Lewis Hamilton has looked unbeatable since the delayed return of Formula One’s 2020 season, but if teammate Valtteri Bottas’s performance in qualifying for the series’s 70th birthday event at Silverstone, Hamilton might have to start watching his back.
This could portend an interesting, competitive race, since Bottas qualified a mere 0.063 seconds ahead of his teammate. (Or, if we’re honest, Hamilton could probably just sweep right past Bottas at the start, never to be seen again. We can dream!)
Now, if you missed qualifying, you might need to read this sentence twice: Nico Hulkenberg qualified in third place.
(Take a minute to digest that. I know I had to, and I watched it happen.)
Hulkenberg isn’t a full-time driver this season, but he’s currently subbing for Sergio Perez at Racing Point after the Mexican driver tested positive for COVID-19 ahead of both Silverstone events. Last weekend at Silverstone, Hulkenberg’s car failed to even make it to the starting grid. Today, it looks like he’s making up for that in spades.
His expert performance comes just after Racing Point was fined for, essentially, copying Mercedes’s 2019 brake duct layout. The FIA deducted 15 points from the team’s championship standings, dropping it back to sixth place overall. They were also fined 400,000 euros.
But you know what could make up those 15 lost points? A handsome third-place podium position.
Max Verstappen at Red Bull Racing qualified fourth, with Daniel Ricciardo’s Renault rounding out the top five—one of his best starting positions he’s had since signing with Renault.
It wasn’t a great qualifying session for everyone, though. Sebastian Vettel and his seemingly-cursed Ferrari was knocked out in Q2 and qualified down in 12th place—Vettel’s worst qualifying position in years. And, yes, Haas, Williams, and Alfa Romeo are still withering away at the rear of the field.
You can find the full starting grid here.