- British GP - Qualifying
Rosberg takes pole on mixed grid, Hamilton sixth
Nico Rosberg will start from pole position ahead of Sebastian Vettel on a mixed grid at the British Grand Prix after rain shuffled the order in qualifying, leaving Lewis Hamilton sixth and knocking the Williamses and Ferraris out in Q1.
In each session the fastest times were set on slick tyres, but intermittent rain meant that the time at which the car was on the track was the defining factor. In Q3 it looked as though the first runs of the session would make up the top ten on the grid, with Lewis Hamilton set for pole position, but last gasp efforts saw five cars beat his time as the final sector improved. Hamilton was on a lap at the same time as the eventual top five, but backed off after the first sector and as a result missed out on the front row of the grid for the second race weekend in a row.
Vettel was 1.620s off Rosberg's best effort but still secured a place on the front row ahead of Jenson Button, who managed to qualify his McLaren third in front of his home crowd. Nico Hulkenberg took fourth in the Force India ahead of Kevin Magnussen in the second McLaren as both made good use of their second runs too. Sergio Perez will start seventh behind Hamilton, but ahead of Daniel Ricciardo, Daniil Kvyat and Jean-Eric Vergne, who all opted not to set a time at the end of the session when the track was at its best.
Romain Grosjean just fell short of a spot in Q3 and was nearly joined by Jules Bianchi, who put in a valiant effort to qualify his Marussia 12th on the grid and 0.3s off a place in Q3. A drying track during Q2 saw the potential for an upset as drivers went out on slicks for their final runs, but in the end the big names still made the cut. Max Chilton was 13th fastest but will drop to 18th once his grid penalty for a gearbox change is applied, while Esteban Gutierrez, who spun towards the end of the session, will drop to last on the grid after receiving a ten-place penalty in Austria for an unsafe release from a pit stop. Pastor Maldonado will start 13th as a result with Adrian Sutil, who crashed at the end of Q1, being promoted to 14th.
Q1 started on intermediate tyres but in the final five minutes dried enough for slick tyre runs. When the two Marussias ended up at the top of the timesheets it became clear that the track was ready for slicks and the rest of the pit lane looked to secure a place in Q2. However, Ferrari and Williams both reacted too late, resulting in their drivers plummeting down the order and then struggling for grip when the rain returned in the final minutes of the session. Alonso spun at Brooklands, which did not help matters, but Raikkonen was also unable to improve due to the track conditions. With the penalties applied, Alonso will start 17th behind the two Williamses, with Raikkonen in 19th behind the demoted Chilton.