What the teams said – Qualifying at the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix
Another one-two for Mercedes, but this time around it was Bottas who took the spoils as the team grabbed a record ninth consecutive pole at this track. The Finn nailed his last flying lap in Q3 despite being on the arguably slower medium compound to steal P1 from his team mate by just over half a tenth. Can he find some redemption here after the heartbreak of that late tyre failure last weekend? As for Hamilton, he had looked the more in-form of the two drivers heading into qualifying but admitted to a less than perfect last lap.
Valtteri Bottas, 1st, 1:25.154
"Pole today feels really good. It's a privilege to drive this amazing car - it's so quick. I love qualifying when it's like that, it was great fun. We made some tweaks to the set-up from last weekend and for me the performance was much better today. I knew I'd have an opportunity to improve on the second run in Q3 and I pulled the sectors together, I got absolutely everything out of myself and the car. A one-stopper will be difficult with the compounds we have this weekend - but I know the team will be looking at all the options for tomorrow. I think the race pace is there and I hope I can get another good start like last weekend. I'm in a good position for the race, but we all know that the points are given on Sundays."
Lewis Hamilton, 2nd, 1:25.217
"Valtteri did a fantastic job today, he put in a very strong lap when it mattered in Q3 to take pole. My first lap in Q3 was good, but the second one wasn't really all that great. I just didn't pull it together, made a couple of mistakes right at the end and ultimately you pay for that. The change in wind direction made it a bit trickier out there today, but that was the same for everyone so no excuses. It's not easy to follow on this track, but I'm hoping that the softer tyres and hot temperatures will create some opportunities tomorrow - it should be exciting. We'll work hard tonight to see where we can improve and you know I will be giving it everything to try and beat Valtteri tomorrow."
Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport
"This is a very satisfying result, taking P1 and P2 with our drivers today. Valtteri did a great job to beat Lewis at his home track and it'll be exciting to see how the race pans out tomorrow. Both our drivers are hungry and will fight hard for the win. It was good to see that we maintained our pace advantage even in these hotter conditions and it will be important for us to keep that advantage tomorrow as well. The 70th anniversary Grand Prix promises to be an interesting race with a number of strategy options; we'll be starting on the mediums with Max in the row behind starting on the hard tyres and running an alternative strategy. Ultimately, tomorrow's race will not only be dictated by who can go fastest, but also who is most clever with their tyres."
Andrew Shovlin, Trackside Engineering Director
"Well done to Valtteri on another pole position! The wind has made things a bit tricky for everyone today and made the track slower overall compared to yesterday, which took a bit of adapting to in the final practice this morning. We focused on the soft tyre there and seemed to have good grip and balance on new tyres, so the changes on the car going into qualifying were fairly small. Our first laps in qualifying weren't too impressive, it seemed that the track wasn't in great shape and the wind had changed from the morning, which took a bit of getting used to.
"We ran again right at the end of the first session on the same used set and the pace then looked decent. From there on in it was fairly straight forward. We had wanted to start both cars on the medium tyre and had discussed this morning that we'd not move away from that even if we saw others on the hard in Q2. By the final session it was clear that both drivers were relatively evenly matched on pace; Valtteri seemed a little happier with the medium tyre, Lewis was perhaps a little better on the soft. On the final run they were never much more than a few hundredths apart, Valtteri had a better exit from turn 7 and held onto that gain for the remainder of the lap to take pole. We're looking forward to the race tomorrow, the softer compounds will create more strategy options and it's always an exciting race here where anything can happen."
The team have been talked about all weekend off the track, but on the track they garnered more positive headlines when Hulkenberg grabbed a sensational P3 on the grid. The German had made a mistake in Q2 and was under pressure to even make it through to Q3. But he delivered a solid performance on the medium compound tyre, before finding the soft rubber even more to his liking in the top 10 shootout. He beat the Red Bull of Verstappen on merit and wound up over three-tenths ahead of his team mate to boot. But points are awarded on Sunday, so the job isn’t finished yet. As for Stroll, he wasn’t as happy with the balance of his car and wound up sixth.
Nico Hulkenberg, 3rd, 1:26.082
“It's been a crazy week and after the highs and lows of my comeback last week, P3 on the grid for tomorrow is a nice highlight! Last week definitely helped me feel more prepared for this weekend, but qualifying was still a real challenge today. In Q2, I made life hard for myself a little bit and I thought I might have damaged the car. But once we got through to Q3, it was about getting my head down, giving it full beans, and giving my all for the lap time. I have a big smile on my face, but it's only Saturday and it's tomorrow that really matters. It's going to be a challenge, because I haven't been through the motions of a race start and going wheel-to-wheel for a while now, and I'm still learning the car. But I'll give everything I've got to make sure we get a strong result. We'll enjoy the qualifying result, but all focus is on the race now.”
Lance Stroll, 6th, 1:26.428
“It's a great day for the team to get both cars into Q3 and Nico did an outstanding job to qualify in P3. He's been solid all weekend so far and the team's done a great job to get him comfortable and to have both cars showing pace. For myself, I didn't quite get it all together today. We were working on some things during qualifying and I wasn't quite able to find the right balance – I had a little instability at the rear of the car. I wasn't quite able to get a clean lap in either, which didn't help. It's small margins and it's a shame not to be starting higher up the grid, but it's a good starting point, and it's all to play for tomorrow. We know there are areas where we can make improvements, but Nico's shown just how much pace the car has, so that's a big positive. The strategy could play a key part in the race tomorrow, so we'll go away and make sure we're ready to maximise everything tomorrow for a strong result.”
Otmar Szafnauer, Team Principal & CEO
“Nico and Lance did a great job today to get both cars into Q3. It gives us a real platform to fight for good points in tomorrow's race. We’ve made a decent step in performance through Friday and into qualifying, so all credit to the team and our drivers. Nico was able to find a few more tenths to get P3, and it was small margins that meant Lance took P6. Nico's performance is impressive considering he had been out of a Formula 1 car for over eight months until last weekend, and his Q3 effort was a special lap. Both our drivers have underlined the potential of the car this weekend. The margins are very small between several teams, so it will be a challenge tomorrow, but if we manage the race well, we're in with a chance of a great result.”
Another mixed bag for the Bulls. Verstappen rolled the dice in Q2 and qualified for the top 10 shootout on the hard compound tyre, the only driver to do so. That gives him an alternate strategy for the race which will be interesting. He couldn’t extract enough pace out of the RB16 in Q3 though on either the medium or soft compound to challenge the Silver Arrows and wound up fourth behind Hulkenberg. As for Albon, he made a mistake in Q2 and left it late to make it through, and once there couldn’t match his team mate’s pace. Ninth was the best he could manage today.
Max Verstappen, 4th, 1:26.176
“Starting P4 is of course not perfect but the cars in front did a good job and Q3 was pretty tricky as the wind switched around and unbalanced us a bit. I felt strongly about using the hard tyre for the race start as we are already on softer compounds this weekend and the medium was last week’s soft, which wasn’t great in the race and with warmer temperatures this weekend I like this option. It was just a matter of making it through to Q3 on the hard tyre which we just about did. I don’t know what starting on the hard tyre tomorrow will give us and it depends on the first lap and Safety Cars but hopefully it will be positive and it is at least different to everyone else in the top ten. It is still a long race tomorrow and our race pace is normally more competitive, we just don’t have the qualifying mode that Mercedes do. I hope the start is going to be clean and from there onwards I think we can still have a good race. The goal is still to be on the podium. I am also happy for Nico that he has an opportunity to show his pace.”
Alex Albon, 9th, 1:26.669
“I was feeling comfortable and it was looking good up until the final run in Q3 when we went from mediums to softs and I experienced a very different car balance. I felt good with the car and I was optimistic going into the last lap but it just completely changed, maybe also with the wind, and I’m obviously not happy with P9. Some teams are able to get the soft tyre to work and we struggled with it today, so we need to understand why. I know there’s also time within myself and that’s just about getting more comfortable and consistent with the car. Tomorrow will be interesting as there are different strategy options available. Last weekend we showed we have a good race car and the pace to move forward no matter what, so the plan tomorrow is to get the most out of our race pace, make up positions and get the job done.”
Christian Horner, Team Principal
“Today’s qualifying session was far from straight forward in terms of strategy, with the softer tyres this weekend reacting differently and the optimum compound differing for each team. Max put in an impressive lap in Q2 on the hard tyre and is therefore the only driver in the top ten to start the race on that compound, which should afford us more flexibility in the race tomorrow. Alex made it through to Q3 with relative ease and looked quick on the medium tyre, improving with each lap, but he was less comfortable with the balance on the soft tyre which proved crucial in the battle for position on the final run and he will line up ninth on the grid for tomorrow’s race. With the hotter temperatures, softer compounds and varying strategies, the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix promises to be one to watch.”
Ricciardo had raised a few eyebrows yesterday was he wound up third in practice, which he claimed was on merit. Roll on qualifying and he rather proved he hadn’t been exaggerating. He ran the medium compound only in Q3 and came home an excellent fifth, a tenth ahead of the soft shod Racing Point. Given Renault traditionally have better race pace, this is boding well for the Aussie. Ocon struggled by comparison and exited in Q2, but does have free tyre choice for the race. The Frenchman was later handed a three-place grid drop for impeding Russell in Q1.
Daniel Ricciardo, 5th, 1:26.297
“I think fifth place is an awesome result for us and I’m very happy with that. I knew my lap was pretty good, I really was on the limit with the car and I got pretty much all I could from it today. I don’t have any regrets, or any feeling of a missed opportunity and we’ve put ourselves right up there for the race. We had the medium working really well and I’m happy with that. Tomorrow’s race will be interesting and there will be a mixture of strategies. We know we have a good race car, we just needed to qualify better to give ourselves an even better chance on a Sunday. I’ll do my best tomorrow and give it all I have.”
Esteban Ocon, 11th, 1:27.011
“It’s a disappointing session overall as I felt my lap in Q2 was pretty good. The gap to Daniel was clearly big in that session so we need to investigate why. It could be something we just didn’t understand entirely on the car after yesterday. The car felt very capable today with a bit more in hand. I just couldn’t carry the speed when I needed to. We also have the incident with George [Russell]. It was no one on track’s fault, but it’s something we should have managed better. Last week’s race was good, we had the pace, so hopefully that will be the case tomorrow.”
Alan Permane, Sporting Director
“Obviously, we’re left with mixed emotions today with our cars quite far apart. We’re very happy for Daniel, he did a great job all the way through to Q3. He made some set up changes yesterday that were different to last weekend, and it really improved the car. For Esteban we didn’t do a good enough job for him, he was struggling with rear end grip and obviously has the penalty from impeding George [Russell] in qualifying. We look forward to tomorrow and our focus is on scoring solid points with both cars.”
A mixed bag at AlphaTauri. Gasly had looked to be the more confident of the two drivers today and it showed when he made it all the way to Q3 with ease. Once there he managed to get the better of both a Ferrari and a Red Bull to grab an excellent seventh on the grid, and on the same tyre strategy as those around him to boot. Kvyat by contrast was knocked out in Q1 as he had a lap time deleted after running wide through Stowe.
Pierre Gasly, 7th, 1:26.534
“That was an amazing Saturday and I’m very happy about my qualifying result! Yesterday was a bit difficult for us, but the team did a fantastic job from Friday to Saturday and made the right changes overnight to give me a car that gives me the possibility to push to the maximum. It was great to be P4 in Q2 and to finish Q3 in P7, ahead of the two Ferraris, McLaren and a Red Bull, it was the best result we could have hoped for. Now we focus on tomorrow’s race, ready to get our elbows out and try to do the best I can to get a good result for the team.”
Daniil Kvyat, 16th, 1:27.882
“It was very unfortunate this afternoon as it was turning out to be a very good lap when a gust of wind put me off in Turn 15, it caused me to have a big snap and I lost a lot of time. Looking at the positives, normally we’re able to make up for a poor qualifying on Sunday, so we just need to keep pushing and I’m quite confident we can put together a decent race and fight for points.”
Jody Egginton, Technical Director
“With our level of competitiveness here during Friday, broadly in line with expectations, we expected to be in the midfield mix during today's qualifying, and this was certainly the case with the car showing good pace today. Unfortunately for Dany, his best lap in Q1 - which was looking good - was compromised with a snap followed by running wide. This is really a shame as he has performed well this weekend and was capable of progressing much further in qualifying today. Pierre managed to close his Q1 lap easily, making the cut for Q2. Q2 passed without any incidents, with Pierre's second run being near perfect and allowing him to easily progress to the top-ten shootout. Q3 was another good session, with Pierre securing a very well deserved seventh on the grid for the team. We are very satisfied with today's performance, but of course, tomorrow is what matters and we will now knuckle down to review our race strategy options, targeting to both capitalize on Pierre's starting position and also get Dany moving forward towards the points, in what we expect will be another very close battle.”
Vettel still seems to be struggling with the SF1000 more than his team mate. Both ran the medium compound in Q2 but as Leclerc made it through to the top 10, Vettel wasn’t quick enough and lost out despite switching to the soft tyre for his final run. Even with free tyre choice for the race, can the German make his way through the field when he is so clearly struggling for pace? Even Leclerc could only manage eighth as he admitted that tyre management tomorrow is going to be hard work for the team.
Sebastian Vettel, 12th, 1:27.078
"We tried a lot of things and I was happy with my laps, but I don't think that there was any more to get out of the car today. I need more grip to go faster. I must congratulate my engineers for improving the car compared to last weekend, but if you look at the stopwatch there is no difference. It seems we are stuck and of course it is disappointing to be in twelfth with that gap between our two cars. We are where we are for a reason, we are just not fast enough. It will be difficult tomorrow to fight for points but I will do my best."
Charles Leclerc, 8th, 1:26.614
"I am definitely happy with the job I’ve done today, I think we extracted the maximum from the car, but it was not enough, as we are starting from P8 and I cannot be happy with that.
"So far, we have been struggling more than last week and we will be struggling a bit more in the race because of our aggressive downforce level. It’s lower than everyone else’s and will make our life difficult in terms of tyre management. Since yesterday we’ve made good progress on the medium tyres that seemed very competitive today and on which we managed to get through to Q3, but as it stands, we seem to have lost something we had yesterday on the soft tyres.
"Considering the degradation we had on the softer compound, it’s going to be a difficult race for us, more so than last Sunday."
Laurent Mekies, Sporting Director
"There can be no doubt this was a poor qualifying performance, given that our drivers are eighth and twelfth on the grid. On this very same track and in very similar conditions, we have taken a step back in terms of competitiveness compared to a week ago, in terms of our own performance and up against that of our main rivals this season. In particular, we were unable to use the softest Pirelli compound properly. Now we have to work out why, not so much for tomorrow, but for the rest of the season. It’s definitely going to be a difficult race, with tyre management playing a key role.
"Compared to a week ago, there are more strategy choices on the table, which could create more opportunities and it will be down to us to exploit them. What is certain is that we will do all we can to bring home the best result possible."
McLaren have had both cars in Q3 all season, so it was somewhat of a shock when Sainz failed to make it through. But Norris likewise struggled for pace on both his final runs in the top 10 shootout, showing that the MCL35 just isn’t as competitive here as it was last weekend. The youngster lines up in P10 with the Spaniard down in 13th, and they’ll have their work cut out to progress up what is a very closely matched midfield.
Carlos Sainz, 13th, 1:27.083
“Obviously not very happy with today. Seeing our rivals make a step forward into this weekend puts us in a trickier position when trying to get into Q3. We committed to a plan of going through with a medium and unfortunately, we didn’t manage to make the cut.
“We have a bit of a problem in my car this weekend and we had to change the bodywork before quali to help with the cooling. A less tight bodywork here in Silverstone costs us some lap time due to the increased drag, so yeah, a bit frustrated by that, but at the same time I still think we can fight tomorrow and we’ll definitely do our best to get back into the points.”
Lando Norris, 10th, 1:26.778
“Not a bad qualifying, to be honest. P10 maybe doesn’t sound great in terms of position, but I think this weekend we’re realistically a bit more in-position and we knew this wind wouldn’t play in our favour. I think the Renaults, with Daniel, were considerably quicker, showing that their car is very competitive, and both Racing Points are doing a good job of extracting performance – Albon too. I think we’re where we expected to be, so I’m not really disappointed. I don’t think there was much more in the car. There was a little, I think mainly because of the wind changing in the second run or into Q3, as I struggled a bit more with the car than in Q2.
“It wasn’t easy – the car’s not hooked up. It’s trickier to drive this weekend because of the wind conditions, but still not a bad position to be in for tomorrow.”
Andreas Seidl, Team Principal
“It’s the first time this year we’ve not had both cars in Q3. We knew that in today’s conditions we would struggle with pace and, in addition to this, some of our competitors either made a step forward this weekend or were able to use the full potential of their cars today. With such a tight midfield, it’s not a surprise to be fighting for Q3.
“There are still opportunities to move forward in the race tomorrow. We’re expecting very high ambient temperatures and strong, gusting winds. Together with the softer tyres being used this weekend, we expect an interesting grand prix. We will prepare as best as we can and try to make up some positions in the race.”
Magnussen has been uneasy in the VF-20 all weekend, and another lock up today proved costly as he exited at the first time of asking. Grosjean did make Q2 surprisingly comfortably but could go no further, although he did at least get the better of Russell’s Williams this time around. They tried an alternate tyre strategy last weekend so it will be interesting to see if they can spring any surprises tomorrow from low starting slots.
Romain Grosjean, 14th, 1:27.254
“Nobody was unhappy about getting into Q2. Obviously, that’s our target in qualifying, short-term. Mid-term we’ve got to be seeing both cars in there. We don’t have any updates coming so we just need to optimise the package that we have. That’s something we’ve done very well on my car since last weekend, I feel like we’ve improved a lot.
"The feeling in the car has come to me in a much better way. I’m obviously very happy with that, but we’ve got a lot more work to do. With our tyre choices and so on, we’ve prioritised the race, so we should be okay.”
Kevin Magnussen, 17th, 1:28.236
“It wasn’t quite enough all together this weekend. It’s been a terrible weekend for me so far. I don’t know what’s going on with the car – it’s just been way off what I was able to achieve last week and how it felt then as well. It’s very surprising and it’s very frustrating to suddenly be in this situation where the car isn’t delivering what we know it can. We have to try and get to the bottom of that. It’s lost a lot of stability and I’ve been getting a lot of surprising snaps, I’ve got no confidence in the car compared to last week when I was really able to lean on it – especially through the high-speed stuff, of which there’s a lot here. We’ll see what happens tomorrow.”
Guenther Steiner, Team Principal
“I’m actually pretty happy with our starting positions – starting 13th, it’s a pretty good place and we know we’ve got a decent race pace. We’re really looking forward to going racing tomorrow with Romain (Grosjean) as there could be points out there to get. He did a fantastic job today to put those laps in, I take my hat off to him for that. Kevin (Magnussen) has just struggled with the car all weekend, he hasn’t been comfortable and is lacking grip in every situation. We will look into this, to see what it is, and see if we can fix it. Hopefully we’ll get it fixed for the next race in Spain.”
Russell is making a habit of getting through to Q2. He opted for just the one run to save tyres and gave the softs a go, but couldn’t extract enough pace from the car and tumbled down the order when others improved second time around to finish in P15. As for Latifi, he was eliminated at the first time of asking but did manage to beat the Alfa Romeo pair.
George Russell, 15th, 1:27.455
"I was pleased with that qualifying session and the lap felt good. It felt harder to drive than it did last week, the conditions are different, with new tyres and it is very windy here which makes it really tricky to drive. This week I had to give everything I had as it was very close, but I’m happy with the job. I think the mediums were the faster qualifying tyre today, which Romain used two sets of. We will have a new set to use tomorrow, so I think we are in a good position for the race."
Nicholas Latifi, 18th, 1:28.430
"I think we had a shot at getting into Q2, especially after FP3 we were looking strong and everything was feeling good. However, in qualifying the conditions were completely different and the car felt a little bit more unpredictable and a little bit more on edge. As a result, I just didn’t do a good enough lap, probably down to experience. When the car was not in the window I one hundred percent needed, I struggled to put the lap together. Overall, I am quite disappointed as I really did think that we had the potential today."
Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance
"As expected, there were a lot of tyre combinations run throughout qualifying as everyone tried to balance their prospects for qualifying and the race. Nicholas and George opted for slightly different approaches to Q1, with Nicholas building on his FP3 momentum on the soft compound and George opting to mix compounds and spend a little extra time on the track.
"We were expecting a tight battle with Haas for promotion to Q2, but on this occasion, both George and Grosjean made it through. We will start the race just behind the Haas but hope that our improving race pace will be enough to beat him in tomorrow’s expected hot conditions.
"The whole team worked well together again today and gave both drivers good opportunities to execute their respective strategies. In the end, the laptimes were heavily influenced by being lucky with the wind gusts during a timed lap; today Nicholas was less fortunate than George."
Another qualifying, another Q1 exit for both drivers. Raikkonen made a mistake on his last flying lap, running wide and exceeding track limits which saw the stewards delete his lap time. Giovinazzi couldn’t hook a flying lap up either and they locked out the back row of the grid for the second time in three races.
Kimi Raikkonen, 20th, 1:28.493
“It’s disappointing to be so far back when we gave everything we had, but it is what it is right now. We struggle in qualifying and getting a better or worse lap means the difference between P16 and P20, which is not that much of a change. I don’t think there’s a simple solution to our issues, nor there is much you can do in a week or two, or else we would have done it already: all we can do is go out tomorrow, try our best and see where we end up.”
Antonio Giovinazzi, 19th, 1:28.433
“It was a difficult day for us as we just missed something compared to our rivals. The conditions were tricky because of the wind, during my last lap I lost grip a couple of times and went a bit wide, but in the end it wouldn’t have made a difference in terms of making it to Q2. Tomorrow is another day and we will go out to try and make the best of this situation: we need a good strategy and we will push with all we have.”
Frédéric Vasseur, Team Principal
“Needless to say, the bottom row on the grid is not where we want to be. We knew the circuit layout wouldn’t be the best fit for our car and we are aware that qualifying highlights our shortcomings on the short runs, but this only means we have to keep working hard to find a way forward. We have a strong team back in Hinwil and this result must be something to spur the whole team on to improve.”
Mario Isola, Head of F1 and Car Racing
"This was a very unusual qualifying session, with Red Bull's Max Verstappen starting tomorrow on the hard tyres by using them to get through Q2: which is probably a first in our Formula 1 history. He should be able to benefit from the extra durability of this compound throughout the first stint when the cars are heavy with fuel. We also saw the top two fastest times in Q3 set with the medium rather than the soft tyre. These facts alone indicate how this week's nomination for the second race of the double-header at Silverstone has been an interesting one, with the soft tyre providing plenty of initial speed and then dropping off, while the pattern is the opposite for the medium. We knew that the soft was never going to be an ideal race tyre, but the high level of wear and degradation seen on it even in qualifying underlines how the medium and the hard should be the default choice for tomorrow's strategies. We're expecting a two-stopper, so there are a number of variables that could play out."