Unlike Friday’s changing weather conditions, qualifying at the British Grand Prix took place under clear skies.
Mercedes looked good in morning practice with Nico Rosberg clocking the fastest time. Teammate Lewis Hamilton will be looking to secure his second win here after taking victory in 2008. As we know, the Mercedes usually qualify really well only to drop back in race trim due to tire degradation.
The first part of qualifying unsurprisingly saw Rosberg take top spot before Englishman Hamilton snatched it away, leaving both Mercedes in first and second.
As usual, Red Bull left it late to come on with Mark Webber and teammate Sebastian Vettel both setting times good enough for Q2.
Down at the Ferrari garage, the crew watched on with long faces as both drivers looked slow. Filipe Massa managed to place 14th and Fernando Alonso 15th, just beating the cut. It appeared the other top teams had found some time in technological advancements and the Scuderia now had their work cut out over the next few races.
Lotus looked very comfortable with Kimi Raikkonen managing third and Romain Grosjean fourth. This will come as good news to the team and fans as their previous outings showed a big drop in performance compared to their start to the season.
Much-loved Brit Jenson Button made it through to the second part of qualifying, placing his McLaren in eighth with fellow Brit Paul di Resta, two places behind in his Force India. Like Hamilton, both Brits will be looking to impress on home turf.
All eyes were on Ferrari in the second part of qualifying. The question: “Would they avoid being knocked out?”
Alonso answered quickly by notching up fourth, and although he dropped down the time sheet, by the end he set a time good enough for eighth. Meanwhile, Massa struggled in 13th and could only better it by one place, meaning he wouldn’t make Q3 – I’m sure Ferrari president Luca Montezemolo will be asking some pretty stern questions after the session.
As per Q1, both Mercedes lit up the time sheets.
Daniel Ricciardo placed his Torro Rosso in fifth, a great effort from the Australian. I wonder if this monumental effort was inspired by the fact Webber is quitting at the end of the season?
Bad luck for McLaren as both cars failed to make Q3. This has been the worst season for the British team for a long time. I can’t help but wonder if the drivers feel pressured about their future in the team. Was the impetuous Perez the right choice to replace Hamilton or does Button really need someone to keep him on his toes?
Force India has clearly made some positive changes as Adrian Sutil and di Resta both made the final 10. In the final showdown Ricciardo was the first out with Webber and di Resta.
Showing they really meant business, Rosberg took top spot before Hamilton smashed it by nearly two-tenths. Red Bulls Webber and Vettel were just a few tenths further back. Despite looking completely out of the picture Alonso salvaged sixth — the Spaniard is renowned for his lightning starts, so this isn’t too much of an issue.
Grosjean pulled one out of the bag for Lotus as he out-qualified his teammate Kimi, and Webber managed to beat teammate Vettel for the first time this season.
No surprises at the chequered flag — Hamilton stormed to a home pole with his teammate Rosberg close behind.
It should be an interesting race tomorrow. Will Hamilton make the Pirellis work during the race? Ferrari always performs better in race trim, so will Alonso gain places at the start and threaten for the win?
Top 10 On The Grid:
8. di Resta
James Harris is a NASCAR writer for RantSports.com