But heading into Qualifying, it would seem that Mercedes and Ferrari are looking like the teams to beat heading into the session that look set to gain Pole Position ahead of the race on Sunday. But McLaren, Red Bull Toro Rosso or Force India may spring a surprise and throw a spanner into the works based on their early pace and promise within the Practice sessions.
It was announced shortly before qualifying that Sebastian Vettel will be issued with his second five-place grid penalty in as many races after Ferrari was forced to change his gearbox following final practice at the British Grand Prix.
Vettel reported a gearbox issue after setting his fastest time at the end of the final practice session and after investigating the issue Ferrari was forced to change it ahead of qualifying. Under the sporting regulations, gearboxes have to last for six consecutive events and, although Ferrari fitted a new one to Vettel’s car on Saturday morning, as soon as he left the pits the next six-race cycle started.
It was also announced that Marcus Ericsson missed qualifying for the British Grand Prix in order to undergo checks in hospital following an accident in final practice. Ahead of Q1 the team tweeted: “We are still awaiting news from the hospital. Only Felipe will participate in qualifying.”
Let the battle for Pole Position begin…
In Q1, we saw Nico Rosberg topping the timesheets with a lap time of 1.30.724, Lewis Hamilton was second, Max Verstappen was third, Kimi Raikkonen was fourth, Sebastian Vettel was fifth, Daniel Ricciardo was sixth, Valtteri Bottas was seventh, Carlos Sainz Jr was eighth, Felipe Massa was ninth and Esteban Gutierrez rounded off the top ten finshers.
At the end of Q1 we lose Jenson Button, Jolyon Palmer, Rio Haryanto, Pascal Wehrlein and Felipe Nasr.
In Q2, we saw Hamilton topping the timesheets with a lap time of 1.29.243, Rosberg was second, Verstappen was third, Kimi Raikkonen was fourth, Vettel was fifth, Ricciardo was sixth, Raikkonen was seventh, Sainz Jr was eighth, Alonso was ninth and Hulkenberg rounded off the top ten finshers.
At the end of Q2 we lose Sergio Perez, Felipe Massa, Romain Grosjean, Esteban Gutierrez, Daniil Kvyat and Kevin Magnussen.
The battle for Pole Position is on…
At the end of Q3, Hamilton took Pole Position for the British GP for the second consecutive year, the sixth of the season with a lap time of 1.28.287, Rosberg finished in second place 0.319 seconds behind Hamilton, Verstappen finished in third place 1.026 seconds behind Hamilton, Ricciardo finished in fourth place 1.33 seconds behind Hamilton and Raikkonen was fifth place 1.594 seconds behind Hamilton.
Bottas ended the session in sixth place 2.270 seconds behind Hamilton, Sainz Jr finished in seventh place 2.702 seconds behind Hamilton, Hulkenberg finished in eight place 2.885 seconds behind Hamilton, Alonso finished in ninth place 3.056 seconds behind Hamilton and Perez finished in tenth place.
It would seem that Mercedes genuinely has the pace to challenge for the race win again this weekend despite their form in Qualifying. Both of the Mercedes drivers seem to have the cars underneath them to do this and have been consistent and fast throughout every session so far this weekend; even if Hamilton has a challenge on his hands to get a result this weekend.
You cannot discount Ricciardo, Verstappen or Vettel even to be challenging also for the race win and could also be the dark horses to take the win away from Mercedes (and also Ferrari in Mercedes’ case) that could see gaining some points on their rivals to kick start their Constructors Championship.
Hulkenberg, Sainz Jr and Raikkonen could also have a decent race and pick up some much needed points for their respective teams. Will it rain? I do not know. Who will win the Grand Prix on Sunday? I really don’t know.
But let’s see what happens tomorrow on the Speilberg circuit on race day on Sunday…