Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas has won the qualifying for the British Grand Prix and is starting from first place on the grid on Sunday (15:10 Liveticker SPIEGEL ONLINE, TV: RTL and Sky). The Finn secured pole position for the fourth time this season, relegating his team-mate Lewis Hamilton by 0.006 seconds to second. The second row starts with Ferrari star Charles Leclerc (+0.079 seconds) and Red Bull driver Max Verstappen (+0.183). Nico Hülkenberg starts from tenth place.
For Sebastian Vettel, it was only enough for sixth place on the grid, because he could not beat the second Red Bull driver Pierre Gasly. At the beginning of qualifying, the German had still reported problems with the DRS, but that could fix Ferrari. “I simply could not increase what else is automatically coming,” said Vettel at the TV channel Sky. He was 0.694 seconds behind Bottas and thus almost 0.6 seconds behind Leclerc.
Vettel and his team-mate Leclerc will race with the soft tire compound, which gives hope for a good start. However, the red mixture wears much faster, so they will have to pit early. Mercedes and Red Bull opted for the medium tires in the middle qualifying sector, so they will start the race with this mixture.
“All in all, a bit of speed was missing, I did not feel so comfortable in the car, that the speed came by itself,” said Vettel. “One lap is not really right at the moment, I was the same all the time – and everyone else was getting faster and faster.” In terms of race strategy, Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff was surprised by Ferrari's tire choice. “We do not understand that,” he told the ORF. Actually, experts expect two stops, which will be difficult to sustain on Soft start.
Hamilton narrowly missed his seventh pole position at Silverstone. “I was not good enough today,” he said, still looking forward to his home game: “That's the best race of the year.” Leclerc ranked third as “the maximum” for Ferrari.