Lewis Hamilton has taken a nail biting pole position after his two best laps were disallowed in qualifying for his home race the British Grand Prix. The world champion had lost pole twice after his lap was disqualified after exceeding track limits to be .3 of a seconds faster than team-mate Nico Rosberg.
Once again the Mercedes duo were in a class of their own with Hamilton being over a second faster than Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo in fourth. It was a record breaking session for Hamilton who broke the lap record not once but twice.
Hamilton’s pole lap was allowed to stand despite the Mercedes driver once again crossing the track limits as he did so at a corner which was part of Race Control’s ‘zero tolerance’ crackdown.
Hamilton thanked the crowd for their support after they had cheered him around the track and said: “The penultimate lap was a very good lap and was unfortunately taken as I touched the kerb and it just pulled me further [wide].”
Verstappen said “I’ve been a bit unlucky the last few qualifyings. Today was a very good qualifying. The car performed as it should be. We are strong compared to cars behind us. It seemed like the Mercedes had a turbo button.”
Kimi Raikkonen was fifth ahead on track of team-mate Sebastian Vettel who will drop five places because of a grid penalty for a unscheduled gearbox change. This promotes Williams Valtteri Bottas to sixth alongside Raikkonen.
McLaren’s Fernando Alonso was eighth but lost his best time as the stewards disallowed his best lap for also exceeding track limits. It wasn’t a good session for Jenson Button who was due to fallout in Q1 however he should have been in Q2 after his former team-mate’s Kevin Magnussen’s best last was removed for breaking track limits.
Sabuers Marcus Ericsson was unable to take part after a huge crash in final practice with the Swede being checked at Oxford’s John Radcliffe Hospital.
Ericsson ran wide out of Stowe in FP3 and clipped the damp astroturf to the left of the exit kerb, losing grip sending him into a spin that would spear him into the opposing tyre barrier. Sauber will seek special dispensation from the stewards for permission for him to race
Carlos Sainz once again showed what a skilled driver he is after getting into the top ten and will start seventh. But Force India’s Sergio Perez narrowly missed out on Q3 by a few tenths behind team-mate Nico Hulkenberg who was a tenth faster.
Felipe Massa was a disappointing twelfth in the second Williams, just ahead of Haas pair Romain Grosjean and Esteban Gutierrez, and the second Toro Rosso of Daniil Kvyat.