LONDON – Valtteri Bottas produced a brilliant end to his final qualifying lap to snatch pole position for the Formula One 70th Anniversary Grand Prix at Silverstone, nudging Lewis Hamilton into second.
Mercedes driver Bottas posted a best 1 minute 25.154 seconds around the 5.891-kilometre circuit which is hosting a second successive race after the British Grand Prix last week.
Team-mate Hamilton had looked set for the top ranking before Bottas’ late heroics earned his 13th pole and the chance to cut a 30-point standings deficit to the Briton in Sunday’s race.
Back-up driver Nico Huelkenberg took a stunning third for Racing Point with Max Verstappen fourth for Red Bull. Daniel Ricciardo of Renault was fifth and Lance Stroll sixth in the other Racing Point.
Pierre Gasly with seventh for Alpha Tauri, Charles Leclerc eighth for Ferrari and Alexander Albon’s Red Bull struggles continued in ninth. Lando Norris completed the top 10 for McLaren.
Hamilton was fasted with his first lap in final qualifying and improved next time out but Bottas was better still and a dazzling last sector confirmed his pole.
Sebastian Vettel’s miserable farewell season with Ferrari continued with 12th, behind the Renault of Esteban Ocon. Carlos Sainz (McLaren), Romain Grosjean (Haas) and George Russell (Williams) also ended their day in second qualifying.
“It was all that was in this car,” a disappointed Vettel said on team radio. “I tried. Thank you.”
Daniil Kvyat (Alpha Tauri), Kevin Magnussen (Haas), Nicholas Latifi (Williams), Antonio Giovinazzi and Kimi Raikkonen (both Alfa Romeo) exited in Q1.