It's a 1-2 start for the Mercedes-AMG F1 team as Valtteri Bottas beat teammate Lewis Hamilton to the pole position in the Formula 1 70th Anniversary Grand Prix at Silverstone. The driver secured his second pole of the season after the Austrian GP setting a time of 1m25.154s, 0.063s faster than Hamilton. However, it was Nico Hulkenberg of Racing Point who secures a shocking third-place start in the race tomorrow, 0.928s off the leader. Hulkenberg was a last-minute replacement for Sergio Perez in the team last week after the latter tested positive for COVID-19. The promising start does emerge as a relief for the team that was recently reprimanded, fined and had a points deduction by the FIA.
The 70th Anniversary GP weekend saw the teams reshuffle their tyre arrangement, especially after the tense final laps of last weekend's British GP. The top 10 drivers qualified on soft tyres barring Red Bull's Max Verstappen, who starts on medium rubber. Hamilton led the qualifying for the first set of flying laps on softs followed by Bottas. The team decided to switch to mediums for the final session that really allowed Bottas to push his efforts further to take the pole over his teammate. The driver improved his pace incredibly in the second sector that made all the difference, even as Hamilton remained the fastest in the first and third sectors of the track.
Hulkenberg made it count in the final seconds of the qualifying session as he sprinted to take P3, beating Verstappen by 0.094s. Renault's Daniel Ricciardo starts at P5 after running on mediums throughout, ahead of Lance Stroll in the second RP20. AlphaTauri driver Pierre Gasly starts at P7 in the race tomorrow, ahead of Ferrari's Charles Leclerc and Red Bull's Alex Albon. McLaren driver Lando Norris rounded the top 10 in the qualifying session.
Renault driver Esteban Ocon starts at P11 and set his personal best time on the final lap, but is currently under investigation for blocking George Russell on the Wellington straight midway in Q1. Sebastian Vettel in the second Ferrari could manage only P12 despite running on softs, while Carlos Sainz Jr. of McLaren starts at P13, failing to make it to Q3 for the first time this season.
Haas driver Romain Grosjean starts at P14, ahead of George Russell of Williams who made it into Q2 once again while running on soft tyres. Daniil Kvyat in the AlphaTauri couldn't better his time in Q1 and starts at P16 despite a late improvement. His final lap was deleted for exceeding track limits. Kevin Magnussen of Haas and Nicholas Latifi of Williams start at P17 and P18, ahead of the Alfa Romeo cars driven by Antonio Giovinazzi and Kimi Raikkonen.