red Bulls? Grosjean doing everything he can to get himself out of the elimination zone...and he does! Just. But Haas don't look super quick here...
Times tumbling. Leclerc has another go on the same tyres and looked to go quicker but had a bit of a poor final sector and was 0.020s slower. Don't think they'll run again.
...as was Vettel's. Mercedes using soft tyres for their runs. Hamilton is about to beat them all, but only by just over a tenth despite having the quicker tyres. Bottas, though, couldn't make his lap work and is two tenths behind his team-mate. I think the softs haven't really been working too well on this surface, though.
Drivers in the drop zone:
...the first of the frontrunners to do so. Quite a few drivers setting second timed laps in one run. Leclerc the quicker Ferrari at the moment, though. Vettel will go quickest but Leclerc is well up on him and is flying.
Vettel makes an error somwhere, though and is only third before Leclerc smashes that with a 1.25.628...to go quickest ahead of Lando Norris.
That camera position through Maggotts, Becketts and Chapel is just brilliant. Every year, without fail. Giovinazzi the first one to set a time, but he's soon beaten by Raikkonen and then Albon with a 1.27.289. Decent, beats his team-mate by over a tenth.
Norris then goes quickest before both Haas cars beat him. That doesn't last long, mind you, as Sainz pips them all with a 1.26.689...time for the big guns.
A few cars quite eager to get out there early, including both Renaults.
Qualifying at Silverstone is on! The stands are packed. 18 minutes to go.
Hard to look beyond Mercedes, isn't it? But it's quite windy out there and the new track surface caused problems yesterday and a little sprinkling of rain today perhaps means some of that rubbering-in will have been eradicated. Looks like it'll be two Williams, two Racing Points and one Haas knocked out. Maybe. Seems likely, anyway. Hamilton for pole? Norris for top six? Will Gasly beat Verstappen?
...consider that a warning.
Norris has been the standout driver of the rookies in 2019. Despite some bad luck at various points in Canada and France, he has put in quick qualifying times and in Austria he delivered another superb performance. Earlier this week he was confirmed for McLaren for 2020, alongside Carlos Sainz. But what makes the man (he is still a teenager) tick? Oliver Brown sat down with him to find out.
...at the moment. And his win for Red Bull in Austria was a landmark moment for Honda as it was their first win in F1 since 2006's Hungarian Grand Prix. But has partnering with Honda - after 12 years with Renault - got Red Bull closer to the top two? It's a mixed answer.
By any standards, Hamilton has a peripatetic existence: indeed, he has only been back in the country a couple of days, having attended comedian Kevin Harts 40thbirthday party in Los Angeles. Such freedom is the product of a pact with his team principal, Toto Wolff, who knows that his rock star driver operates best when he is allowed to indulge his extramural interests in fashion and music. But Wolff touched recently upon the central Hamilton paradox: that while he is surely the finest British active sportsman, he remains strikingly unappreciated in his homeland.
Below are 2019's raw pace rankings, calculated by taking each team's quickestlap time of the weekend and expressed as a percentage of the overall quickest lap. So, if a team sets the fastest qualifying lap of a race weekend, they get a rating of 100.000%. This has been averaged out across 10 rounds in 2019.
Mercedes - 100.119%
Red Bull - 100.915%
McLaren - 101.789%
Haas - 101.863%
Renault - 101.924%
Toro Rosso - 102.098%
Alfa Romeo - 102.183%
Racing Point - 102.477%
Williams - 104.655%
As you can see, the top three teams are fairly spread aout, with a gap of around 0.4 per cent (or 0.4s on a 1min40 second lap) throughout the season. Then it's super tight from McLaren to Alfa Romeo, with a gap of 0.394 per cent. Racing Point are further back still, and haven't ranked higher than the eighth quickest team in qualifying since Azerbaijan, and Williams are in a league of their own.
Haas are really not returning on their raw pace, either. In fact their race performance is an absolute nightmare at the moment.
I mean, Italy runs it very close, for sure and in some ways Italian fans are unbeatable. But it's a different type of crowd. Less partisan, perhaps. Knowledgeable, sure. Hundreds of thousands of them come rain or shine? Definitely.
I dunno, when watching this race on the TV as a kid, this race just felt a lot more real than the others. It probably helped that it was just up the road from me, mind you.
...this lot, preceded by the flat-out Copse beforehand is just...breathtaking to even watch. Wonder what it's like to drive?
Yes, you did read that correctly. The man is having a nightmare season. This year a lot of is down to the Haas being a curate's egg. Well, a curate's egg might be quicker in race trim than their 2019 car. A man who has not been short of an embarrassing errorrecently he beat all his previous efforts with this bizarre spin in the pit lane in practice yesterday. Oh, Romain.
Well, it's definitely up there with the best. It's high-speed but not Monza high-speed. No, more flowing than that. More variable. It's flat and it's flat out. It has history. And overtaking spots. So, here, have an on-board pole lap from Nico Rosberg in 2014. A bit quicker now, but still mightily quick then.
Also, the new track layout is superb and it got rid of the Michael Mouse "complex" section at the end of the track.
Charles Leclerc (Mon) Ferrari 1min 25.905secs
Sebastian Vettel (Ger) Ferrari 1:25.931
Lewis Hamilton (Gbr) Mercedes GP 1:25.954
Pierre Gasly (Fra) Red Bull 1:26.118
Max Verstappen (Ned) Red Bull 1:26.440
Valtteri Bottas (Fin) Mercedes GP 1:26.456
Lando Norris (Gbr) McLaren 1:26.689
Nico Hulkenburg (Ger) Renault 1:26.945
Daniel Ricciardo (Aus) Renault 1:26.965
Alexander Albon (Tha) Scuderia Toro Rosso 1:26.976
Antonio Giovinazzi (Ita) Alfa Romeo Racing 1:27.036
Carlos Sainz Jr (Spa) McLaren 1:27.106
Daniil Kyvat (Rus) Scuderia Toro Rosso 1:27.108
Romain Grosjean (Fra) Haas F1 1:27.110
Kevin Magnussen (Den) Haas F1 1:27.275
Kimi Raikkonen (Fin) Alfa Romeo Racing 1:27.424
Lance Stroll (Can) Racing Point 1:27.544
Sergio Perez (Mex) Racing Point 1:27.598
George Russell (Gbr) Williams 1:29.065
Robert Kubica (Pol) Williams 1:29.450
Good afternoon F1 fans.Welcome to our coverage for British Grand Prix qualifying. Are Ferrari in the hunt for pole position? Before today you'd have said it was an outside chance, but in final practice they were the two quickest cars. A caveat that it wasn't a "normal" final practice session as it was rain-affected and with running that was a little limited.
Still, it wasn't that wet and it really turned into a 30-minute session once things had dried up enough. After their strong weekend in Austria last time around, we can only hope for some kind of continued revival at Ferrari. There are fewer slow-speed corners at Silverstone and that has been their biggest weakness so far in 2019. But obviously you discount Mercedes at your peril and it'd still be a surprise if one of them wasn't on pole. Lewis Hamilton, too, was within a tenth of Charles Leclerc's quickest time.
Elsewhere,Pierre Gasly (fourth) continued his encouraging weekend with another session ahead of team-mate Max Verstappen (fifth), making it three in a row here. He is the driver under the most pressure on the grid currently and he really needs a strong weekend, especially after being lapped by Verstappen in Austria as the Dutchman triumphed. Red Bull have a decent race car so a strong performance in Saturday, ideally ahead of Verstappen, could give Gasly a necessary confidence boost.
Lando Norris continued his impressive season, on the back of his confirmation at McLaren for next year, with seventh. Is it possible to have a couple of Britons in the top eight? With the way Norris is driving at the moment it's likely. The weather forecast is largely fine, a bit overcast with only a very small chance of rain during qualifying.
As ever, I'll be here for the next couple of hours with all the build-up, latest updates and reaction from qualifying on one of the finest tracks on the calendar. Can't wait.