Max starting British Grand Prix from P5: 'The car felt very good'

Published on 07 July 2018 by Mike Motilall

Max Verstappen will start the British Grand Prix from the third row. During qualifying the young Dutchman, driving for Aston Martin Red Bull Racing, was the fifth fastest. Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton took the pole home. On Silverstone, Ferrari running Sebastian Vettel came in second ahead of team mate Kimi Raikkonen who finished third.

“We are losing more than a second on the straights”, says Max after qualifying. “This track is less favourable for us, which is a shame. The car felt really good in qualifying. For Q3 we made some small adjustments to the front wing and we know that the car is strong.”

Looking ahead at the race, Max continues: ”Tomorrow it will be a bit warmer and still it’s going to be a bit of a struggle compared to the cars ahead of us because it’s lap time they gain on the straights. We then have to push harder on our tyres and with the heat that’s not ideal, but we’ll see. Most of the times we said we are going to get a boring race, we got an entertaining race, so I hope the same for tomorrow.”

Before the start of Q1, it is clear that Pierre Gasly will also take part in qualifying. Earlier that day, his team mate Brendon Hartley flew off track after his front suspension broke during braking for Brooklands. The front suspension on Gasly’s car has been modified while Hartley’s car was not finished on time to also partake in qualifying.

At the start of Q1, the weather hasn’t changed and with a temperature now of about 25 degrees it is quite pleasant. Gasly and both Haas’ drivers immediately head out when the lights turn green. Ferrari is also very early to head out on track. Gasly is not at all comfortable in his Toro Rosso: “Much vibration”, he relays on the radio. Moments later the red flag is out. Lance Stroll has skidded off track and recovering the car proves to be too hazardous to be done under a yellow flag. This results in him being the second drop out.

When the track is cleared again, it’s immediately very busy on track. Raikkonen is the first to get a time on the clock after the red flag condition. Charles Leclerc slots in behind the Finn and then there is suddenly a yellow flag out. The second Williams, this time Sergey Sirotkin’s, plowes its way through the gravel trap but is able to get out. By then Max is reporting some gearbox issues on the radio. After his first run, the Dutchman is eight fastest and manages to move up to P4.

When all is clear in Q1, Hartley, Stroll, Sirotkin, Stoffel Vandoorne and Carlos Sainz have all failed to move on the next round of qualifying. Especially for the latter it’s a bitter pill. The Renault running Spaniard complained on the radio about traffic from Kevin Magnussen. Apparently he made a mistake somewhere.

Hamilton is the first one to get things going at the start of Q2. Both Red Bulls are also on the soft compound tyre. Hamilton aborts his first fast lap leaving Valtteri Bottas to be the first to get a fast lap time on the clock. Sebastian Vettel betters that moments later, while Raikkonen slots in in third. Both Red Bulls are P4 (Max) and P5 (Ricciardo) after their first run. Hamilton takes back control over matters as he tops the board and is P1.

After everyone has had a run, Nico Hülkenberg, Sergio Perez, Fernando Alonso, Marcus Ericsson and Gasly all have to fear being eliminated. By this time they are in the elimination zone and won’t make it through to Q3.

Both Mercedes, as oppose to both Red Bulls and both Ferrari’s, do head back out again for a second run. After the flag drops, Alonso, Perez, Ericsson, Gasly and Hülkenberg can hit the showers.

When it’s lights out for the final part of qualifying, we see the six drivers from the three top teams as the first ones out on track. Moments later, Esteban Ocon follows suit. Hamilton manages to get below the 1:26 and sets a marker for his peers. Bottas follows but is unable to beat the time set by the Brit. Vettel manages to better Hamilton’s time and takes over the number one spot. Max is, after his first run, just ahead of his team mate in fifth. Ricciardo informs his team on the radio that he didn’t have DRS in his first lap.

The top six goes out for the second and final run. Hamilton is the first to take charge and grabs pole from Vettel. Team mate Bottas is stuck in third and Vettel also fails to better his time. The German remains second. Raikkonen passes his fellow countryman and is third fastest. Max betters his time but has to settle for the fifth fastest position.

With Ricciardo in sixth, Magnussen and Romain Grosjean occupy positions seven and eight. Leclerc is ninth fastest, ahead of Force India driver Ocon who is P10.

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Results qualifying Great Britain:

1Lewis HamiltonHAMMercedes1:26.8181:26.2561:25.89216
2Sevastian VettelVETFerrari1:26.5851:26.3721:25.93617
3Kimi RäikkönenRAIFerrari1:27.5491:26.4831:25.99017
5Max VerstappenVERRed Bull Racing TAG Heuer1:27.3091:27.0131:26.60214
6Daniel RicciardoRICRed Bull Racing TAG Heuer1:27.9791:27.3691:27.09914
7Kevin MagnussenMAGHaas Ferrari1:28.1431:27.7301:27.24419
8Romain GrosjeanGROHaas Ferrari1:28.0861:27.5221:27.45520
9Charles LeclercLECSauber Ferrari1:27.9621:27.7901:27.87919
10Esteban OconOCOForce India Mercedes1:28.2791:27.8431:28.19420
11Nico HulkenbergHULRenault1:28.0171:27.90112
12Sergio PerezPERForce India Mercedes1:28.2101:27.92814
13Fernando AlonsoALOMcLaren Renault1:28.1871:28.13912
14Pierre GaslyGASScuderia Toro Rosso Honda1:28.3991:28.34315
15Marcus EricssonERISauber Ferrari1:28.2491:28.39116
16Carlos SainzSAIRenault1:28.4568
17Stoffel VandoorneVANMcLaren Renault1:29.0969
18SergeySirotkinSIRSIRWilliams Mercedes1:29.2527
0Lance StrollSTRWilliams MercedesDNF2
0Brendon HartleyHARScuderia Toro Rosso Honda ---3