Qualifying for the 2014 British Grand Prix was quite a memorable session, notable for its varying weather conditions that impacted the track and therefore the position of the drivers. There was dry, warm, wet, and windy weather at various times during the hour.
Williams had not enjoyed the best weekend of the year, with both drivers failing to finish Free Practice 1, and far from ideal runs in the other two practice sessions. This continued into qualifying, and to the surprise of many of the crowd, neither Williams managed to get into the second qualifying session. The Ferraris joined them at the back of the grid, alongside the Caterhams. Equally surprising was the great run by Marussia who managed to get both cars into the second qualifying session for the first time, with Jules Bianchi‘s 12th and Max Chilton‘s 13th positions – although Max was subject to a grid penalty because of his gearbox issue in Free Practice 3 – were the best qualifying positions for both drivers. It was great to see them do well. I liked this tweet from the team before the race…
Off to the Grid. Now, where is that Row 6? pic.twitter.com/yrvI4ZGN9Q
— Marussia F1 Team (@Marussia_F1Team) July 6, 2014
Marcus Ericcson had a trip across the grass right in front of me, almost exactly where he had gone off during Free Practice 1.
At the end of the second session, Pastor Maldonado obeyed a radio instruction to stop the car on track, which was then recovered. After the session, we found out that his car did not have enough fuel for a sample, and he was subsequently disqualified from his 15th position.
The final part of qualifying looked like it might be a bit of a damp squib, with some rain meaning that drivers seemed to have set the fastest time in the first couple of minutes of the session. That left Lewis Hamilton sitting comfortably at the front of the grid, a position he enjoyed for most of the session. Then, as the drivers came around to set their final lap as the chequered flag appeared to end qualifying, Lewis allowed his team mate, Nico Rosberg, to pass him on track, knowing that the conditions on the circuit would mean that he was safe at the front of the grid. He was wrong. There was a gasp from the crowd when Sebastian Vettel went fastest, only then to be beaten by Rosberg. Jenson Button, Nico Hulkenberg and Kevin Magnussen also managed to go faster than Hamilton on the lap, meaning that he moved from provisional pole to starting sixth.
I suspect that those who watched the session will remember it for some time to come.
Here are a few of my photos from qualifying.