Wow, wow, wow. Qualifying for the British Grand Prix this morning wasn’t particularly mind-blowing with excitement, but Mercedes proved it was back on top by setting a new Silverstone lap record. Valtteri Bottas stormed the circuit to produce not only pole position, but absolutely obliterate Lewis Hamilton’s 2018 pole time (1:25.892) with a new lap record of the current Silverstone configuration. Bottas’ time was a quick 1:25.093.
Bottas beat teammate Hamilton to the line by just 0.003 seconds. Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc also managed to be within just a few hundredths of a second, and will start the race third on the grid.
My favorite bit of this onboard video is the section in the .gif above, the Maggots, Becketts, Chapel Curve segment. It blows my mind that these cars have enough downforce to negotiate that section of the track so quickly.
Interestingly, Bottas’ lap time was actually produced with only one truly quick sector. His sectors 1 and 3 weren’t even personal best times, while just sector 2 was strong enough of a all-time best to carry the lap. These drivers are just running on paper thin margins. It’s kind of incredible in a way that works out to be sort of exciting in qualifying, and usually incredibly boring during the race.