Even Silverstone VIP guest George Lucas couldn’t have written a better script for the 2015 British Grand Prix.
Hamilton quickly increased his lead before things got interesting again when the race was first controlled by a virtual safety vehicle after Carlos Sainz’ Toro Rosso stopped next to the track, and some light rain started as soon as the all-clear came in the 36th lap.
If Hamilton’s timing was flawless, then much the same was true for Sebastian Vettel, who had run as low as ninth in the early stages but eventually climbed to finish third behind Rosberg after pitting his Ferrari on the same lap.
Hamilton will start ahead of his team-mate for the eighth time in nine races this season, but only four of the last 20 pole-sitters at Silverstone have gone on to grace the top step of the podium.
Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team’s British driver Lewis Hamilton arrives in the pits during the third practice session at the Silverstone circuit in Silverstone on Sunday ahead of the British Formula One Grand Prix.
After Hamilton’s storming start to his title defense, Rosberg has won three of the last four races to trim the Briton’s lead to 10 points in the standings.
“It’s a very special day for me to take pole here, the fans give me such motivation and I thank them all for their support”, Hamilton said. “I love driving the Silverstone circuit; I’ve won there twice, in 2006 and 2011, so I have very good memories”. Rosberg had to complete the majority of another lap before being able to join his team-mate on the more suitable intermediate Pirellis, and could do nothing to prevent the home favourite from taking the chequered flag first. I have really crappy days, and moments that I am not happy, and qualifying was one of them, but there is no point us being down because that is not going to help us improve.
Lewis got past Bottas and tried to take Massa at the re-start after a safety auto period but locked up and lost a place to the second Williams.
“It was Lewis’ call to come in”, he said. “We kept our head down and were patient enough until the rain poured down”, said Vettel. The Spaniard was also in spiky form when discussing the incident that saw McLaren stable mate Button retire on lap one.
“I love coming back here and whatever the result it’s such a special place to come and race in front of the home crowd”. Having retired this weekend, he hopes for better in Hungary next time out. “It’s also a home grand prix for the team, so it’s great to see me and Valtteri in third and fourth”.
“That’s England for us, a couple of minutes later you have sunshine”.
“Without the rain, we would not be on the podium”.
The grid was busy with British royalty and celebrities, including three of former pop sensations The Spice Girls – one of whom Geri Halliwell is married to Red Bull boss Christian Horner – before the start.
Vettel made the same call to pit from fifth place as Hamilton had from the lead, allowing him to move ahead of the two Williamses, which both struggled in the wet conditions.