Lewis Hamilton stormed his way to pole position in qualifying and also broke the lap record for this layout of Silverstone for good measure. His 1.29.243 in Q2 absolutely obliterated Rosberg, who was seven tenths off in that session.
Hamilton also becomes the first driver in Formula One history to secure four pole positions at Silverstone. So a record lap time, a record number of poles and a blend of calmness and aggression to secure pole in one lap. If the psychological battle between the Brit and the German hasn’t tilted towards Hamilton after that, then Rosberg must be some sort of emotionless robot.
Lewis had one lap to nail it in Q3 after running all four wheels over the white line at turn 9, warranting his first attempt void. The Brit openly admits to enjoying such pressure, and his run to pole proves that he can deliver the goods when it matters most.
The race is set up to be very much Hamilton’s to lose as the advantage bounces back into his side of the garage. Max Verstappen also had a solid session, out-qualifying Daniel Ricciardo for the first time – The Red Bull’s line up 3rd and 4th. This will also play into Hamilton’s hands for the race. Although the Red Bull’s are way off the Mercedes over a single lap, long stints in Practice 2 on Friday suggest that Verstappen and Ricciardo will be hassling Rosberg throughout.
As of this session, Ferrari can forget about Mercedes and must focus on chasing the Red Bull’s down. Raikkonen had a nervous qualifying session but still managed 5th. The Iceman didn’t keep his cool at all with two mistakes in Q2 meaning that he starts on tyres in worse condition than those around him. Vettel qualified 6th, but has been slapped with a 5-place-grid-penalty AGAIN for a gearbox change. Will Ferrari have a smooth weekend in 2016? The pissed off German starts down in 11th.
— Scuderia Ferrari (@ScuderiaFerrari) July 9, 2016
Elsewhere, Carlos Sainz impressed yet again. On a track that demands more from the cars aerodynamically than Baku or Austria, Sainz’ drive to 8th highlights the strong chassis of the Toro Rosso. The Spaniard has last years Ferrari engine on the car, yet only found himself half-a-second off of Sebastian Vettel’s Ferrari works 2016 car. That’s more than impressive, so look out for him tomorrow.
— Toro Rosso (@ToroRosso) July 9, 2016
Big disappointment came for Felipe Massa… His Williams only lines up in 12th, the Martini liveried car looking shaken.
The race at Silverstone is set to be another chapter between Hamilton and Rosberg, and hopefully Toto Wolff will let them race. But if qualifying is anything to go by, Rosberg will be a speck in Hamilton’s mirrors.