Lewis Hamilton blitzed the Silverstone circuit to score pole position for the British Grand Prix in a qualifying session held in changeable weather conditions.
The Mercedes driver produced a stunning 1:26.600s effort in the final stages of Q3 to claim pole by more than half a second from Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen.
A brief rain shower doused the circuit forcing the field onto intermediate tyres in Q1 and Q2, although conditions improved enough for super-soft rubber for the final shootout.
There was some doubt over Hamilton’s pole position with stewards set to investigate an alleged block on Haas F1’s Romain Grosjean in the final corner during Q3.
Grosjean felt the incident cost him three tenths of a second.
“I will have to look at the replay (of the incident). I was coming round to start my lap. I was trying to get some space and there was no-one behind me,” said Hamilton when asked about the incident with Grosjean.
“I don’t think he was that close when I pulled away but I will have a look.”
Sebastian Vettel will head up the second row ahead of the sister Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas.
However, a five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change incurred prior to qualifying demoted the Finn to ninth on the grid.
As a result of the penalty, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen claimed fourth while Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg was fifth.
Force India’s Sergio Perez secured sixth as the Mexican pipped his team-mate Esteban Ocon.
McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne impressed throughout as he claimed eighth, while Grosjean completed the top 10.
It proved to be a disastrous session for Daniel Ricciardo as a mechanical failure forced him to retire from qualifying during Q1.
The Australian headed into the session having already incurred a five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change.
Ricciardo set the initial pace in Q1 before a suspected turbo failure saw him grind to halt at Woodcote corner, leaving him 19th on the grid for Sunday’s race.
“It (the car) sounded a bit sick and then I lost a lot of power and I heard some weird turbo noises,” said Ricciardo.
“I thought I might be able to nurse it back to the pits but it switched off.
“It’s definitely a big failure of some sort, and we couldn’t save it for the session.
“Obviously I don’t know how this now affects us for the rest of the season, probably losing an engine now, but maybe it’s repairable.
“It is disappointing as these conditions give us a bit more of an opportunity. I thought a five-place grid drop was bad but now we are at the back of the grid.”
Renault’s Jolyon Palmer narrowly missed out on progressing to Q3 in 11th spot ahead of the Toro Rosso duo of Daniil Kvyat and Carlos Sainz.
Williams encountered struggles with Felipe Massa only managing 14th with team-mate Lance Stroll failing to exit Q1 in 15th position.
Haas F1’s Kevin Magnussen and the Saubers of Pascal Wehrlein and Marcus Ericsson also missed out on Q2.
The final row of the grid will see McLaren’s Fernando Alonso start from last alongside Ricciardo.
Alonso carried a 30-place grid penalty into qualifying for an engine change, although the double world champion was able to secure a passage into Q2 after topping Q1.
Result: Formula 1 British Grand Prix Qualifying
|4||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||1m28.130s||1.530s|
|6||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m28.902s||2.302s|
|7||Esteban Ocon||Force India/Mercedes||1m29.074s||2.474s|
|12||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m30.355s||–|
|13||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m31.368s||–|
|19||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m42.966s||–|