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Lewis Hamilton on another planet in F1 qualifying but Ferrari have a trap planned
Hamilton, Vettel F1
Posted By: James Allen  |  15 Jul 2017   |  6:00 pm GMT  |  97 comments

Motorsport is all about preparation awaiting opportunity, as Ross Brawn has always said.

But sometimes it is also about ‘inspiration’ and today was one of those days for Lewis Hamilton, who managed to find half a second over the Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel in British Grand Prix qualifying.

Hamilton put a lot of that huge time margin down to the inspiration he derived from the Silverstone crowd and from guests like former F4 racer and double amputee Billy Monger, who has been with Hamilton’s group this weekend.

Lewis Hamilton

Tomorrow Hamilton goes for his fifth British GP win, however the job is not done yet. Ferrari are set to be more competitive in the race, as they often are, partly due to the fact that they have less margin between their qualifying and race modes on the engine.

In this case there is also the fact that Vettel didn’t put his A game on the table today; he was sent out by the team for his final run in Q3 into a gaggle of three cars on his outlap, including Verstappen and Hulkenberg and he had to slow to let them get ahead so he could have clear track. That meant that the tyres were not ready for the hot lap and he lost 2/10ths in the first sector alone as a result.

For the race, the main observation is that there are two Ferraris at the front and only one Mercedes. With Valtteri Bottas’ five place penalty for a gearbox replacement, Hamilton is vulnerable to a Ferrari attack if they have the pace to follow him.

We have seen it several times this season, for example Red Bull did it in Monaco on Valtteri Bottas, with Verstappen trying the undercut and Ricciardo the overcut, which yielded a podium. On that occasion Bottas was struggling a bit with his tyres. Hamilton has not shown any signs of that in practice, although the degradation was higher than Ferrari’s. Raikkonen had lower degradation than the other two front runners, so could be a candidate for the overcut.

Ferrari, Mercedes F1

Vettel is well clear of Raikkonen on drivers’ championship points now, so he will certainly get the strategy that Ferrari feels has the highest chance of netting a win, if they are P2 and P3 and close enough to try a pincer movement on Hamilton,

“It depends on the pace we have,” Vettel told JA on F1 tonight. “If we all start in the same order then we can put him under pressure. He can’t react to both of us, that is ideal.

“We will have to see how the pace is after the start and the first lap.”

In FP2 the Ferrari was around 3/10ths of a second slower on the suprsoft on long runs, but there wasn’t any data from Mercedes on the soft as they didn’t do any long runs with it. Ferrari was quick on that tyre.

In general Ferrari has had the edge over Mercedes on the supersoft lately, including Austria last weekend. If they do the first stint tomorrow like they did the second stint in Austria, we have a race on our hands. It is possible to do the race in one stop and Bottas may try it from 9th on the grid starting on the soft tyres, but at the front it is likely to be an opening stint on supersofts and then two stints on softs.

Mercedes has its tactics too; although Bottas starts ninth he is targeting the podium and is able to one stop (soft/medium) that could keep him in Ferrari’s pit window and put him ahead on tack after Ferrari’s second stop if their pace drops.

Vettel played down the idea that it’s always good to beat your rival on his home soil, saying that all the drivers appreciate this event and this circuit.

“This is a great race for all drivers, lots of fans and a lot of support for all of us,” he said. “The crowd is very fair. It’s a great track, really enjoyable,

“So for sure it’s a nice race to win with a lot of history; it means a lot.”

How do you read the situation going into this race? Leave your comments in the section below

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At the end, Ferrari fell into its own trap.


So, what happened to this so-called trap Ferrari had planned That worked out well! lol


Racing gods had a plan and now things look how they were supposed to. Many congrats to Hamilton, it feels like he was destined to win this weekend no matter what. Great pole and flawless drive to victory. Kimi showed great pace for a laggard and Vettel’s pace was befitting of his talents. Great drive from Bottas, he is growing stronger and stronger, he is now seriously in the WDC. Max’s defending was great and showed Vettel unfair antics the fair treatment. You almost feel like Max in 2nd best car vs his competitors is going to be lot of fun to watch because he is still going to win and we will amazing racing. Hamilton leads the championship now, it going to be very interesting to watch the atmosphere unfold at Ferrari now.


just like I said, no one is capable of beating hamilton at silverstone except car failure.
what an awesome drive!


As long as he’s not taken out I’m putting my money on Hamilton, his head seems to be in the right place. He has a good car and he has the skill.


‘. . . Hamilton on another Planet . . .’

That was last Wednesday.
Saturday saw his feet firmly back on English soil.


What a stunning lap by LH….amazing speed! Lets hope this translates in to a win again today. Unlucky for DR, when it rains, it pours and it will be great to watch him carve through from the back. Also what was SV ranting about on his cooling down lap after Quali? Looks like he definitely still has anger issues….lol. Looking forward to the race what ever happens.

Antonis Papadakis

At the first pit stop both ferraris will overcut Lewis. The key here is to overcut MAX


Frank, get yourself back in that Williams garage pronto. You’re worth a couple of tenths apparently.


In Austria, Seb wasn’t able to keep pace with Valteri during the first stint; the long run during p2 suggest a 3 tenth gap; I don’t see how Ferrari is going to keep up with Lewis. They need to be more concerned about Max!

The Grape Unwashed

On the second stint Seb was easily quicker than Valtteri, Mercedes and Ferrari were very evenly matched over all.


“Lewis on another planet” … the same one where he spent Tuesday – while everyone else was in London?

The Grape Unwashed

Axel Knutt, ah yes the less publicised (but no less important!) Tuesday curry and darts evening, he really ought to have joined the others.


Go Ferrari go, show Hamilton your rear end.


Not very inspiring how he ruined Romain Grosjean’s qualifying. Ham said his team didn’t tell him Romain was coming up. Then Toto has the nerve to say Romain should just be happy to be in F1 – this is after HIS team didn’t tell Ham a car was coming up. No penalty. What would happen if Romain ignored the blue flags tomorrow? Mercedes is getting arrogant.


I would phrase that rather differently…they are arrogant.


You are so right @RiffRaff111, he clearly ruined Grosjean’s corner, anyone else would have had a penalty but it’s Hamilton in England… what can you do. Toto has always been super arrogant.


It’s Hamilton’s race to lose, especially as he’s so well prepared.
I hope Max gets a good result or at least a chance to stretch his legs.

Tornillo Amarillo

It is never too late to be what you might have been.
George Eliot

If Hulk got his maiden Podium tomorrow… I’m gonna die drowned in Champagne!


undercuts don’t work this year.


They do on tracks where there is tyre degradation


Although its was most probably an affectionate comment due to how much they like him Raikkonen being called ‘a person who makes slow progress and falls behind others’ by his boss should normally call for a disobedient response tomorrow.


Come on Ferrari! Give us a great race and a win!


Before the race, I wonder if Vettel studies race tactics as much, or more than Hamil. For sure if Vettel wins, he might be more the professor


That was some lap, maybe the other guys need to take a couple of days off…..


Yeah, to top Q1 by 1.3s in a McLaren Honda, incredible. 😉

You mean the Mercedes PU engineers can take a couple of days off, or the rest of the year, as nobody can touch the works Merc.


Since one says about the other guys, why fail noticing the car.


Wonder how many drivers will be on holidays next one they have


Race pace. Unless Raikkonen has had a new lease of F1 performance life, which must be welcomed by all, I do not believe the placings of the top 3 in Q3 is a true reflection.based on season 2017 form so far, the gap from Hamilton to Vettel is too big to be true. If it is genuine then the two Red cars will not see which way Hamilton went. Hamilton has not been slow off the mark for some races now. If he is, then we could see a Red car 1-2 at the end of lap 1… unlikely in my opinion.

I do hope it’s more of a competitive race than the gaps in Q3 suggest. Very windy tonight. I wonder what the weather will be like at Silverstone when those red lights go out. Bring it on.

Tornillo Amarillo

I want Lewis wins, but a couple of days ago something told me “Kimi” will win it.
Now Kimi got the P2 for tomorrow…


Tornillo, if it isnt to be Lewis’ day, then I would love to see Kimi win, especially if he manages to circumvent Ferrari’s inevitable efforts to get Seb in front…..


Money on LH and Vet for 1st place


does that thing have a name?

The Grape Unwashed

Ferrari were level with Mercedes in P3, add a sprinkling of rain and Hamilton is 1.3s ahead of his teammate, 0.55 ahead of Raikkonen and 0.75 ahead of Vettel – an absolutely stunning performance. However the Ferrari strategy pans out tomorrow, Hamilton has shown he is in a class of his own.

Stephen Taylor

Yeah that’s because because time was a 1.27.376 not .776 that was a typo . Apologies.

Stephen Taylor

Don’t know where you 1.5 from as the gap from between Hamilton and Bottas from cos it’s not right.
Hamilton 1.26.600
Bottas – 1.27.776.
That’s more like +-0.676 difference to me.


Really….? Not 1.176 ?

The Grape Unwashed

Stephen, that’s some shonky arithemtic you’ve got there 😀

But yeah, I got the gap wrong too, F1Fanatic has the times as 1m26.6 for Hamilton and 1m27.376, which makes 0.776… a yawning gulf in lap time.

In the dry, in final practice, the top three were covered by a few hundredths of a second…

1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1’28.063
2 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1’28.095
3 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1’28.137

In qualifying it was down to seat of the pants on a drying track, that’s when the gap appeared. Talent was the differentiating factor.

Stephen Taylor

James you have given a scenario that could happen if Raikkonen and Vettel are running P2/P3 tomorrow . What happens if Kimi takes the lead from Hamilton and drives off into the distance with Hamilton 2nd and Seb 3rd?


At first, I liked the thought . Then reality sinks in. This is 2017, not 2005 🙂


How on earth would Kimi ‘drive of into the distance’ from Hamilton?


Kimi wins.


is that possible with vettel on track?


Then Kimi will win 🙂


Kimi … drive off into the distance …

It’s not 2005 you know!


Huge RK fan but this made me chuckle


HE would have to start now


vettel and raikkonen should be more concerned about bottas than hamilton..


That would be case closed on our debate.


Like that has ever happened.


now you know.


Then Seb will try to undercut


I am sorry to say bit Kimi will be fifth by the first corner.


Then alarm clock goes off and we all wake up. Ferrari won’t drive into the distance against this Mercedes. I hope I’m wrong though 🙂


A Ferrari undercut would need to have a clear window behind it… would a Mercedes one-stop with Bottas interfere with any attempt to achieve this?


Hi James

Will Ferrari potentially have to go longer due to the potential “gap” they would feed back into that may put them behind a yet to stop Bottas who could then help Hamilton out a bit? Or is this not the dynamics at play at Mercedes at present?


A lot will depend how many places Bottas makes up at the start and his position when the others reach their pit window.
If he does another of his jumped starts, he could be right up with Ham, Vet and Kimi.
At least he should be safe from Danil ‘the torpedo’ Kvyat!


they should rather look out for bottas…


Yes definitely good point


great minds think alike.

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