Hamilton Takes Dominant Pole In Front Of Delighted Home Fans
Posted By:   |  29 Jun 2013   |  2:49 pm GMT  |  253 comments

Lewis Hamilton spread delight across the Northamptonshire countryside today as he took a dominant pole position at his home Grand Prix, heading a Mercedes front-row lock out with Sebastian Vettel completing the top three.

But there was dismay for Paul di Resta, who qualified in fifth place only for his Force India car to be found 1.5kg underweight. He was moved to the back of the grid.

Following their strong one lap pace in Free Practice, qualifying looked set to be a battle between the Mercedes pair and the Red Bulls as they swapped fastest time throughout the hour.

And on the second set of runs in the top ten shoot-out Nico Rosberg took thousandths off of his British team mate’s time to hold provisional pole, before Hamilton eclipsed the field with a sensational lap to take his 28th career pole and his second at Silverstone.

The British Grand Prix has not been won from pole since 2009, but that unpromising statistic does not dampen Hamilton’s mood this afternoon after an excellent lap.

“It feels incredible to be on pole, just like it did back in 2007,” he said. “We have the greatest Formula One fans in the world here in Britain and there was a great turnout today, which makes the atmosphere so special.

Red Bull had threatened session long with Vettel shadowing the pace of the Mercedes in the first two sessions. But he and team mate Mark Webber were unable to compete with the 1.6 seconds time gain that Hamilton found between Q2 and Q3.

However Vettel and Webber were both satisfied with the result in the knowledge that their race pace is superior to the qualifying specialists at Mercedes. Interestingly they prioritised saving medium tyres for the race, while Mercedes went with medium tyres in Q1, clearly wanting to save hard tyres for the race.

Behind the top four Paul Di Resta added to the smiles on the home fans faces as he took fifth position in a very good session for the Scot. He illustrated last time out in Canada that Force India have very good race pace and with team mate Adrian Sutil beginning the race in seventh place the Silverstone based team are in a strong position to put more distance between themselves and McLaren in the Constructors’ championship.

Daniel Ricciardo in six place, equalling his career best, fills the space between the Force India duo with an equally impressive session. The Australian was on the pace all afternoon and after taking fifth place in Q2 he looked set for a high starting position as he looks to impress the bosses at Red Bull who have said that Webber’s seat for 2014 will be filled by either a Toro Rosso driver or Kimi Raikkonen.

The Finn had another low-key qualifying session for Lotus, ending the day in ninth place sandwiched between his team mate, Romain Grosjean, and Fernando Alonso in a lacklustre Ferrari, who was 1.3 seconds off the pace.

Ferrari had been struggling to get the tyres warmed up throughout Free Practice 3 and Alonso couldn’t compete with his title rivals today. He admitted that he is worried about the decline in Ferrari’s performance lately and called it the “worst Saturday” of the season so far, “We seem to perform worse and worse, ” he said. “If you remember at the beginning of the year both Ferraris were competitive. We were on the first two rows in the first three or four races. Even in Malaysia Felipe started on the front row of the grid – we were second and third – and here we start getting in positions that are familiar unfortunately, which is fighting for Q3 as we were last year.”

The same was true for McLaren; with little expectations heading in to his home race, Jenson Button was relatively pleased to end up in eleventh place today and give himself a good chance of points as the first runner with a free tyre choice.

The fourth and final Brit on this year’s British Grand Prix grid is Max Chilton in the Marussia team. He had a tricky session and completed the grid with a time almost two seconds slower than his team mate.

BRITISH GRAND PRIX, Silverstone, Qualifying
1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m29.607s
2. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m30.059s
3. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1m30.211s
4. Mark Webber Red Bull 1m30.220s
5. Paul di Resta Force India 1m30.736s
6. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 1m30.757s
7. Adrian Sutil Force India 1m30.908s
8. Romain Grosjean Lotu 1m30.955s
9. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus 1m30.962s
10. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m30.979s
11. Jenson Button McLaren 1m31.649s + 0.659s
12. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m31.779s + 0.789s
13. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1m31.785s + 0.795s
14. Sergio Perez McLaren 1m32.082s + 1.092s
15. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber 1m32.211s + 1.221s
16. Pastor Maldonado Williams 1m32.359s + 1.369s
17. Valtteri Bottas Williams 1m32.664s + 1.669s
18. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1m32.666s + 1.671s
19. Charles Pic Caterham 1m33.866s + 2.871s
20. Jules Bianchi Marussia 1m34.108s + 3.113s
21. Giedo van der Garde Caterham 1m35.481s + 4.486s
22. Max Chilton Marussia 1m35.858s + 4.863s

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Sorry that something went wrong, repeat again!

i suspect pirelli changed the tyres without telling anyone.

in the past, the tyres failed a left behind a steel belt which kept the tyre inflated albeit without rubber. in all of the tyre failures at silverstone, the metal band was missing. the teams voted against a new construction without that metal band but it looks like pirelli ignored that democratic process and went for a dictatorship.


Who says the steel was missing?

David Selway-Hoskins

Watching Silverstone it is clear that some tyre changes must be made. It is quite unreasonable to ask Pirelli to develop tyres without in-season testing and without a current F1 tyre test car – the rules must change to allow someone to provide a current car with a top driver


Yeah – That tyre choice by Pirreli is really favouring Merc!!!


Enjoy the Pirreli tyres!!!



how come ForceIndia were so strong in qualifying when Ferrari struggled so massively. Before Silverstone it seemed that Ferrari/Lotus/ForceIndia were similar in the way they treat the tyres, so if the tyres/temperatures are to blame for Ferrari’s troubles, then how come ForceIndia were so strong?



here is an interesting question for you: If RBR were to setup their car for fastest one lap quali performance, would they be able to beat Mercedes to pole? (What is the feeling among engineers?)

At the start of the season it appeared that RBR were head and shoulders above the rest (I remember sessions in Australia were Vettel was 1 second faster than anyone else.) It was my impression that over the course of the season RBR compromised their car so that they can enjoy longer tyre life in the race. Is that correct?


Hope all u fans who said the racing was false and boring early in the year really get stuck into tonight’s snoozefest………harder tyres are great for f1…..Merc and Red Bull in the top 4…who they favouring now???? Enjoy tonight’s boring gp


Congrats to Lewis for producing under pressure.

Nico Ross Braun deserve some appreciation as well.

After Barcelona all I heard from Ferarri fans was what a superior job they had done setting their car up for the tires. Now all I read is that Pirelli is favoring Merc buy using the same tire compounds used in Barcelona where Ferrari won.

In other news Paul Hembry in a rare incident of clarity said one of the things Pirreli is asking for in new contract is tire decisions to only require a majority of teams for approval.

Torchwood Five

I have not really given credence to teams and drivers’ claims about coming second being that bad, or the worst thing, but looking at comments on here, hardly any mention of Rosberg’s achievement, or even just his name, compared to the amount of times most others in the top ten qualifiers get a mention.

BBC, if you are reading this, too late for this year, but for the British Grand Prix next year, and maybe beyond, how about seeing if you can attract Jake Humphreys back to work alongside EJ and DC for the one weekend. Those viewers who enjoyed the trio get a treat, and Jake doesn’t have to travel anywhere.

Suzi Perry was great on the Gadget Show, but I am afraid she isn’t doing it for me on F1, compared to her Sky counterparts, plus Eddie Jordan doesn’t seem to be around much either.

roberto marquez

I would like to see a serious comment ,by somebody wiht knowledge on design of Formula cars, to help me , and others ,understand why some scuderias go back and forward from one race to another. If engines are similar how much difference there is in their outputs ? If weight has to be in an interval, also what differences are there ? And if all this,lets call them “mechanical” components are very close ,then is “aerodynamics”the sepparating factor ? If this is the conclusion ,there is no way smaller companies will ever be competitive,and more and more this sport will be won on drawing palets and laptops rather than in the circuits. To me that would be a sad end to this great sport ,where drivers always made a BIG difference.


James should write about this, why cant Ferrari hire some good People from a team that is strong in Q3, is it so bad to work at Marinello!?!


Great question. One factor is that the difference in speed between the cars is now so slight – for instance compare quali today with the British GP back in 1993

the gap between HAM on pole & ALO in tenth is 1.372 seconds.

But 20 years ago the gap between Pole Prost/Williams and 2nd Hill/Williams was 0.128

The gap from Hill to 3rd MSC/Benetton was 1.267

The gap from MSC to 4th Senna/McL was 1.585

The slowest car was Alboreto in a Lola 7 1/2 secs behind pole. ( his time by the way was 1:26.520 – over 3 secs faster than HAM’s effort!)

So due to the ‘control formula’ of many factors in the current regs, the difference between teams and between drivers is minuscule – hence sensitivity to tyre temps makes a big jump between cars – the slightest Aero tweak can put you on pole or drop you back to 10th.

All the waffle on this site about Ham is better than Vet is better than Alo is pretty much rubbish because all these guys are so close that on a given day on a given corner, the slightest miscue can drop you back several positions.

And frankly I think F1 is better off for it.


Different track layout back then of course, so the comparison in lap times (this year’s to yesteryear’s) can’t be made.

The track was 5.226 kms long in 1993; it’s 5.901 kms now.

The spread between the cars is very thin now … it was probably at its thinnest last year, at least for a long while. The spread should be greater next year, and likely the widest in at least a decade.


Modern F1 cars can be set up at for qualifying or for race pace. Usually a balance is struck to get at the best of both. Red Bull have mastered this art.

Now, both Mercedes and Ferrari set up their cars with bias at opposing ends of this spectrum for different reasons. Ferrari choose race pace hoping to give Alonso the edge over other cars and make his way through the first 4/5/6 cars. In doing so they sacrifice some grid positions. However, Mercedes have a high degradation problem for their rear tyres, and are trying to fix it. In the meantime they feel content in garnering pole positions and hence set up their cars for qualification results.

I really truly hope Hamilton pulls the win off, but his car is set up for pole position and not the chequered flag.


The claim that F1 cars can be set up for quali or race pace is proper nonsense.

They are set up to optimise tyre wear. If a cars design is missing a trick in tyre wear, then it can’t be helped.


In your case my friend, a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

Lotus trackside operations director Alan Permane describes their 2013 car:

“I wouldn’t go as far as to say our qualifying pace is perfect as it’s clear there are still gains to be made, but we’ve certainly made significant inroads into understanding how to get the most out of tyres over single lap, in addition to balancing setup for both qualifying and race pace,”


My friend of limited knowledge, I have never disputed the tyre degradation issue is a set up factor. But then why do you keep denying that F1 cars’ set up can be polarised between qualification and the race? Don’t be flippant with the facts, do your own research and you will see I am right.

Excerpt from Jonathan Noble’s Eurosport piece (26.04.13):

Ferrari’s deputy chief designer Simone Resta thinks that it needs to do much better on Saturdays, especially because it is becoming increasingly clear that starting near the front gives drivers a better opportunity to run in clear air and look after their tyres.

“This year I think we have shown a reasonable race pace, and we closed the gap in qualifying [compared to 2012], but we still need to work on that – and it is a priority for us,” said Resta, when asked by AUTOSPORT if qualifying form still matters with the new higher degrading tyres.

“I think learning the tyres and also how to treat them is an important factor in that – and concentrating your set-up more to qualifying or more to the race is another factor.

“But I think for us, it is a priority to try and recover performance in qualifying.”


Haha! What do you think Alan Permane means by:

“understanding how to get the most out of TYRES over single lap, in addition to balancing setup for both qualifying and race pace,”

Its tyres, tyres, tyres, tyres, tyres, tyres!

Read what I said again. The cars are set up to use TYRES to the max for quali and to conserve TYRES during the race; your quote from Alan Permane perfectly backs up what I said earlier.

There is a gap in the way a lot of people understand quali and race pace, so they make formulaic arguments that are quite illogical.

I will go so far to say that a driver can do (or even surpass) quali times on race day, so far as they are:

1. on brand new TYRES,

2. in attack mode, running on full engine revs,

3. carrying a light fuel load (say, around last lap).


I keep on wondering what Schumacher would have done in this years Merc… Well done Lewis! Watchout for Kimi tomorrow he is going to come through the field


Everyone on here who thinks testing helped merc get the pole, get a life, the merc had been superior on single lap to every other car on the grid, testing has nothing to do with it


Alas poor Di Resta !

(In case you haven’t herd, he was sent to the back of the grid as his car was 1.5kg underweight….Force India let him down again!)

I recon he is the best up and coming driver out there. If I was in Horner’s shoes I would get the cheque book out and get and option on him, in case Kimi decides to stick with Lotus.

And Lopez should do the same in case Kimi does take the Red Bull shilling (millions of..;-)



one time F3 driver


Can’t remember when I last heard about an exclusion b/c of being underweight. I almost suspect internal sabatoge, b/c of Di Resta’s rantings these past few events.


Great session.

Even as a fan of Kimi can’t blame Pirelli for not bringing the Tires-that-can’t-be-raced-on.

Hope for a real battle at the top!


Hats off to Danny Ricciardo.

I think he will have won over quite a few new folk this weekend.


I wonder if Renault will lean on Red Bull to take JEV over DR if they are performing similarly


Concurred. Dan seems like a really quality guy and I think he actually has quite a bit of speed to show.

His performances over the last two years have been more consistent than JEV, however JEV has more points this year.

I really hope Dan gets a seat at RBR but I think anyone who says they know who it’s going to be is kidding themselves.


Dan has been performing well against JEV this season. All he needs is a bit of luck, and not being sabotaged by JEV’s countryman 😉




Fingers crossed for him in the race today & with the race for the Red Bull seat. Great he is moving up to 5th place on the grid. Hot weather here today so should help.

Being a Brit, great to see Lewis on pole, would be great ending for Webber to get a podium today.


And he may have won a RBR seat too


Well seems Di Resta needs to feed his car. It´s underweight and there is a big penalty for him.


Hi Anne,

It seems that is was di Resta not feeding himself as his own weight dropped 1.5 kg over the weekend. It will be interesting to see what sort of comment he makes about it given his criticism of the team in Monaco and Canada.


Serious?! If that’s true, that’s laughable! Wouldn’t they have checked again, and added more ballast? Or stuffed a few cheeseburgers in Paul’s mouth?!


Question for James Allen,

We are talking a very fine margin (which is what F1 is all about), however complying with such a fundamental spec shouldn’t be too challenging for any team.

As the 642kg min weight is for the car without fuel, any word as to how it came in 1.5kgs under? Was it from new components, too little ballast etc.

Surely the reward (of saving 1.5 kgs) far outweighs the risk.


It is very rare nowadays for a team to make this mistake

I’ll find out how but it will be through not checking at start of quali


They say the scales might be wonky.


Shame really, hope he get a more competitive drive next year, replace massa at Ferrari hope so


They have emails from Charlie agreeing to them underfuelling their cars. There might be a small penalty though…. No sugar in the coffee for half a day.


Hamilton did ok in qualifying though I am certain that 1,000 km of testing helped a lot. So from that perspective as we no longer have a level playing field in Formula One 2013, I am reserving judgement on the quality of the entire Mercedes performance.

Qualifying penalty especially hard for Paul Di Resta, but unless your Mercedes the rules are the rules.

Ferrari on the other hand are now going backwards with both determination and speed!

Given that the gap between the drivers today was most likely down to Felipe’s limited running both yesterday and in FP3, then the drivers are once again pretty equal. Which means Ferrari have fallen from row 2/3 capability back to row 5/6 in just a few races since Barcelona where both drivers were on the podium.

It also means Fernando’s championship chances, not to mention the constructors championship are beginning to slip away and Vettel’s grasp on his fourth title is ever tighter, especially as Lotus is also losing steam in the midseason development race.



Hamilton only did ok in quali? Haha! Do you realise he broke the Silverstone record yesterday?

His quali was record breaking, bloody absolute!


James, who gave the recent story about Ferrari hoping to improve qualifying at this race? I wonder if you could pass a small message from a Ferrari fan back. At the next race when Ferrari release a story about how they are going to try and improve qualifying, just smile brightly and say “That’s amazing! I never heard that before!”. Limping glue anyone?


Ferrari has the tyre advantage, not RBR or MER.

Alonso won in a superior way after their secret desert test… with hard/medium in Barcelona and Felipe was on P3. The same compound as in Silverstone now!

In Canada Alonso only could attack with the medium compound, after he got ride of the soft tires.

So stop crzing and blaming Pirelli or RBR or Mercedes. It is an advantage for Ferrari and nothing else.


I thought Ferrari and Lotus said that Perreli’s tyre’s for this season were good! No team is being helped here. The tyres are the same for every team like it has always been. Ferrari won on the same tyre allocation in Barcelona, and could have challenged RBR in Bahrain for the win if not for the DRS failure on Alonso’s car.


It’s disgraceful that Pirelli are manipulating the championship in favour of Red Bull and Mercedes. They should be manipulating it in favour of Ferrari and Lotus.


Why !? I think they are merely being cautious because of the tyre issues they have had. The teams would not allow them to change them to sort out the issues which bordered on being dangerous so they have done the next best thing. It is also true that the tyres are softer this year as compared to last.


Funny. LOL 🙂




Reading through this message board, I’m getting well and truly fed up with the conspiracy theorists. Silvertsone has always had the harder tyre choices because it’s a damn fast track with high loads, just like Barcelona were Ferrari dominated.

Time for people to put their tin foil hats away.


James, may I make this plea here that you consider fronting the BBC tv coverage? or at least, being part of it?

That would be a boost for fans who surely feel they are short changed by both tv channels.

I speak as a refugee from Sky on this occassion. It was 36 minutes into the show before the excellent Garry Anderson had a spot, apart from 90 seconds with Horner. That’s a long wait.

Sorry to gripe BBC.


Very happy where I am thanks!


James, sorry off topic. Could you write an article at some point during the week about Matt Morris? He will join McLaren next year I guess. And this news didn´t make big waves. I can only speak for myself here. I don´t know much about him, only that he is at Sauber.


No, Mercedes didn’t gain any advantage during their illegal three day, 1000+km, per contemporary car with their current race drivers; missing out on the young drivers test will really hurt them badly.

This season is blighted.

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