F1 2019 British Grand Prix: Bottas Claims Pole by a Whisker

f1chronicle-2019 British Grand Prix, Saturday - Valtteri Bottas (image courtesy Mercedes-AMG Petronas)

Watching the best drivers in the world tackle the challenge of a low-fuel, top speed run around the legendary high-speed Silverstone circuit is one of the highpoints of the Formula 1 season. Today’s qualifying session lived up to expectations in terms of excitement, while producing a somewhat unexpected top ten order on the grid for tomorrow’s FORMULA 1 ROLEX BRITISH GRAND PRIX 2019.

Yes, Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport locked out the front row for the seventh time this season (the 64th in its history,) but it was Valtteri Bottas who disappointed the British crowd, relegating their favourite Lewis Hamilton to second place. It’s the first time the Finn has been on pole since the Spanish Grand Prix in early May. Just six-thousandths of a second, a veritable whisker, or put it another way, 41 centimetres, separated the team-mates: 1.25.093 for Bottas, 1.25.099 for the local hero. And in third place, Charles Leclerc was only 79 thousandths slower than pole.

“When I got the radio call that I qualified on pole, I was just really happy – I’ve been missing this feeling. It’s very difficult to beat Lewis here, he’s always very strong in Silverstone. My lap wasn’t perfect, there was still some margin left to improve, but no one got a perfect lap together, so it was enough in the end. I now have to make good use of the pole; Lewis’ race pace has been really strong this year, so I’m sure it’ll be a good fight tomorrow. Charles will also be a threat, especially in the beginning of the race because he’s starting on the softer tyres. We are starting on the Mediums, which will make the start tricky, but should be the better choice in the long run. I’m looking forward to the race, it should be good fun,” said Bottas. 

These figures alone are enough to demonstrate just what an amazing qualifying session it was and what a great show it was for the fantastic Silverstone crowd and the many celebrities visiting the track today – the musicians Mabel and Mumford & Sons, the actor Tom Holland, the model Daily Lowe and cycling champion Chris Hoy, to name but a few.

Mercedes must therefore be considered strong favourites for the race win, partly because they start on the Medium tyres, having used them, as indeed did the Aston Martin Red Bull Racing duo, to make the cut into Q3. Their race pace on Friday, would seem to rule out any surprises, but it’s also true that Scuderia Ferrari today seemed to have closed significantly on the championship leaders. Managing to qualify ahead of Leclerc is a good break for the two Mercedes men.

Leclerc, having set a very good time on his first Q2 run on the yellow-banded tyres, then improved on his second one, when he used the Softs. The Monegasque driver will start from the top three for the fourth consecutive time and for a while seemed to be heading for his third pole, but he lost out in the very last corners on the lap. Leclerc can nevertheless be pleased with third place, given how close he is to the Mercedes duo, but the same cannot be said for his team-mate. Sebastian Vettel had to settle for sixth place with a lap in 1.25.787. This is the third time in a row that he has qualified out of the top five. Given the tyre strategy the team adopted in Q2, it’s possible Ferrari are hoping for an early lap advantage on the Softs, but it does suggest the Italian team would have to pit its cars more than once to make that work.

Splitting the two Prancing Horse cars, we have the Red Bull duo; Max Verstappen fourth (1.25.276) and a resurgent Pierre Gasly fifth (1.25.590). The Renault team can also be satisfied with having both its drivers in the top half of the grid, with Daniel Ricciardo seventh fastest (1.26.182) and Nico Hulkenberg at the bottom of the top ten with a best time of 1.26.386.

The McLaren team enjoyed mixed fortunes this afternoon, as the consistent Lando Norris was eighth fastest (1.26.224) for his first home F1 race, while his team mate Carlos Sainz was knocked out at the end of Q2 and will start the race in 13th position. Another of this year’s impressive rookies, Alex Albon snatched ninth spot (1.26.345) in the final moments for Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda. This is the Thai driver’s second Q3 appearance after making the cut in Monaco.

Nevertheless, tomorrow’s race result is not a foregone conclusion, partly because there are various possible strategies. According to information supplied by Pirelli, the quickest way to the chequered flag is a two-stop strategy, running the first two stints on the Soft tyres before fitting the Hards to run to the end. However, even the option of using all three available compounds looks to be an option. Whatever turns out to be the winning plan and, bearing in mind the possibility of rain, which is always a possibility in this part of the world even if it does not currently feature in the forecast, a thrilling afternoon of racing is definitely on the cards.

Leave a Comment

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Recommended For You

2021 Formula 1 Podcast | Grid Talk Ep 122 | 2021 British Grand Prix Review

Formula 1 Grid Talk Episode 122: 2021 British Grand Prix Review

Welcome to Episode 122 of our Formula 1 podcast, Grid ...
2021 British Grand Prix Sprint Qualifying Race - Max Verstappen (image courtesy Red Bull Racing)

Max Verstappen Sprints To A Super Pole Ahead of Hamilton And Bottas At Silverstone!

Max Verstappen was seen waving his hands at the end ...
Formula 1 Podcast | Grid Talk Ep 121 | 2021 British Grand Prix Sprint Qualifying Analysis

Formula 1 Grid Talk Episode 121: 2021 British Grand Prix Sprint Qualifying Review

Welcome to Episode 121 of our Formula 1 podcast, Grid ...
Formula 1 Podcast | Grid Talk Ep 120 | 2021 British Grand Prix Preview

Formula 1 Grid Talk Episode 120: 2021 British Grand Prixview

Welcome to Episode 120 of our Formula 1 podcast, Grid ...
70th Anniversary Grand Prix, Sunday - Max Verstappen (image courtesy Red Bull Racing)

How Max Verstappen Ran The Bull-Run Over ‘Hammertime’ At 70th Anniversary Grand Prix

It’s not every day that a driver ends up denying ...

More in News

2021 Russian Grand Prix, Friday - Valtteri Bottas (image courtesy Mercedes-AMG Petronas)

Valtteri Bottas Flying On Day 1 In Russia

It was a strong Friday showing for the Mercedes-AMG Petronas ...
SOCHI, RUSSIA - SEPTEMBER 24: Pierre Gasly of France driving the (10) Scuderia AlphaTauri AT02 Honda during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Russia at Sochi Autodrom on September 24, 2021 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool // SI202109240342 // Usage for editorial use only //

Pierre Gasly Third Fastest On Opening Day At Sochi

With Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc set to start at ...
SOCHI, RUSSIA - SEPTEMBER 24: Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (33) Red Bull Racing RB16B Honda during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Russia at Sochi Autodrom on September 24, 2021 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool // SI202109240101 // Usage for editorial use only //

Max Verstappen Takes Engine Penalty, Set To Start At Back Of The Field

Max Verstappen has changed his engine ahead of the FORMULA ...
Lando Norris, Mclaren Mcl35m Side On

Lando Norris Feeling Confident After Day 1 In Sochi

McLaren's Lando Norris is feeling confident after a P4 finish ...
Motor Racing Formula One World Championship Russian Grand Prix Practice Day Sochi, Russia

Alpine Put Both Cars In Top 10 On Day 1

Alpine F1 Team finished with both cars inside the top ...

Trending on F1 Chronicle