LEWIS HAMILTON PUTS HIS MERCEDES ON POLE FOR THE 2013 BRITISH GRAND PRIX…
Hamilton’s margin over the field was a stunning 0.452 seconds as Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber took third and fourth on the grid.
Vettel’s title rivals Kimi Raikkonen of Lotus and Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso could manage only ninth and 10th.
Scot Paul Di Resta was fifth ahead of Toro Rosso’s Daniel Ricciardo.
It was Di Resta’s career-best qualifying position and Ricciardo, a contender to replace Webber next year, equalled his own highest grid position.
Hamilton’s pole was his first since the Chinese Grand Prix and it came as a result of what team boss Ross Brawn described as “a very special lap”.
Vettel edged out Webber by just 0.009secs as Red Bull put themselves in a strong position for the race.
Mercedes are still concerned about their rear tyre usage, especially with higher temperatures forecasted for the race on Sunday.
The race looks set to be fought out by the Red Bulls and Mercedes, whose tyre wear in the cooler conditions of Friday was better than usual.
But Raikkonen and Alonso, who both admitted coming into this race that they needed to make up ground on Vettel, face a tough battle after struggling for pace all weekend.
Jenson Button won the internal McLaren battle by qualifying 11th and beating team-mate Sergio Perez by 0.4secs, but the team were way off the pace.
Ricciardo’s sixth place on the grid was perfectly timed following Webber’s announcement on Thursday that he will be leaving F1 at the end of the year.
Ricciardo is one of three contenders for the second red Bull seat in 2014, along with Raikkonen and the other Toro Rosso driver Jean-Eric Vergne, who qualified 13th after running wide on his final lap in second qualifying, which was on target to match Ricciardo’s.
Englishman Max Chilton struggled in the Marussia – he qualified last, 1.7 seconds slower than team-mate Jules Bianchi.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap 1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m29.607s 2. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m30.059s + 0.452s 3. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m30.211s + 0.604s 4. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m30.220s + 0.613s 5. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m30.736s + 1.129s 6. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m30.757s + 1.150s 7. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m30.908s + 1.301s 8. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m30.955s + 1.348s 9. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m30.962s + 1.355s 10. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m30.979s + 1.372s Q2 cut-off time: 1m31.592s Gap ** 11. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m31.649s + 0.659s 12. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m31.779s + 0.789s 13. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m31.785s + 0.795s 14. Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1m32.082s + 1.092s 15. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1m32.211s + 1.221s 16. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m32.359s + 1.369s Q1 cut-off time: 1m32.512s Gap * 17. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1m32.664s + 1.669s 18. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m32.666s + 1.671s 19. Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1m33.866s + 2.871s 20. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1m34.108s + 3.113s 21. Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1m35.481s + 4.486s 22. Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1m35.858s + 4.863s