#F1 Qualifying Review: 2015 Formula 1 British Grand Prix Silverstone


Ambient 22° Track 36° Humidity 57% Wind Gusty up to 8 m/s

Blue Skies and the occasional cloud overhead set the stage for qualifying in the 2015 British Grand Prix at Silverstone. The sun hammered down on the track but it was the brutally gusty wind that would prove worse, as it exposed the drivers to a random crosswind at Copse, where Charlie Whiting had informed the teams track limits would be most severely enforced.

Alonso’s car had a hybrid cooler leak but McLaren managed to get him out and Rosberg’s earlier problems in FP3 had been resolved by Mercedes


IT was perilous times for the Hamilton fans as Rosberg had dominated the proceedings and continued the trend into Q1, consistently setting quicker times than his teammate on the Hard tyres. The Stewards were most dominant, however, as the brutal slaughter of laptimes for exceeding the limits at Copse were legion and it left more than a few drivers a bit more on edge than they would have preferred. Vettel, Raikkonen, Ricciardo were some of the bigger names to fall foul throughout the 3 sessions.

Verstappen enlivened with a spin in Q3 but it was a tricky day all the way round as the unpredictable wind kept all the runners on their toes. When the dust settled in Q1 it was Nasr, Alonso, Button, Stevens and Merhi getting dropped. Mercedes, Red Bull and Bottas had managed to save a set of Medium tyres

Into Q2 went the rest and with track temps dropping it was Lotus and Toro Rosso suddenly on the defensive, with Sainz barely eking it into Q3 and Verstappen struggling with a lack of grip at the rear, a fact he repeatedly made plain on the radio.

Hamilton managed to flat spot his race tyres into T3 and had to bail on his first attempt, then had a moment of huge snap oversteer at Luffield leaving him again behind Rosberg and yet to put in a really clean lap.

AS per their usual strategy Ferrari came out in the interval whilst the rest were in the pits, and Raikkonen did not improve his job rating by missing the limits at Copse, apparently thinking that the kerb, and not the white line was the limit. Oooops. Guess we know who was napping at the driver’s briefing. Fortunately he did manage to sneak into Q3, but it was no doubt closer than they would have liked.

Perez, Grosjean, Verstappen, Maldonado, and Ericcson were the big losers of Q2, with Grosjean characterizing his car’s handling as “crazy”. No points for Perez either as Hulkenberg managed a P6 whilst the Mexican missed Copse and had his time deleted. Lotus looked a handful and will no doubt be scratching their heads as they drift down the order despite their Mercedes PU.

AS Q3 kicked off track temps were on the rise and Hamilton again was out ahead of his teammate. This time, though, Lewis had finally managed to get it together and put together his first clean run, a blinder at 1:32:248. Coming across the line behind him for the first time Rosberg was unable to better him. Williams meanwhile were coming on strong and as the first runs settled it was clear that their updates were doing the job and Ferrari were under real pressure.

With Hamilton on provisional pole it was Bottas leading the cars back out on track and with the last minute ticking away he set the stage by immediately going slower than his first run, losing time going into T3. Next up was Lewis and he was more than a half second off his firts run into Sector 2 and bailed. Driver by driver the times failed to improve with the sole exception of Felipe Massa, who managed to take P3 away from his teammate and must now, instead of Bottas, be the clear favourite to replace Raikkonen at Ferrari. What…. oh wait, nevermind.

So once again the first run in Q3 proved pivotal and be it luck or skill, when it mattered most Lewis managed to put it together, regardless of his off track activities. James Allison and Ferrari no doubt will be asking themselves a few questions as well as they went P5 and P6 with Raikkonen proving to be the fastest Ferrari on the day.

Carlos Sainz was the first to interrupt the 2 by 2 order, sticking his Toro Rosso between the Red Bull of Kvyat and the Force India of Hulkenberg. Ricciardo brought up the rear as his 2nd run was disallowed for, you guessed it, exceeding the limits at Copse.

Very exciting to see the launch tomorrow now that Merc are running 2 different clutches. After that it’s anyone’s ballgame as reliability gremlins seem to inhabit the grounds at Silverstone and pole is not always the guarantee it is at many other track.

Mercedes look to be a tyre compound ahead at roughly 0.8s quicker than the Williams of Massa and the battle between Ferrari and Williams will be the marquee team engagement, though Red Bull seem to be happy-ish with their race pace.

See you tomorrow for the race!


49 responses to “#F1 Qualifying Review: 2015 Formula 1 British Grand Prix Silverstone

  1. Qualifying Notes:

    Ferrari’s new policy
    It would seem that there’s still an element of “Ferrari-fake-Friday”, despite Arrivebene’s insistence on changing Ferrari’s strategy. I was impressed when he announced the new strategy and mentioned it would be worth watching.

    Well, the first GP since said announcement; they’ve moved backwards when it counts whilst enjoying practice headlines. Of course, it doesn’t mean it’s not their new strategy, but it’s not a great start to their new “under-promising” and “over-delivering” policy.

    Mercedes PU
    The top four qualifiers have Mercedes PU’s. Williams clearly turned it up…

    Raikkonen v Vettel
    Raikkonen out-qualified Vettel on the back of flavour-of-the-day replacement rumours. A strong race may turn sentiment; then again, it might not… it’s F1.

    In classic Raikkonen style, “I’m not happy, I’m in front of Seb but it’s not my aim – my aim is to be in front of everybody”.

    Hamilton v Rosberg
    Hamilton’s first Q3 lap was good enough for Pole Position, just like it was in Austria. Lewis’ first-lap Q3 focus – that he stated was a conscious approach recently – is clearly paying dividends…

    However, from observation over the weekend, I feel Rosberg’s race pace might be more “sustainable” or “rhythmic”; for want of better words. To my mind, the weekend so far – from FP1 to Q3 – has felt like eerily the Austrian GP build up.

    A lot will come down to the start, as it did in Austria. Nico’s starts have been strong, but Lewis has completed some start work in the practice sessions. Additionally, Nico tested on behalf of Lewis post-Austria, whilst Lewis was at the doctors, so that too might help.

    Final observation

  2. Was Vettel held up on a flying lap or was it a warm up lap? I saw a replay of him suddenly coming across a Williams that was avoiding a slow moving Mercedes (which I think the UK commentators claimed was Rosberg), but I didn’t know if it was a flyer or not. As it was pretty deep into the lap whether it was a flyer or a warm up lap I doubt it was helpful as it would either have killed the time or meant that he was in more traffic for the next lap?

    • It was a warm up lap. Rosberg slowed and Massa and Vettel got pinched. Vettel obviously got the worst of it. He said it hurt him but that the car was sliding around anyway.

    • Was definitely Rosberg, Hamilton had started his lap by then. All three of them were on a warm up lap so I guess there’s no need for it to be investigated. Was a bit clumsy but who’s to blame in that situation?

      Wonder how the race will go tomorrow, Rosberg has seemed well in control all weekend (like Austria) but then couldn’t make it count for Q3 (like Austria)… I see a pattern! Wonder if Rosberg will have Hamilton off the line?

      • Yeah, I wasn’t getting on board the FIA “EVERYONE MUST HAVE PENALTIES” train, just wasn’t sure on the circumstances. Seems strange that none of the engineers were able to call it in time, but then I guess if Rosberg had dropped off the pace a little more at one point there wouldn’t be all that much warning of it.

        If Mercedes have allowed Rosberg to run the clutch he prefers and Hamilton to run the clutch he prefers, I guess the issues that Hamilton’s had off the line of late should be reduced. Although I’d be willing to take it with a pinch of salt he said in an interview that there’d be a ‘problem’ with the start procedure at the start of the race in Austria that they’d managed to replicate in testing and then eliminate, so it could be that he’ll be back to the starts he had earlier in the season.

  3. Also, forgot to say before but thanks for all your effort over race weekends Matt, it’s much appreciated! I don’t usually leave a comment but I check out all the ‘Presser’/Technical Documents posts you do too, and it’s cool to see that side of things in more depth.

    • Thanks, nice to hear that. My biggest complaint is that FIA don’t get parc ferme up until after the race. Always irritates me greatly, LOL! Doesn’t seem fair…

  4. Wait for it…wait for it…Sainz out qualified his teammate again. Did anyone notice? Nope, NBC delivered yet again in interview of the slowest of the 2 STR drivers.

    • Well, are you really surprised as they ran a half hour commercial on young Max after yesterday’s FP2 coverage. Tho I will add I’m counting on Sainz to dominate as he’s nicked my number.

    • Also worth pointing out that the young Max has finished every race lower than his quali position. Maybe needs a bit more luck or he is just quick on one lap pace,only time will tell so I think it’s worth giving him the benefit of the doubt

      • Quali position is irrelevant, grid position is what you should be looking at. Both riders finished higher than their grid position in 1 race. Sainz messed up his quali once at a race where Verstappen qualied 9 places higher. Verstappen got the grid and drive through penaly after replacing his engine again. It’s pretty clear that the STR cars have better quali pace than race pace and only a messed up qualification can result in a big gain in spots. So you are seeing things that are not there.

        • Young Max thinks differently; on his Friday after FP2 interview he claimed that they are the second fastest just a bit behind Mercedes.

          • Understandably of Maximilian, but emperors tend to be overly optimistic at times, especially young ones…

  5. Is Max Vestappen the next Montoya? a reasonably talented guy,but over confident and too cocky.will that cockiness ultimately lead to him underachieving in F1 like Montoya.
    Off course he is still very young,he is like teenage ,which he is, who just had his first month of steady sex and thinks he is an expert in sex and relationship…The way he says I will just continue to do what I do and pass people, as if he is the only one out there passing or even trying to pas others

    • Despite his years of experience, The Boy Max was incapable of describing the problems he was having during qualifying. As DC pointed out on the BBC, claiming you’ve got no traction, when you obviously have, doesn’t help the team to solve problems. He’s doing the whole teenage thing, where a spot on the forehead is regarded as the end of the world.

      • In fairness, there have been times when more experienced drivers were unable to work out why a car was underperforming, and there can be many reasons for that. As one example, Vettel in 2014 where Red Bull replaced his chassis as there was an issue with it. They’d previously been trying to alter setups to alleviate whatever problem they thought they’d found, so it shows that the real issue can be masked to an extent. Similarly, the messages we heard were going to be the dramatic first messages to his race engineer, but we might not have heard all the troubleshooting/suggestions that took place either on the radio after that or back in the pits. That’s why relying on the snippets of radio conversations we hear to form an opinion about something can wind up being a bit misleading.

      • I only saw a mention of it on Max’ website. But at that moment the only comments from Max himself were that he was ‘baffled’ – so I deleted my text and just mentioned the Ferrari bit..

      • Who needs answers when you can have a moan? Interestingly, they mention an ARB failure (Anti Roll Bar). I did consider that, as he lost basically a second in pace from FP3. It’s happened before, notably on Alonso/Ferrari in Q3 at Monza?

        • @Iestyn Davies

          It’s happened before, notably on Alonso/Ferrari in Q3 at Monza?

          Never quite bought that story. Seemed like Alonso/Massa botched the team slipstream, and it was too embarrassing to admit that outright…

  6. Good God this qualifying was a snoozefest. Not sure why, but there seemed no energy – in America, the car noises were low and the announcers very flat. I fell asleep three times. It was boring like watching golf.

    I’ll give the race 10 minutes tomorrow, and if it doesn’t sustain, I think it will be nap time.

  7. First, it’s not “logical” that Verstappen was interviewed after a horrid qualifying and being out-paced by his teammate – unless the interviewer was asking him about Sainz being, all told at the very least as consistent over the allegedly vastly superior Verstappen.

    Next, it’s interesting that people are referring to Austria with Rosberg. Notice the lack of Practice 3 reporting?… and that’s not only here. As Hamilton has steadily progressed throughout the weekend it is Rosberg who is having niggling problems. How that’s construed as a Rosberg advantage is —- interesting.

    Speaking of Nico Rosberg, there’s been a shift in F1 fans to quietly supporting Rosberg, i.e. overlooking statements and actions that would normally, at least be discussed. But since Rosberg has a consistent history of questionable and negative actions and statements one would think people would notice the pattern (oh, and notice how quickly the drunken Rosberg at the party with crew member and groupie photo went silent).

    However, here’s more quintessential Rosberg from the past two days – more that has received zero attention.

    Quite par for the course that nowhere was there a mention of Rosberg on Hamilton’s side of the garage literally standing behind Lewis viewing Hamilton’s telemetry read outs as he sat in his car.

    If that wasn’t enough, today we have Rosberg implying that last year’s British GP race was fixed, as he told the team,”It’s my turn [at Silverstone] this year. How about letting me win.”

    If Hamilton pulled the stunt Rosberg pulled yesterday and then went for the daily double with his remark today, the entire Formula One world would be in an uproar with Hamilton being called a cheat and it being said that he is tarnishing the sport by insinuating the 2014 British GP outcome was the product of IN-TEAM race fixing. But there’s no such talk when it comes to the the guy who suddenly has become a golden boy.

    Charmed life Mr. Rosberg leads, eh?

    • @dwil
      Interesting notes. I too was rather shocked earlier at the free pass Nico was getting for “it was a rubbish end of qualifying” in Canada or “come on guys!” (probably in China), offences for which Lewis would be getting a fresh dose of public lynching along the lines of “team player ha ha” and “puts himself in adverse position with the team” and “he’s looking for it, again” and so on and so forth.

      Double standards spring to mind…

      • Man I can’t believe you guys are only now just noticing the double standard issue……

          • No, just a genuine statement….

            This has been happening like forever. How many free passes has say Kimi gotten for his rude and disrespectful outburst over team radio? No one criticises him for it, but rather say ….”oh that’s just Kimi being Kimi”.

            Lewis is not afforded such things. His every word, body language etc is put under the microscope and is criticised.

            I mean look at the uproar being created over him missing the test? And that’s despite being given permission by his employers to do so.

        • I’m more suprised how much psychoanalysis and cosmopolitan analysis people put into team radio messages.

          World (and F1) would be so much better if they just blogged that and let the drivers communicate with the team without silly fans interpreting the nuances of every word.

          • @Henrik

            Silly fans already interpret the nuances of every word… in interviews, press conferences, press releases, tweets, pics, blogs… as well as words not said, words meant but not uttered, etc., etc. So team radio messages are merely part of the fun. 🙂

          • @landroni

            I hear you, but still my personal opinion is that cutting this part from F1 would be an improvement. Not to mention that in interviews there’s some time to think what you say, team radio is at work an primarily meant to communicate internally .

            Not holding my breath though, knowing how much more reality rubbish is in the air compared to any old fashioned journalism or information.

            It’s just like the Economist focusing on getting hits/headlines/comments on Facebook instead of real readers capable of reading full articles.

          • “I can’t believe you guys a re just now noticing a double standard.”

            As many times here that I’ve pointed out double-standards for Hamilton v. other drivers, I thought you were being sarcastic.

            And I have previously mentioned that I wrote a commentary for a sports website in 2008 about double-standards and worse when it comes to Hamilton – when I really hadn’t the time to focus on F1 as I’d do now.

            So, rather than ask a question as I did before I’ll say, bluntly, you’re mistaken.

    • Lol, what is the context of this? Although, when the UK marginal tax rate got to 98%, I think a lot of people would have liked to have been working abroad..

  8. So guess all the ” he should have tested ” comments have been forgotten now that he is on pole.

  9. Let’s hope Hamilton can have an incident-free race this time around, clean-start and controlled race from start to end.

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