Mixed conditions characterised qualifying at Silverstone, with the session starting on the intermediate tyre and the track then progressively drying out. Practically all the drivers used the intermediate tyre throughout Q1, but a notable exception was McLaren's Fernando Alonso, who put the supersoft on in the very closing stages of Q1 to go fastest. The supersoft was used by most drivers for the rest of qualifying, but Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas - who faces a five-place grid penalty tomorrow - took the strategic decision to set his fastest time in Q2 on the soft.
His team mate Lewis Hamilton took an extraordinary pole on the supersoft at the very end of Q3, his time of 1m26.600s (the fastest of the weekend) being more than 2.5 seconds faster than his pole of last year and more than half a second quicker than any other driver.
Mario Isola: "Strategically, the biggest interest in qualifying was from Valtteri Bottas's decision to run the soft in Q2 in order to have the option to run a different race strategy. This means that he should be able to run a longer first stint than his direct rivals tomorrow and make up track position. With track temperatures rarely above 20 degrees centigrade today and some rain dampening the track at the start of the session, the tyres faced a tough task to generate grip and heat. Nonetheless, Hamilton set an extraordinary lap that once again lowered the record for the current configuration at Silverstone. Pit strategy tomorrow could range between one and two stops, depending on the degradation rate of the supersoft."