Nico Rosberg snatched British Grand Prix pole from under the nose of Lewis Hamilton during a wet qualifying session at Silverstone.
Hamilton had set the fastest time as he abandoned his final run only for Rosberg to gain three seconds in the final sector. Hamilton will start sixth after a number of drivers gained a chunk of time in the last few corners.
Reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel will start second with Britain’s Jenson Button third, the McLaren drivers best of the season. Force India’s Nico Hulkenburg was fourth, ahead of Button’s teammate Kevin Magnussen in fifth.
After their best result for nine years, Williams’ bad weekend continued as both they and the Ferrari’s failed to make it out of Q1 while Marussia achieved one of their best qualifying results.
Hamilton came to into the weekend knowing he needs to win if he is to start to decrease the 29 point gap to his teammate in the drivers’ championship. Hamilton qualified on pole here 12 months ago but after a tyre failure whilst leading the race, he finished fourth as Rosberg won the race.
The British driver decided to abort his final lap in qualifying as he was down after the first two sectors, a decision he was about to regret. He let his teammate through to complete his lap before pulling into the pits. It was a bad mistake from the Brit as the last sector was drier and the other drivers found huge time gains there. Hulkenburg, Vettel, Button and Rosberg all crossed the line and set a faster time than Hamilton who now has a difficult task on his hands if he is to close the gap to Rosberg.
Hamilton wasn’t the only driver to lose out as the track dried at the end of Q3. Sergio Perez of Force India missed out on a final run as he crossed the line seconds after the chequered flag came out. As the other drivers took to the track, Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo and the Torro Rosso’s of Daniil Kvyat and Jean-Eric Vergne opted to stay in the pits, thinking there was no more time to gain. A decision that was to cost them five places on the grid as they start eighth, ninth and 10th respectively.
In an eventful session, which saw a number of drivers run wide, Marussia drivers Jules Bianchi and Max Chilton ended Q1 in fourth and sixth respectively. They weren’t able to repeat the performance in Q2 and finished the session 12th and 13th for the Russian team as Ferrari and Williams struggled. Chilton will start 18th after an unscheduled gearbox change.
Limited running in practice after engine problems and an accident in FP1 meant Williams’ Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa will start 15th and 16th after the team failed to react to the drying track. Ferrari ended with a similar result as Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen also failed to get out of Q1 ending up in 19th and 20th but will start 17th and 19th after penalties are applied to other drivers.
Both Sauber’s made a rare foray into Q2 but Adrian Sutil was unable to set a time as he beached his car in the gravel at the end of Q1. Sutil starts 14th as teammate Esteban Gutierrez qualified 14th. Gutierrez ended up in the barrier after spinning his Sauber. The Mexican will start 22nd though, after an unsafe release at the previous race in Austria resulted in a ten place grid penalty.