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Qualifying highlights - Britain 2013 - Mercedes fight for pole position as Ferrari fall backwards

Published by Christine

Hamilton in Silverstone
Credit: Daimler AG

From the meagre evidence we got out of Free Practice, it looked like it was going to be a battle between the Red Bull and Mercedes drivers throughout the weekend. Qualifying delivered the next stage in that battle, as the pair swept into the top ten and set about fighting for the coveted pole position.

With cheering crowds in the grandstands and some sunshine finally above their heads, it was all to play for as qualifying began.

There were some surprise dropouts early on, and although it was an incident-free and reasonably calm session, it leaves us with a great grid for tomorrow's race. If you want to relive any of the action or catch up with moments you missed, here are the highlights of the Factbyte Factbox coverage of qualifying for the British Grand Prix.

As it happened: Britain 2013 - Qualifying

Event Highlights

  • Lewis Hamilton scoops pole position with a storming 1:29.607.
  • Mercedes lock out the front row, with Red Bull dominating the second.
  • Fernando Alonso struggles in tenth, with Felipe Massa out in Q2.
  • Both McLaren drivers fail to make the top ten, Button qualifying 11th.
  • Maldonado scrapes through to Q2 as Bottas drops out in Q1, but it's only P16 for Pastor.
  • 12:30

    Hello, welcome along, this is the Factbyte Factbox for qualifying ahead of the British Grand Prix. It's Silverstone and, hold your breath, it's not raining!

  • 12:32

    Lots of news in the three-week break, Mercedes' hearing, WMSC rule changes and Mark Webber calling time on his F1 career. But, there's a time and place for news, here we are looking forward to another great racing weekend.

  • 12:32

    Yesterday, practice was marred by the weather. The first session saw only eleven drivers set a time, and Charles Pic crashed. The second session was better, but Felipe Massa crashed!

  • 12:34

    Third practice this morning saw the two Mercedes drivers lead the two Red Bulls, so it looks set to be a battle between those four for pole position.

  • 12:35

    However, the Toro Rosso pair of Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Éric Vergne have been posting some fast times across the practice sessions. They've both got an eye firmly on the seat opening up at Red Bull next year.

  • 12:36

    Hard and medium tyresThe tyres in use today (along with the wets) are hard and medium - orange and white sidewalls respectively.

  • 12:39

    QuoteInterview with Paul di Resta: "I think Q3 is what we need to go out and try and achieve. It was very close this morning... there was some issues, I think we tweaked the car in the wrong direction in the last run but we'll try and improve it... Toro Rosso certainly seemed to have upped their game... Good conditions hopefully, and we can progress through."

  • 12:43
    2013 Pole Positions
    1S Vettel3
    2N Rosberg3
    3L Hamilton1
  • 12:44

    Four drivers celebrate their home race this weekend: Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button, Paul di Resta and Max Chilton. Only one has a real shot at victory, though.

  • 12:44

    Meanwhile, Williams have hit a massive milestone, celebrating their 600th Grand Prix here at Silverstone. 600!

  • 12:45

    TweetTweet from @InsideFerrari: Temperatures a bit higher compared to the morning, waiting for qualifying in 15'...

  • 12:52

    McLaren held off running in the wet yesterday, as they've got upgrades to that car that they don't want to put at risk. Upgrades are sorely needed as the team continue to struggle in the midfield.

  • 12:53
    Lap Data
    (data from Williams F1)
    Fuel consumption2.7kg
    Fuel lap time penalty0.4s/10kg
    Full throttle66%
    Top speed302kph
    Average speed233kph
    Longest straight1034m
    Pit lane loss16s
    Pit lane length422m
  • 12:54

    TweetTweet from @clubforce: Lots of people on the pitlane walk. Nice to see so many smiling faces and welcome our guests to our garage! Hope everyone enjoyed it!

  • 12:56



    Wind speed4.6mps
  • 12:57

    Williams make their final preparations for their 600th qualifying, via @dickiestanford.

  • 12:58

    In the garages, Alonso sits sporting a new moustache/beard combo, bouncing a little with anticipation. Webber covers his ears as the engines roar and tries to hear what his engineers are saying.

  • 13:00

    Green flagQualifying session 1 begins.

  • 13:00

    Hamilton gets strapped into his car, as a brief moment's pause starts the session. Nico Hülkenberg heads out first, into the sunshine and dry conditions (finally!)

  • 13:01

    Hard tyres on that Sauber for his first run.

  • 13:01

    In Sauber statistics, Hülkenberg has outqualified his rookie teammate Esteban Gutiérrez on all seven occasions so far this season.

  • 13:02

    Gutiérrez joins his teammate out on track, as Max Chilton also emerges on the medium compounds.

  • 13:03

    The Hulk sets the first lap time of the session, a 1:35.806.

  • 13:04

    Pole position in 2012 was 1:51.746 set by Fernando Alonso in the Ferrari. I don't think that's something we'll be aiming for.

  • 13:04

    I thought Hamilton was being strapped into the car, perhaps it was Rosberg, as the Brit is out on the pit wall giving the fans a wave before he gets on with that pesky business of qualifying.

  • 13:05

    Twelve drivers have taken to the track now, five times on the board with Romain Grosjean on top - a 1:32.586.

  • 13:07

    Sergio Pérez is on his first lap of the session. The McLaren driver suffered a severe puncture this morning in practice, that caused a big repair job for the mechanics.

  • 13:08

    Pérez's first timed lap sees him eighth, behind Pastor Maldonado. Meanwhile, Paul di Resta looks up on the fastest time so far as he circles round to get his name on the timesheet.

  • 13:09

    Ah, it's second for Paul as he splits the difference between Grosjean still P1 and Räikkönen now P3.

  • 13:10

    The two Lotus drivers are running different setups this weekend, as Kimi has the open extra vents around the airbox. We're also seeing some replays of epic sparks being kicked up out the back of the Lotus as it bottoms out through the lap.

  • 13:11

    Now just four drivers remain in their garage, with both Red Bulls, Jenson Button and Giedo van der Garde. Unusual for a Caterham to be stuck in the pit lane so long.

  • 13:11

    Nico Rosberg crosses the line to finally knock Grosjean down, with a 1:31. Hamilton follows along behind and pushes the benchmark down to 1:30.995.

  • 13:12

    Mark Webber heads out to begin his final qualifying session in Formula One at Silverstone. (We can so do this for each session all year!)

  • 13:13

    The two Mercedes drivers are on the medium tyres, whilst their nearest competitors have got the harder compound on.

  • 13:14

    Jenson Button came out for a single lap before heading back into the pit lane again. Just over five minutes of this first session remaining.

  • 13:14

    No sign of Van der Garde yet either.

  • 13:15

    Webber posts the third fastest time, behind the two Mercedes drivers who have returned to the pit lane - happy with their times?

  • 13:16

    Pérez is instructed he has time for three timed laps, so he should do a fast one, a slow one, and another fast one.

  • 13:17

    Button's back out and on a hot lap now, he needs to set a time now to get him out of the drop zone.

  • 13:17

    Others sitting in the danger zone at the moment include Nico Hülkenberg, Charles Pic, Jules Bianchi, Max Chilton and Giedo van der Garde.

  • 13:18

    Van der Garde has finally left the garage.

  • 13:18

    At the top, Räikkönen sits third with teammate Grosjean behind him, the pair separated by just 0.066 seconds.

  • 13:19

    Fernando Alonso sits 13th and he's back in the pit lane. No time to come out again, so he's playing the risky game of waiting to see if anyone beneath him improves massively.

  • 13:20

    Chequered flagQualifying session 1 ends.

  • 13:20

    Hülkenberg improves to drop Massa and Bottas into the drop zone. Alonso down to 14th now.

  • 13:20

    Massa improves to 14th which drops his teammate down another place.

  • 13:21

    Valtteri Bottas hauls himself out of the pitlane, but Pastor Maldonado does exactly the same, dumping his teammate back into the bottom six. A tenth of a second splits the two.

  • 13:22

    The fastest three in that session were Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg and Kimi Räikkönen.

  • 13:23
    Qualifying Position
    17V BottasWilliams
    18E GutiérrezSauber
    19C PicCaterham
    20J BianchiMarussia
    21G van der GardeCaterham
    22M ChiltonMarussia
  • 13:23

    Worth noting that Van der Garde just did the one flying lap and still managed to finish four tenths up on Chilton.

  • 13:26

    QuoteInterview with Cyril Abiteboul: "It's not too bad, given our position. Charles managed to have a very good lap so that's good. Giedo it was a bit more difficult as he has a grid penalty coming tomorrow, so fromt he start of this weekend, we've been concentrating on the race... obviously we'll have a set of prime tyres tomorrow that he saved."

  • 13:27

    Green flagQualifying session 2 begins.

  • 13:27

    Mark Webber heads straight out in this session, with Adrian Sutil following him out.

  • 13:29

    Six other drivers file out of the pit lane, straight to work for everyone in this second session.

  • 13:29

    TweetTweet from @clubforce: As Q2 starts, both Paul and Adrian head out on medium tyres. #FeelTheForce

  • 13:31

    Now only Vettel, Räikkönen and Hülkenberg remain in the garage as the lap times start to come in.

  • 13:31

    Mark Webber takes P1 for now, a 1:31.3 - one tenth ahead of Sutil.

  • 13:32

    Five minutes of the session gone already, Webber returns to the pit lane.

  • 13:32

    Daniel Ricciardo posts the third fastest time ahead of Di Resta and Grosjean.

  • 13:32

    Nico Rosberg tops them all, with a 1:31.028 on used medium tyres.

  • 13:33

    Mercedes make it a 1-2 again, with Hamilton slipping into second place.

  • 13:34

    Webber is instructed on the radio that they believe the cut off will be pretty much what his time is, so he'll have to go out again.

  • 13:35

    Kimi Räikkönen heads through the final sector to set his first time of this session, only the ninth fastest. Jenson Button is right behind him, and it is 11th place for the McLaren.

  • 13:36

    Adrian Sutil asked if he wants to go out for one timed lap or two, and he feels the first lap is better, so just one for the Force India man.

  • 13:37

    Those that were out early are now back in the pit lane, as those who have not yet run are starting their first runs.

  • 13:38

    Sebastian Vettel crosses the line to start his flying lap. Teammate Webber is currently up in third, still with that 1:31.341 time.

  • 13:39

    It's P1 for Vettel, as he posts a 1:30.990 to sneak to the top of the times.

  • 13:39

    With less than three minutes to go, the drop zone features Vergne, Button, Massa, Maldonado, Pérez and Hülkenberg (although the latter two don't have times yet).

  • 13:41

    Vergne starts his lap to try and pull himself out of the drop zone, but runs wide out of Turn 14, bumping across the grass and costing himself time down Hangar Straight. He remains 11th as he finishes the lap.

  • 13:41

    Hülkenberg's first lap time is a 1:41.675, so he is still last.

  • 13:42

    Meanwhile, Ricciardo posts the third fastest time with an impressive display so far in qualifying.

  • 13:42

    Massa is told over the radio that Alonso is braking in the straights to help warm up the brakes, and that Felipe could try that to help him get them up to temperature.

  • 13:42

    Chequered flagQualifying session 2 ends.

  • 13:43

    Sutil improves to third, as Button squeaks up to tenth. It's not enough and he's dumped straight back in the drop zone. Massa also can't do enough to get into the top ten!

  • 13:43

    The fastest three in that session were Vettel, Webber and Rosberg.

  • 13:44
    Qualifying Position
    11J ButtonMcLaren
    12F MassaFerrari
    13JE VergneToro Rosso
    14S PérezMcLaren
    15N HülkenbergSauber
    16P MaldonadoWilliams
  • 13:46

    Daniel Ricciardo will be very happy to have outqualified his teammate on this occasion, as Vergne drops out in Q2.

  • 13:46

    TweetTweet from @GVanderGarde: In Qualy we saved the tyres for the race because of the grid penalty. Qualy lap was good in this situation. Now full focus On the race.

  • 13:47

    QuoteInterview with Valtteri Bottas: "I think [Pastor] got a better lap in the end, I was struggling quite a bit with the balance of the car especially with the medium tyres in the end. If you could go back, you could always do things better but this is our pace at the moment."

  • 13:49

    Vettel sits in his car, eyes closed, concentration face on.

  • 13:50

    Green flagQualifying session 3 begins.

  • 13:50

    Ten minutes on the clock, ten positions to be decided. Daniel Ricciardo heads out to get his session underway.

  • 13:51

    Webber and Di Resta also head out on track, as three-times polesitter Nico Rosberg also hits the tarmac.

  • 13:52

    All but Räikkönen have left the garage, with medium compounds on most of the cars. Fernando Alonso and Adrian Sutil have the harder tyres on, with orange sidewalls.

  • 13:54

    "New mediums for @RGrosjean #Q3 - go go Grosjean!" @Lotus_F1Team.

  • 13:54

    The times start pouring in. Nico Rosberg pushes the time down to 1:30.231, but Hamilton follows along behind with a mega 1:30.096.

  • 13:55

    Sebastian Vettel is next across the line, and he's only got a time fast enough for fourth for now. Webber sits snugly in third.

  • 13:56

    Back to the pit lane for ost, as Alonso leads a Mercedes back towards their respective boxes.

  • 13:56

    Alonso is informed over the radio that Romain Grosjean is in range in front of them, he's the target at the moment. Alonso is currently 6th with the Lotus driver ahead.

  • 13:57

    All ten cars are back in the pit lane as the final preparations begin for the fast and furious shootout for pole.

  • 13:58

    And they're off. Two minutes on the clock and ten drivers out on track.

  • 13:58

    Webber is told to make space early, so that the tyre are ready at the end of the lap.

  • 13:59

    Di Resta leads the queue, whilst Sebastian Vettel has taken up his familiar spot at the back of the field, hoping to cross the line last for some glory.

  • 14:00

    Chequered flagQualifying session 3 ends.

  • 14:00

    The session is over, but ten flying laps still to complete.

  • 14:00

    Webber is going very well on this lap, some personal best times. The Mercedes are still faster though.

  • 14:01

    It's second for Webber, splitting the Mercedes pair.

  • 14:01

    Rosberg improves from third to P1. Hamilton is directly behind him and snatches provisional pole from his teammate.

  • 14:01

    Vettel can't beat the 1:29 from Hamilton, it is third for the Red Bull.

  • 14:02

    StopwatchPole position for Lewis Hamilton with a time of 1:29.607.

  • 14:02

    It's Mercedes on the front row, with Red Bull locking out the second.

  • 14:03
    Qualifying Position
    1L HamiltonMercedes
    2N RosbergMercedes
    3S VettelRed Bull
    4M WebberRed Bull
    5P Di RestaForce India
    6D RicciardoToro Rosso
    7A SutilForce India
    8R GrosjeanLotus
    9K RäikkönenLotus
    10F AlonsoFerrari
  • 14:03

    Fernando Alonso way down in tenth is a surprise, whilst the two Lotus drivers appeared to struggle for pace too. Similar times from them again, despite the different setup.

  • 14:04

    Vettel and Webber inseparable in this.

    Gap Analysis
  • 14:07

    QuoteInterview with Ross Brawn: "It was a very special lap, I think the conditions eased back a bit but you can't take it away from him, it was a really impressive lap. He always said it would take a little bit of time to settle in, I think he was a little unsettled yesterday, I think it was the blustery conditions... he worked away overnight and got the car where he wanted it.

    We've worked hard this weekend to try and get the right race setup. It's going to be warmer again tomorrow another step. We're not comfortable, let's put it that way. We'll see."

  • 14:07

    TweetTweet from @JensonButton: Congrats @LewisHamilton on pole in front of the home crowd.. #BritishGP

  • 14:09

    QuoteInterview with Christian Horner: "I think we could see this morning the Mercedes were very quick, congratulations to Lewis. Our guys, to get both of them up there on the second row, it's a good place to be starting the Grand Prix... Over one lap, this season, Mercedes have been quick. We're hopeful we can take it to them in the Grand Prix tomorrow though.

    "It's going to be critical as usual, it's going to be warmer tomorrow which is nice to hear. Strategy, tyre wear, the front left, left rear, left-hand-side of the car here takes a hammering around the corner, so that's going to be critical. But hopefully we're in pretty good shape."

  • 14:10

    QuoteInterview with Jenson Button: "In a way, it's quite surprising with the way the car felt. It felt reasonably good. It was very difficult to get the tyres working correctly in terms of temperature, as I had Paul in front of me on the out lap and they're able to go slow and we have to go hard. It's not great, but it's a little less bad."

  • 14:11
    Qualifying Battle
    LotusQualified Ahead
    R Grosjean1
    K Räikkönen7
  • 14:12

    QuotePress Conference Quotes - Lewis Hamilton: "It's incredible, it feels just like it did in 2007 and just to see the crowd here today is fantastic, such a great turnout for everyone. That was a lap for them, I hope for tomorrow we can do something special for them. This is down to the team, they've done a phenomenal job just improving the car constantly. I haven't been feeling comfortable in the car all weekend, so I was really happy to finally get a lap."

  • 14:14

    QuotePress Conference Quotes - Nico Rosberg: "It's definitely a really great feeling to go into qualifying and having such a car, to definitely have the fastest car. It's really cool, it's a great job the team has done to get us to where we are now. We're also improving on Sundays hopefully, I'm confident we have improved, so tomorrow should be a bit better. I'm sure that still there's going to be other teams that are a little bit stronger than us but starting from the front should help."

  • 14:15

    QuotePress Conference Quotes - Sebastian Vettel: "We'll obviously see what happens tomorrow, it's a long race. Obviously very happy today. I don't know if Lewis found a shortcut or he has something special round here, phenomenal lap. Very happy with the lap I had at the end, very close with Mark at the end. I think we did what we could for the team, always nice to position well in qualifying, especially round here, qualifying is good fun. I'm enjoying the high speed corners and looking forward to tomorrow, for the race, we'll see how well we are with tyres, looking after them... I think it's a good position to start from."

  • 14:18

    QuoteInterview with Fernando Alonso: "Really disappointing, we were not competitive all weekend. It's not normal to see one Ferrari out of Q3 and the other one tenth in Q3. But it's what we deserve, we were not good enough today. Obviously, the race is long, anything could happen, we will do our best to recover positions but it was a bad Saturday.

    "I think we didn't improve the car enough, in the last four or five races we brought new parts that didn't deliver what we expected from them. The others are doing a fantastic job, Pirelli's choosing medium/hard continuously for every race, which we know only help two teams. We need to keep working."

  • 14:20

    Think this pie chart is interesting, as all of Nico's "qualified ahead" numbers were pole positions.

    Qualifying Battle
    MercedesQualified Ahead
    L Hamilton5
    N Rosberg3
  • 14:22

    That about wraps up qualifying from Silverstone. It wasn't a hugely eventful qualifying but leaves us with an interesting grid. The Lotus and Ferrari pairings have some work to do, but the battle is back on between Red Bull and Mercedes. How long can Hamilton and Rosberg keep the charging bulls behind them?

  • 14:22

    I'll be back tomorrow with full coverage of the race from 12:30 GMT+1, so I do hope you'll join me for what promises to be another good race in the 2013 season!

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