What the teams said - Qualifying in Great Britain
Pipped by Ferrari in final practice, it looked as if the Silver Arrows would have a real fight on their hands for pole come qualifying. But when it mattered in Q3, they had enough power to make it a two-horse race at the front. Unusually, Hamilton made a mistake on his first flying run, leaving a flawless Bottas on provisional pole. With the track temperature increasing, the reigning world champion couldn't improve enough on his second run, leaving Bottas to start from P1 for the fourth time this season in a record-extending front-row lock-out.
Lewis Hamilton, 2nd, 1:25.099
"Congratulations to Valtteri, he ultimately did the better job today. It wasn't the best of qualifying sessions for me, I had a difficult run in Q2 and the first run in Q3 was also not very good. The last one was ok, but certainly not perfect - it's just one of those days, sometimes you get into a rhythm and then other days you don't. But there's more to come; it's a long race tomorrow, so I will try and see how I can progress forward from the position I'm in. This is a race you've got to try and win, but it is not an easy one to win - every year you come, it's always a massive challenge. The long runs yesterday looked good, so I hope to utilise the tyre advantage from the Mediums tomorrow. Coming to this weekend the energy is just incredible, it's uplifting for me and the entire team. I'm going to try and bring myself together in a positive way tonight and come back stronger tomorrow."
Valtteri Bottas, 1st, 1:25.093
"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."
James Allison, Technical Director
"Much like yesterday, it was a tough old day and we were trying to find lap time that has been a little bit elusive throughout. Again like yesterday, our opposition looked very threatening on single-lap pace and Ferrari were perhaps the favourites heading into Qualifying. But in the end, in Q3 when it properly counted, both drivers managed to find the pace and Valtteri took a well-earned pole with Lewis a hair's breadth behind. It hasn't been easy to get the best from the tyres on a track which both loads them heavily through the fast corners, then cools them quite rapidly in the cool air conditions; that has made life very difficult this weekend. We now look forward to an exciting race: hopefully we can use the good launch pad of the front row to deliver some of the long-run performance we saw during Friday practice."
Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport
"To have both cars on the front row today came as a little bit of a surprise for us because we were on the back foot through qualifying. We expected Ferrari to be very strong but when we came to Q3, they seemed to go backwards and we went forwards; the grip on track ramped up, the drivers found their rhythm and it all came towards us. On the first run, Valtteri had a fantastic lap and Lewis made a small mistake; on the second run, Valtteri couldn't improve but Lewis did an almost identical lap to Valtteri's first one. These were the tiny things that made a difference in the end. We are hoping for an exciting race tomorrow: our Medium tyres will be a few metres less competitive from the start line - hopefully after that, they will prove more robust and we can deliver some of the race pace we saw on Friday."
Leclerc looked at home on the freshly resurfaced Silverstone track, topping final practice and carrying that form into qualifying. By contrast, Vettel seemed out of sorts, coming out late in Q2 on used soft tyres and then needing to use that compound to make it to Q3. Leclerc had done enough to make it through on the mediums, but Ferrari opted to run him on the softs too in a clear strategic move. Come Q3 and the Monegasque driver gave it everything but couldn't quite catch the Silver Arrows, while a lacklustre Vettel trailed home behind both Red Bulls.
Sebastian Vettel, 6th, 1:25.787
“It’s been a bit of an up and down weekend for me and this afternoon, I struggled to get the most out of the car, as I couldn’t get a feel for it and I wasn’t happy with how it went. Lately, we have been clearly struggling on one lap pace. However, looking at our long run pace from free practice, I expect to be more competitive in the race tomorrow. It looks like Mercedes start favourite, but I think we can take the fight to the Red Bulls and then see what we can do from there.”
Charles Leclerc, 3rd, 1:25.172
“I am satisfied with our result because I think that we did the best we could and extracted the maximum from our car on this particular circuit. We struggled at the beginning of this weekend, especially with the front tyres, which already felt much better today.
"In terms of the strategy, we are happy with our choice to start the race on the soft compound. The cars ahead will be on mediums, which will hopefully mix things up a bit. The weather will also play an important role in the race and, together with the challenges the track itself poses, it should be an exciting one.”
Mattia Binotto, Team Principal
“We are definitely pleased with the performance of the car today, after the difficulties we experienced yesterday. Overnight, thanks to work in our simulator, we managed to modify the set up. This meant the drivers found they had more confidence in the car, primarily because it was better balanced, especially the front end where it suffered yesterday.
"Charles’ lap was stupendous and he came so close to getting onto the front row. Tomorrow, we start on a different tyre compound to those around us, which was planned in order to add in another variable. We are well aware this will be a long race during which tyre wear will be a factor for everyone, but our hope is that we have found the right set up to also allow us to go well over a long stint.
"As for Sebastian, in the final part of qualifying, he did not feel comfortable or confident with the car. That is a shame, as we believe that he could have qualified better.”
A mixed day for the Bulls, with Gasly picking up where he left off and looking competitive, while Verstappen struggled with various elements of his car. Come qualifying, and both drivers made it through to Q3 on the medium-compound tyres which could make strategy interesting given their Scuderia rivals start on the softs. Fourth and fifth is a solid result and puts them in a good place for the race, which is traditionally their strong suit.
Max Verstappen, 4th, 1:25.276
“I am quite happy with the second row of the grid. Before qualifying I wasn’t comfortable and still searching for a good balance. Around here with all the fast corners you have to feel fully confident in the car to get a good laptime. We made improvements for qualifying, the car was great and we really found a good set up. Unfortunately, I had a problem with lag and out of the low speed corners I was losing time. When you look at how close we are to pole position then the result is bittersweet as I think we could have fought for pole if everything had been perfect. We seem to have found a good wing level for the straights, we usually have even better performance in the race and with the good balance we had in qualifying I’m quite confident. The strategy will be very important because of the high energy levels put through the tyres on this track but I will be flat out and hopefully we can put up a good fight.”
Pierre Gasly, 5th, 1:25.590
“I think we’ve made a big step forward this weekend and it was important to get a good qualifying position. Free Practice was really good, we’ve been working well all weekend and I was in a happy place with the car coming into qualifying. My lap in Q3 wasn’t perfect but we can still be pleased that we’re P5 and starting on the medium tyre. The whole weekend has been really positive and things are a lot better, so now we need to focus on tomorrow. Our race pace on Friday was good and I think we have a strong car so now I’m just excited to race.“
Christian Horner, Team Principal
“This has been a strong qualifying for both drivers, lining up fourth and fifth and splitting the Ferraris with both cars. For Max, to qualify under two tenths off pole position at a power circuit like Silverstone is very satisfying and it is good to see things coming together for Pierre who got his joint best qualifying position of the year. Pierre has turned a page since Austria and you can see from his first session today that his approach is different. He is much more confident in himself and the car, and this track is all about confidence to get a strong result. Strategically it is interesting that Ferrari are on the soft tyre tomorrow. It could spice things up as it puts them in the two stop region. All in all, it is set to be an exciting race for tomorrow.”
After a poor Friday which saw Ricciardo park up on track with a power unit issue, Renault turned around their fortunes and managed to get both cars to Q3 for the first time since Canada. Ricciardo produced a stunning lap to be one of the very few to improve on his second run in Q3, grabbing a 'best of the rest' P7 in the process ahead of the much fancied McLaren. Hulkenberg couldn't improve and lines up in P10.
Nico Hulkenberg, 10th, 1:26.386
“It’s positive to be back in Q3, but we can’t be entirely happy as tenth isn’t an ideal starting spot. I couldn’t find the balance between front and rear all weekend and that continued in qualifying. You need confidence in the car here and that wasn’t all there today. I can’t complain too much, it’s an improvement since the last round. Tomorrow we need to score well, but we know it will be a fight. We’ll do our best to come away with as many points as we can.”
Daniel Ricciardo, 7th, 1:26.182
“Today is a really good recovery, especially after the last round. It shows we’ve done a lot of work, discovered a bit more from the car and then executed a good qualifying. I’m really happy with today. Having both cars in Q3 was our objective, we’ve achieved that, and seventh is probably the best we can reach at the moment. Tomorrow we need to take some points off our rivals and we’re in prime position to do that. We’ll try and stay up there and put some smiles back on the team. Our car looked good on long runs so we’ll be targeting a double-points finish tomorrow.”
Alan Permane, Sporting Director
“It’s good to be back in Q3 where this car and this team belong after a couple of tough weekends. The session went completely to plan. Both drivers did a good job and Nico was a little bit unlucky at the end to miss out on a couple of places for less than two tenths. I think that we are in very good shape for tomorrow. The ambition as always for the race is to move up the order as much as we can and obviously for Daniel that will be tricky sitting behind the top six cars but you never know. We will do all we can and Nico will certainly target getting past Albon and Norris. The weather looks stable for Sunday and hopefully it will be a straightforward race.”
A mixed bag for McLaren, who looked quick all weekend but couldn't get both cars into Q3. Sainz sounded resigned to his Q2 exit, but at least has free tyre choice. Fresh on the heels of his superb recovery drive from P19 on the grid to eighth last time out in Austria, he will need a similar fightback to bring home some points. Norris did make Q3 and was a solid P8, beaten by Ricciardo by a hair's breadth.
Carlos Sainz, 13th, 1:26.578
“A difficult day. I’m not 100 per cent comfortable with the car, especially with the rear end during qualifying. Q1 didn’t look that bad though, I recovered a bit of the feeling with the car and I thought a good qualifying was possible. Then, as the session went on, we just got slower and slower, struggling on every run with the rear grip.
“Difficult to explain at the moment what happened there to be honest. We will analyse quali tonight – and probably next week – and then we’ll start thinking straight away about tomorrow, when we’ll fight to make our way into the points.”
Lando Norris, 8th, 1:26.224
“Not a bad qualifying – I think we can be reasonably happy. We struggled a bit. I was four-hundredths off P7, and a little annoyed because I had a slide in the last corner and probably lost four-hundredths there. Apart from that, I don’t think eighth is a bad starting position.
“I don’t think we had it easy; we struggled a lot with the wind change. It was quieter in Q1, I did my best lap then but as the direction reversed a little bit, I seemed to struggle a little more than some of the others. It’s something to look into but apart from that, not a bad Saturday.”
Andreas Seidl, Team Principal
“After doing our homework overnight analysing the different test items that we tried yesterday with both cars, we started in the same specification for FP3 with both. We knew from yesterday’s running we could expect another tight midfield qualifying battle.
“With Lando, we managed to have another strong quali, getting through to Q3 and gaining a good starting position in P8. With Carlos’ car, unfortunately for the second run in Q2, combined with the conditions getting worse, we just didn’t make it through in to Q3, by a small amount. Carlos commented that he was struggling with rear grip on his last run. Having studied the long-run data from Friday, starting from P13 and having a free tyre choice for the race, we still believe we’re in a good position.
“But we now focus on preparing for the race. We could see some interesting strategies tomorrow. We think we’re in a good position to fight for good points tomorrow with both cars.”
Haas struggled with tyre wear yesterday, and in the variable conditions couldn't hook up a lap when it mattered. First Magnussen made a mistake on his final flying lap in Q1 to abort and exit at the first time of asking. Then Grosjean, who did at least make it through Q1, found his next set of tyres completely different to the first and couldn't extract enough pace to progress. Given qualifying is normally their strong suit, it could be a long afternoon for the American outfit tomorrow.
Romain Grosjean, 14th, 1:26.757
“I’m frustrated with qualifying. We had Q3 in our hands, the car felt really good. In Q2 something was wrong with both sets of tyres. The first lap I was 1.2 second off my fastest time, there was literally no grip. So, what’s happened behind the scenes – I don’t know. It just didn’t work well, I couldn’t repeat the pace of Q1. I’m hoping we find out, as we had Q3 in the car. When we can be P9 with the car from Melbourne in Q1, it’s pretty impressive with that package. There’s a lot of potential, even though with the data there’s a lot less downforce. It’s working well in terms of feeling, it’s much better. We just need to understand the difference between the two packages and hopefully we can pile on some downforce.”
Kevin Magnussen, 16th, 1:26.662
“I’m frustrated to be lacking pace. It’s not like we looked super strong, but we were at least looking close to the midfield. It wouldn’t have taken much, or a big gain to have gotten in front of the midfield. Instead, we lost a lot of pace, and I can’t really explain why. I suddenly had no front grip in qualifying without having really changed anything. We had made some changes to help the front, but it went the other way. It’s got to be something tyre related again, I guess, but it’s difficult to explain. We’re spending this weekend trying to learn, hopefully get some points along the way, but it’s frustrating nonetheless.”
Guenther Steiner, Team Principal
“After FP3 we looked quite positive, at least with one car. Qualifying was a harsh awakening, one car went out in Q1, the other in Q2. There was just too much up and down in our lap times. Romain (Grosjean) had one very good lap, then all of a sudden we had no performance in the car. We need to look into that and see what we can do. Considering our long run simulations on Friday, we were pretty happy with that one, hopefully we can still get something done tomorrow.”
Both Alfa cars made it to Q2 and looked like having a shot at a top 10 berth before late improvements knocked them out. Nonetheless, starting 11th and 12th and with free tyre choice isn't a bad result, and the team will be looking for a good haul of points again, having managed to get both cars home in the top 10 last time out.
Kimi Raikkonen, 12th, 1:26.546
“To be honest that was not what we were hoping for, but we didn’t have an awful lot more speed unfortunately. Overall it seems to be a difficult weekend for us, it’s not easy to get everything together. Everyone asks if the free tyre choice is an advantage – how do I know? We’ll see tomorrow.”
Antonio Giovinazzi, 11th, 1:26.519
“It was a bit frustrating to miss out on Q3 for just a tenth of a second. I was pretty happy with my final lap in Q2 until the final corner, where I made a small mistake: when the gaps are so small, this is the price you pay. We wanted more but we still have a decent opportunity to have a good race. We have to take the positives, we get to choose our starting tyres and I think it can be an advantage. Our pace on softs in practice wasn’t great so I think to start on one of the other compounds is a better option. We are just outside the top 10 – if we have a good start and a good strategy we can be right in the fight for points.”
Frédéric Vasseur, Team Principal
“You always aim as high as you can in qualifying but, all things considered, we can be very happy to be starting immediately outside the top 10. Our pace was very good and it would have probably warranted a place, or even two, in Q3, but the margins are so small that just a tenth can drop you out of the final shoot-out easily. In any case, we remain positive: our race pace was promising in practice and hopefully we can make up some places tomorrow. Choosing our starting tyres may be a key element, as it has been in a few races this season already, and give us an advantage in the race tomorrow. We are confident we can be in the fight for points.”
Kvyat couldn't hook up a lap when it mattered and was disappointed to exit in Q1. Albon, meanwhile, belied his rookie status, looking calm and collected as he made it all the way to Q3. After aborting his first run, he did well to improve on a track that was proving tricky and pipped Hulkenberg to ninth on the grid. Keeping the German behind might be a tougher ask tomorrow though.
Daniil Kvyat, 17th, 1:26.721
“I think our car wasn’t in the right window today and I wasn’t really happy with the balance. This weekend has been a bit out of rhythm for me, so we need to analyse what happened to understand what we can do for tomorrow. We had flashes of improvement like in FP3, but when it came to qualifying, the car wasn’t doing exactly what I wanted it to do. When the midfield is as tight as it is now, a tenth or two drops you out in Q1.”
Alex Albon, 9th, 1:26.345
“I’m happy with that! We’ve always been in the top 10 this weekend but we knew the others would turn it up in qualifying, our balance just got better and better through the weekend and it came together. After a tough couple of races, it’s really good to be back into Q3. I’m really happy with the car and I love this track, the car has been feeling good all weekend and when the track started to get more grip, I felt more comfortable and was able to get more performance from the car. Our race pace looked promising in FP2 yesterday and we were looking quite good with tyres, so we’ll see what happens tomorrow, I’m looking forward to it!
Jody Egginton, Technical Director
“The car balance during Friday was reasonable on both sides of the garage with our long and short run performance being ballpark and, as a result of this, the engineers have been able to focus their efforts to incremental improvements across all areas overnight. Car balance and performance was in line with the expectations in FP3 but qualifying panned out very differently across the garage, with Dany not managing to escape Q1, whilst Alex made it to Q3 finishing in P9, which is a solid result. Whilst we are of course pleased with this result, we also need to understand what was preventing Dany from extracting the best from his car in qualifying, as up to this point he had shown good pace. Our attention now shifts to preparing for the race tomorrow and there is a lot of work ahead for the strategy engineers tonight to define the best options for both drivers. Given our level of competitiveness so far this weekend, we are looking to continue this trend tomorrow in what we feel will be an exciting race.”
Toyoharu Tanabe, Honda F1 Technical Director
“Getting three of our cars into the top ten is a satisfactory result. Alex’s ninth place is the first time that Toro Rosso has been in the top ten on the grid since Monaco and therefore he has to be in with an excellent chance of a good points finish. It was a shame that Daniil missed the cut to Q2 by just 0.07s, but with both he and his team mate showing good long run pace, he can still expect to have a strong race.”
Stroll exited in the first segment of qualifying for the 14th straight race, the most of anyone on the grid. It wasn't a big shock, with Racing Point looking like being towards the back of the midfield all weekend. Perez did sneak into Q2 but could go no further, and will have his work cut out to make it to the points from 15th on the grid.
Sergio Perez, 15th, 1:26.928
“Not an easy qualifying session and not the result we wanted. The car balance felt okay, but we were missing the ability to put our best sectors together. We felt more competitive yesterday, so we need to understand why we didn’t perform as well today. It is frustrating because I want to be fighting in Q3 and we need to be there to score points. We won’t give up though, because you never know what can happen in the race. We know our starts are good so getting away well tomorrow will be really important for our final result.”
Lance Stroll, 18th, 1:26.762
“The margins were very small today. A tenth would have made the difference and helped me progress to Q2, but we just missed the cut. When you go through the data after the session, you can see where you could have found more time, but the whole grid is so close at the moment. It’s a bit frustrating, but I prefer to take a glass-half-full approach because I think we can be stronger in the race. It won’t be easy starting so far back, but the long runs yesterday looked competitive and we usually perform better on Sundays.”
Otmar Szafnauer, Team Principal & CEO
“A tough qualifying session, which leaves us with a big task tomorrow to get up into the points. It’s our home race and we will give it everything, but we were missing a tenth or two when it mattered. The long run performance on Friday looked encouraging – as has been the case at the majority of the races this year. We need to try and use that competitive race pace to recover some ground and challenge for some points.”
A clean final practice session after a difficult Friday was just what was needed at Williams, but come qualifying they still couldn't find the pace to make it off the back row of the grid. Russell once again got the better of his team mate, and will hope for some more entertaining battles with other back markers tomorrow to give his home crowd something to cheer.
Robert Kubica, 20th, 1:28.257
"The weather conditions here are a big factor, I felt more comfortable during my first run as the wind picked up throughout the session. It was clear to see the difference in conditions as we gained speed in some areas, but lost in others. Overall, it wasn’t a bad qualifying session, however, the outcome is unfortunately the same."
George Russell, 19th, 1:27.789
"We did a solid job with the set up today and got the most out of the car. It was a good lap, it felt nice to drive and I had a smile on my face at the end. The support from the home fans has been incredible, and to see them appreciate the job that I am doing is a really special feeling."
Dave Robson, Senior Race Engineer
"We had a productive FP3 despite the few drops of rain and, in fact, this gave us the chance to complete our first lap on the 2019 intermediate tyre. Once the track was fully dry again we were able to complete the intended programme using the qualifying tyre.
"Conditions at the very beginning of qualifying appeared to be the best, and both George and Robert were able to complete decent laps. Both tried a second run but, as was the case for most drivers in that session, neither were able to find an improvement.
"Looking ahead to tomorrow, the cooler conditions that are currently forecast will influence the tyre behaviour. As a result, we will probably see a mix of race strategies, with the front left potentially being the limiting tyre, due to the heavy demands of the fast righthand corners such as Copse and Stowe."
Mario Isola, Head of F1 and Car Racing
"Like the previous race in Austria, we've got split strategies on the grid in England, with the top two Mercedes starting on the medium tyres and the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc on the soft tyres just behind them. That could make the start interesting, and with a two-stop strategy clearly the best option, there are a number of variables when it comes to tyre tactics from then onwards. We're seeing some wear on both the medium and soft compounds, which means that tyre management will be required to a certain extent. So it will be wear rather than degradation that largely influences the timing of the pit stops. One of the variables is the weather: today's conditions have been cool and changeable, so we need to be prepared for everything. With the lap times very close, and race pace among the frontrunners likely to be similar, we can hopefully expect some tight competition."