Hamilton storms to Silverstone pole, Vettel settles for third
Lewis Hamilton pulled off a stunning lap to claim a third consecutive pole position at the British Grand Prix, beating nearest challenger Kimi Raikkonen by more than half a second.
The home favourite, who was already leading the timesheets in Q3, delivered a lap of one minute, 26.600 seconds on a damp day at Silverstone. It is the fastest yet around the circuit's current layout, while the gap of 0.547secs to Raikkonen is the biggest between P1 and P2 this season.
Championship leader Sebastian Vettel had to settle for third, and Hamilton's Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas will start ninth thanks to a five-place grid penalty.
Bottas' loss is Max Verstappen's gain, the Red Bull driver climbing to fourth ahead of Nico Hulkenberg, Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon.
The top 10 is completed by Stoffel Vandoorne and Romain Grosjean, with Daniel Ricciardo having been forced to retire in Q1.
The result sees Hamilton equal Jim Clark's record of five pole positions at the British Grand Prix, while he is now just one short of Michael Schumacher's overall F1 pole record.
Changeable weather conditions gave the teams a tyre-selection headache in Q1 and it was Ricciardo who set the early pace on intermediates.
The Red Bull driver - also facing a five-place grid penalty - soon saw his session ended by a turbo issue, breaking a run of Q3 appearances at 38, but times improved for other drivers as the showers abated.
Q1 climaxed with a remarkable run from Fernando Alonso. Unhappy with his progress on the intermediates, the Spaniard pitted for slicks and beat the red lights by less than a second to earn one more quick lap.
The McLaren man put in a superb lap to snare P1, but it mattered little - a 30-place grid penalty accumulated for sweeping changes being made to his car prior to qualifying means Alonso was always destined to start from the back of the grid and he ended up being eliminated in Q2.
Hamilton topped the timesheets in the second session as conditions continued to evolve, with Vandoorne outqualifying team-mate Alonso for the first time this season to reach the top-10 shoot-out.
It was the final session that produced the quickest times of the weekend but nobody was able to keep pace with Hamilton, whose final flying lap lays down a real marker heading into Sunday's race.
Hamilton could yet be penalised, however, as stewards investigate a potential obstruction of Haas' Grosjean late in qualifying.
1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 1:26.600
2. Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) 1:27.147
3. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) 1:27.356
4. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) 1:27.376 (+ five-place grid penalty)
5. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) 1:28.130
6. Nico Hulkenberg (Renault) 1:28.856
7. Sergio Perez (Force India) 1:28.902
8. Esteban Ocon (Force India) 1:28.074
9. Stoffel Vandoorne (McLaren) 1:29.418
10. Romain Grosjean (Haas) 1:29.549