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Qualifying analysis - can mighty Mercedes go the distance? 29 Jun 2013

Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W04 and pole sitter Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W04 in parc ferme.
Formula One World Championship, Rd8, British Grand Prix, Qualifying, Silverstone, England, Saturday, 29 June 2013 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 at the autograph session.
Formula One World Championship, Rd8, British Grand Prix, Qualifying, Silverstone, England, Saturday, 29 June 2013 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB9.
Formula One World Championship, Rd8, British Grand Prix, Qualifying, Silverstone, England, Saturday, 29 June 2013 Paul di Resta (GBR) Force India VJM06.
Formula One World Championship, Rd8, British Grand Prix, Qualifying, Silverstone, England, Saturday, 29 June 2013 Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR8.
Formula One World Championship, Rd8, British Grand Prix, Qualifying, Silverstone, England, Saturday, 29 June 2013 Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Lotus F1 and fans at the autograph session.
Formula One World Championship, Rd8, British Grand Prix, Qualifying, Silverstone, England, Saturday, 29 June 2013 Ferrari logo.
Formula One World Championship, Rd8, British Grand Prix, Qualifying, Silverstone, England, Saturday, 29 June 2013 Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren MP4-28.
Formula One World Championship, Rd8, British Grand Prix, Qualifying, Silverstone, England, Saturday, 29 June 2013 Esteban Gutierrez (MEX) Sauber C32.
Formula One World Championship, Rd8, British Grand Prix, Qualifying, Silverstone, England, Saturday, 29 June 2013 Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Williams FW35.
Formula One World Championship, Rd8, British Grand Prix, Qualifying, Silverstone, England, Saturday, 29 June 2013 Charles Pic (FRA) Caterham CT03.
Formula One World Championship, Rd8, British Grand Prix, Qualifying, Silverstone, England, Saturday, 29 June 2013 Max Chilton (GBR) Marussia F1 Team MR02.
Formula One World Championship, Rd8, British Grand Prix, Qualifying, Silverstone, England, Saturday, 29 June 2013

The perfect weather at Silverstone enabled teams to complete their various programmes in FP3, which was momentarily red flagged after Sergio Perez’s McLaren suffered a left-rear Pirelli hard-compound tyre failure, caused by a cut in the sidewall. Qualifying was run without a hitch, but was tarnished for Force India when Paul di Resta’s fifth-fastest car was found to be 1.5 kg below the minimum weight of 642 kg, thus consigning him to a back-row start for his home race. We take a team-by-team look at the Saturday formbook…

Mercedes
Lewis Hamilton, 1m 29.607s, P1
Nico Rosberg, 1m 30.059s, P2

Mercedes’ qualifying pace was back with a vengeance at Silverstone, where Hamilton was also back on top form. He and Rosberg were closely matched for most of practice and qualifying, until the former pulled out a stunning second-run performance to take pole comfortably. How the F1 W04’s treat their tyres in the race will be crucial, however, and remains the unknown quantity.

Red Bull
Sebastian Vettel, 1m 30.211s, P2
Mark Webber, 1m 30.220s, P4

Red Bull just didn’t have the pace to oust Mercedes, but neither Vettel nor Webber seemed too troubled. Clearly they believe that the silver arrows will wear out their tyres sooner and that this will give them the advantage in the race.

Force India
Paul di Resta, 1m 30.736s, P5, will start P22
Adrian Sutil, 1m 30.908s, P7, will start P6

Di Resta looked good all through practice and qualifying and got the job done beautifully for Force India. But for the third race in a row it appears the team let him down; this time his car was found to be 1.5 kg below the 642 kg minimum weight, so the stewards put him to the back of the grid. Sutil was at least a beneficiary, and from sixth on the grid has a strong chance of fighting for a podium finish.

Toro Rosso
Daniel Ricciardo, 1m 30.757s, P6, will start P5
Jean-Eric Vergne, 1m 31.785s, P13, will start P12

The Toro Rossos have looked strong all weekend and Ricciardo got sixth fastest time out of his after a great performance. Force India’s indiscretion elevates him to fifth, making him a podium contender too. Team mate Vergne looked quick at times too, but couldn’t put the fast lap together when it mattered in Q2.

Lotus
Romain Grosjean, 1m 30.955s, P8, will start P7
Kimi Raikkonen, 1m 30.962s, P9, will start P8

Lotus were disappointed with eighth and ninth places, Grosjean continuing with the new aero bodywork and Raikkonen with the ‘Device’, a form of passive double DRS, which they will race for the first time on Sunday. But the good news is that it will be much hotter tomorrow, which should play to the black and gold cars’ strengths.

Ferrari
Fernando Alonso, 1m 30.979s, P10, will start P9
Felipe Massa, 1m 31.779s, P12, will start P11

Ferrari had what Alonso described as the most disappointing Saturday of their year, with 10th and 12th places. The Spaniard was unhappy with his car’s track behaviour, while his Brazilian team mate lost time in the morning after an engine change.

McLaren
Jenson Button, 1m 31.649s, P11, will start P10
Sergio Perez, 1m 32.082s, P14, will start P13

The McLarens lacked the ultimate grunt to make it into Q3, but Button came mighty close and was 10th in Q2 until he got bumped by Raikkonen at the very last moment.

Sauber
Nico Hulkenberg, 1m 32.211s, P15, will start P14
Esteban Gutierrez, 1m 32.666s, P18, will start P17

It was the usual story for Sauber, with both drivers struggling for ultimate grip.

Williams
Pastor Maldonado, 1m 32.359s, P16, will start P15
Valtteri Bottas, 1m 32.664s, P17, will start P16

At Williams, too, the FW35’s shortcomings prevented Maldonado and Bottas from doing better than 16th and 17th fastest times.

Caterham
Charles Pic, 1m 33.866s, P19, will start P18
Giedo van der Garde, 1m 35.481s, P21, should have started P22, will start P21

Pic’s strong morning form carried over into qualifying, but with the five-place grid penalty hanging over him after his collision with Webber in Canada, there was no point in Van der Garde doing more than one timed lap in order to qualify.

Marussia
Jules Bianchi, 1m 34.108s, P20, will start P19
Max Chilton, 1m 35.858s, P22, will start P20

Neither driver was happy with his car’s balance on Silverstone’s fast sweeps.

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