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Qualifying analysis: Williams to the fore on home soil

04 Jul 2015

Crosswinds caused several people headaches on Saturday, not least the 11 drivers who had lap times disallowed for failing to respect track limits. At the other spectrum, there was jubilation for Lewis Hamilton and for Williams as both seized the moment on home territory. We take a team-by-team look at Saturday's action at Silverstone...

Mercedes
Lewis Hamilton, 1m 32.248s, P1
Nico Rosberg, 1m 32.361s, P2

Hamilton chased understeer all through Q1 and Q2, when Rosberg had the clear upper hand. But in Q3 the Briton got it all together on his first run and pipped his team-mate by a crucial tenth to take his third pole on home soil, his eighth of the season, and the 46th of his career. Neither improved subsequently, with Rosberg complaining that something was seriously wrong with his front left wheel.

Williams
Felipe Massa, 1m 33.085s, P3
Valtteri Bottas, 1m 33.149s, P4

Bottas and Massa picked up a lot of speed for qualifying as Williams really honed their set-up, and they were clearly quicker than the Ferraris - which is possibly due to Mercedes still being able to run a different engine map on a Saturday. Massa really got things together and was the only runner to improve legally on his second run in Q3, which gave him third - and secured a second-row lockout for Williams for their home race.

Ferrari
Kimi Raikkonen, 1m 33.379s, P5
Sebastian Vettel, 1m 33.547s, P6

There was a tangible air of disappointment at Ferrari, given they had clearly expected to be much closer to Mercedes than they were. It didn't help that they were upstaged by the Williams duo, either. Both drivers said their cars lacked balance, and that it was hard to piece together each sector of the lap as a result. Raikkonen, whose future continues to the subject of intense speculation, did at least out-qualify Vettel.

Red Bull
Daniil Kvyat, 1m 33.636s, P7
Daniel Ricciardo, 1m 33.943s, P10

Red Bull looked much more like their old selves at Silverstone, which perhaps suggests that upgrades have tamed the RB11 chassis. Kvyat was again strong despite having a lap disallowed, edging his team mate for the third straight race. Ricciardo meanwhile was upset to lose his last flyer in Q3, which means he will line up from row five. There was at least the comfort of getting both drivers into the Q3 shootout. 

Toro Rosso
Carlos Sainz, 1m 33.649s, P8
Max Verstappen, 1m 34.502s, P13

While Sainz was very happy with eighth place on the grid, Verstappen was really upset when his STR10 went from the superfast car he'd had in practice to an unpredictable beast which oversteered helplessly and left him way off his expected pace.

Force India
Nico Hulkenberg, 1m 33.673s, P9
Sergio Perez, 1m 34.268s, P11

Force India were very happy to get Hulkenberg into Q3 in the updated VJM08, with the German also pleased at how smooth his session had been. Perez thought he should have joined his team mate, but is still struggling for the optimum set-up. Perhaps most encouraging for the team is that all signs point to the big upgrade package being very beneficial, which bodes well for the future. 

Lotus
Romain Grosjean, 1m 34.430s, P12
Pastor Maldonado, 1m 34.511s, P14

Lotus lacked downforce and it hurt them here, as both E23 Hybrids picked up more understeer as qualifying progressed. Both drivers also had times disallowed after running wide at Copse - Grosjean once, Maldonado twice.

Sauber
Marcus Ericsson, 1m 34.868s, P15
Felipe Nasr, 1m 34.888s, P16

Ericsson made it through to Q2 but Nasr just failed to make it by 0.011s as he struggled for tyre temperature. Like Lotus, Sauber knew that Silverstone's fast sweeps would not suit the C34, and so it proved.

McLaren
Fernando Alonso, 1m 34.959s, P17
Jenson Button, 1m 35.207s, P18

Alonso lost valuable track time in FP3 when his Honda engine developed what was initially thought to be an ERS leak, but it responded to resetting. He went into qualifying with a guestimated set-up, however, and that cost McLaren a lot. Button continued to struggle with his car's balance and its preference for the hard tyre. McLaren also earned a reprimand after accidentally fitting one of Button's tyres to Alonso's car during Q1.

Marussia
Will Stevens, 1m 37.364s, P19
Roberto Merhi, 1m 39.377s, P20

Stevens was very happy with his performance, and the fact upgrades this weekend have reduced Marussia's delta to the front by around 0.7s. He also continued to enjoy a significant edge over his team mate. For his part, Merhi struggled with his car's balance and lost a 1m 37.956s best lap after snap oversteer ran him too wide at Copse.