Sunday, August 2, 2020

Lewis Hamilton Spins and Wins Pole for British Grand Prix

Photo Credit: 2020 Pirelli & C. S.p.A

A feat accomplished 90 times prior by the Formula 1 superstar throughout his career, Lewis Hamilton claimed the pole position for a grand prix. Making this weekend’s pole sweeter for the 35-year-old Mercedes AMG F1 Team driver is that his latest top qualifying result came at his home country’s British Grand Prix at the Silverstone Circuit after a less than characteristic mishap on-track. In the middle of the Q2 qualifying session, Lewis Hamilton spun his #44 Mercedes AMG F1 W11 EQ Performance race car while travelling through turn 7. Hamilton quickly recovered from the spin but a red flag stopped was brought out to delay the session. 

Hosting the fourth and five rounds of the modified 2020 Formula 1 season, Silverstone features a long 5.891-kilometer track length and several high-speed corners. The first of the grand prix events is the legendary British Grand Prix is synonymous with the major motorsport tour with the headquarters of many teams including Williams, McLaren and Racing Point are located close to the track. 

Clocking in a lap time of 1-minute, 24.303 seconds in Q3, Lewis Hamilton’s pole was also a track qualifying record for Formula 1 on the 5.891-kilometer layout. Lewis Hamilton’s seventh British Grand Prix was a little more than three-tenths of a second faster than Mercedes AMG teammate Valtteri Bottas. Last year’s British Grand Prix pole sitter, Bottas was at the top of the time sheet in the first two qualifying sessions but settled for the second front row position. 

The second row starting the 2020 British Grand Prix will feature Max Verstappen’s Honda-powered Red Bull Racing vehicle and the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc. Both second row occupants vastly out-qualified their teammates. For what has proven to be a difficult 2020 so far in competition, Sebastian Vettel’s Ferrari is starting in 10th place for Sunday’s race recording a time more than 9/10ths of a second slower than Leclerc. The Red Bull race car of Alexander Albon narrowly missed Q3 settling for a 12th place grid position for the main event at Silverstone.

Recently securing a new sponsorship deal with Gulf Oil, McLaren’s Formula 1 team demonstrated impressive speed on Saturday. British driver Lando Norris recorded the fifth fastest time in Q3 while Carlos Sainz Jr. will start the British Grand Prix in seventh.

Starting sixth between the McLaren race cars is the Racing Point of Lance Stroll. Though breaking into the elite Q3 once again in the 2020 Formula 1 season, the qualifying outing was somewhat of a disappointment for Stroll compared his performances in the three practice sessions including posting a top time in the second practice in Friday. Cooler temperatures on Saturday proved to be an obstacle with Stroll narrowly breaking through to the Q3 qualifying session. The Racing Point driver fortunately posted his top time prior to the Alpha Tauri driven by Pierre Gasly as both cars posted a lap time of 1-minute, 26.501 seconds in the Q2 group.   

Photo Credit: 2020 Pirelli & C. S.p.A

A season that has been far from routine due to the ongoing global health pandemic due causing many changes to grand prix weekends for 2020, the turbulence of the year affected the entrant list for the British Grand Prix. Racing Point’s Sergio Perez was the first driver to test positive for COVID-19 since the season opener in a month ago in Austria. Taking the Mexican’s place in the RP20 for the British Grand Prix is Formula 1 veteran Nico Hulkenberg. Given a late call to race at Silverstone, the 32-year-old German driver was left without a ride in 2020 after nine competitive seasons. Hulkenberg’s participation with Racing Point runs deeper than this weekend’s relief drive. When the team operated as Force India, Nico Hulkenberg was a test driver in 2011 and later competed with the group in 2012 as well as a second stint between 2014 and 2016. Driving his first race for 2020 with limited prior preparation, Nico Hulkenberg registered the 13th best time.
The 52-lap 2020 British Grand Prix at the Silverstone Circuit is set for 2:10 pm local time or 9:10 am eastern time on Sunday.

2020 British Grand Prix
Starting Lineup

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