Silverstone, July 4, 2015 – Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton has taken his eighth pole position of the season, going fastest in British Grand Prix qualifying at Silverstone.
Hamilton used the medium tyre to set his fastest lap of 1m32.248s in Q3, comfortably eclipsing last year’s pole time (set in mixed conditions) and laying the foundations for one of the quickest-ever British grands prix on the current circuit tomorrow. Hamilton and his Mercedes team mate Nico Rosberg – who qualified second on the grid – got through Q1 using the hard tyres only, which have also been nominated for Silverstone. By using just one set of new medium tyres in Q2, the Mercedes drivers saved a new set of mediums for the race.
Track temperatures remained around 38 degrees centigrade during qualifying: well suited to the medium tyre, which is a low working range compound that works most effectively in temperate and warm conditions. If the weather is hot, then the hard tyre comes into its own. This will make track temperature one of the most influential parameters on race strategy tomorrow.
In order to gather as much information as possible about the behaviour of each compound in different conditions, the teams concentrated on the hard tyre during FP3 this morning, which featured cooler temperatures than yesterday following heavy overnight rain.
The wear and degradation rates of both compounds in tomorrow’s conditions will determine whether or not the British Grand Prix will be a one or a two-stop race, but uncertain weather is again expected over the next 24 hours. Gusting winds – a frequent feature of Silverstone – also affected aerodynamic and therefore tyre performance today.
Track limit penalties were a dominant feature of qualifying with a number of drivers having their times eliminated for running wide at Copse corner in particular. This zero tolerance approach put many competitors under pressure to deliver their best lap times with little time left remaining on the clock.
Hamilton was quickest in the final free practice session this morning as well, using the medium tyre at the end of the session.
Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director: “Both compounds have performed consistently today.
If the weather stays as it is, we’re looking at a one-stopper for most drivers. If it gets warmer or cooler we could be looking at a two-stopper. However, British weather is renowned for being famously unpredictable, so we definitely should not be drawing too many conclusions yet.”
The Pirelli strategy predictor:
The strategy that the teams will aim for tomorrow is a one-stopper, but a lot will depend on track temperature, so they are likely to keep their options open for a two-stopper if needed. Generally, wear and degradation is higher with higher temperatures, but tyres can also be affected by cooler conditions than expected, because they slide more when they are outside their optimal working range. The ideal one-stopper for the 52-lap grand prix would be: start on the medium tyre, change to the hard on lap 23. A two-stopper could be: start on medium, change to medium again on lap 17, then hard on lap 34.
Fastest compounds in FP3:
1 Hamilton 1m32.917s Medium new
2 Rosberg 1m33.469s Medium new
3 Raikkonen 1m33.629s Medium new
Top 10 tyre use in Qualifying:
Hamilton 1m32.248s Medium new
Rosberg 1m32.361s Medium new
Massa 1m33.085s Medium new
Bottas 1m33.149s Medium new
Raikkonen 1m33.379s Medium new
Vettel 1m33.547s Medium new
Kvyat 1m33.636s Medium new
Sainz 1m33.649s Medium new
Hulkenberg 1m33.673s Medium new
Ricciardo 1m33.943s Medium new