The smash couldn’t have been harder: to start at the 2nd slot for 0.006 seconds on the grid in the home Grand Prix, with the pole been claimed by teammate at the first attempt would see boiling everyone, Lewis Hamilton included.
After the opaque Austrian round with partial excuses due to the Mercedes engine temperature, the Brit was hoping a clear dominance for the entire weekend at Silverstone; just for clarifying that winning 6 times at the home team Grand Prix isn’t for everyone in the paddock.
Congratulations to Valtteri, he ultimately did the better job today. It wasn’t the best of qualifying sessions for me, I had a difficult run in Q2 and the first run in Q3 was also not very good. The last one was ok, but certainly not perfect – it’s just one of those days, sometimes you get into a rhythm and then other days you don’t. But there’s more to come; it’s a long race tomorrow, so I will try and see how I can progress forward from the position I’m in. This is a race you’ve got to try and win, but it is not an easy one to win – every year you come, it’s always a massive challenge. The long runs yesterday looked good, so I hope to utilise the tyre advantage from the Mediums tomorrow. Coming to this weekend the energy is just incredible, it’s uplifting for me and the entire team. I’m going to try and bring myself together in a positive way tonight and come back stronger tomorrow
However, race day is starting uphill for “Hammer”: because if Bottas will show the good pace of the first races of 2019, there could be little to do for containing “Minimal Talking”. Moreover, with Wolff still pondering who to give the second car seat to, Valtteri won’t be a good client at the Abbey first turn.
When I got the radio call that I qualified on pole, I was just really happy – I’ve been missing this feeling. It’s very difficult to beat Lewis here, he’s always very strong in Silverstone. My lap wasn’t perfect, there was still some margin left to improve, but no one got a perfect lap together, so it was enough in the end. I now have to make good use of the pole; Lewis’ race pace has been really strong this year, so I’m sure it’ll be a good fight tomorrow. Charles will also be a threat, especially in the beginning of the race because he’s starting on the softer tyres. We are starting on the Mediums, which will make the start tricky, but should be the better choice in the long run. I’m looking forward to the race, it should be good fun
As both drivers will lie down in their beds motivated for tomorrow performance, Toto Wolff won’t be relaxed: a clash like Barcelona 2016 isn’t an option for this year’s campaign. Not for losing points, but for the possible domination that it could end up with; even after Dieter Zetsche retirement the hunger always buzzles around Brackley.