Valentino Rossi enjoyed his second place in qualifying for the British Grand Prix even more because of the criticism he has encountered in 2019.

The MotoGP icon, 40, now hopes to be in the mix with pole-sitter Marc Marquez on race day and end a long absence from the podium.

Rossi finished second in two of the first three races this season but has not returned to the podium since in a stretch of eight grands prix that included three straight retirements.

His poor run of form, and a gap of over two years since his last victory, has led to speculation that Rossi may contemplate retirement, but a fourth-place finish in Austria last time showed signs of life and now the Monster Energy Yamaha star has a higher placing in mind.

Rossi told reporters: "It's normal at my age and at my point of my career, if I make three very bad races, people start to say 'He's old, it's time to stay at home', it's like this. 

"For this reason I'm happier [with the result], because I know I can be competitive if I ride well.

"It's already a good result, but it is important on Sunday to make a good race and fight for the podium. I know I have the motivation and I can be strong, because also I feel good physically."

Rossi, who has his first front-row start since the third race of the year in Austin, believes the Silverstone circuit suits his Yamaha machine, but stressed the team have been making progress over recent weeks regardless of track suitability.

"The layout of the track, the radius of the corners are good for our bike, medium-fast," he said. "For sure the new asphalt with a good grip helps. 

"But in the last period Yamaha start to work in the right direction. They start to do clever things, change the situation very much compared to the last two years.

"The bike is better, we accelerate better, the bike is easier to ride in more or less every part of the corner. We are not fast enough on the straight, but on the rest I think we improve in general.

"Here at Silverstone is good for Yamaha but also in Austria we were not so bad."

Five-time world champion Marquez once again distanced himself from the rest of the field on Saturday, claiming his fourth straight pole and eighth from 12 races with a stunning lap that was a stunning 0.428seconds quicker than closest challenger Rossi.

He lost out to Dovizioso in a dramatic battle in Austria, but still leads the championship by 58 points and his Ducati title rival could only qualify seventh at Silverstone.

Marquez has only won in Britain once but is in a perfect spot to improve that record, while his Repsol Honda team-mate Jorge Lorenzo is back from injury but only qualified 21st as he continues to battle pain.
 

TECHNICAL ISSUE HAMPERS QUARTARARO

The closely matched chasing pack of Rossi, Jack Miller, Fabio Quartararo, Alex Rins, Maverick Vinales and Dovizioso were separated by under two tenths.

Australian Miller claimed his third front row of the season to celebrate his new deal with Pramac Racing, while Quartararo had been quickest in practice but fell short in Q2, later explaining a warning alarm for an unspecified technical problem hampered him.

The French rookie said: "The first row I think yes [was possible], because we are [0.010s behind] and in this lap I made many mistakes. 

"From the second sector of my first lap I had an alarm on my dashboard. I decided to finish my lap and then go to the box to check the problem. We had to change the bike and didn't have time to change the tyre. But we have a good pace and we'll give everything."

HOME HOPE CRUTCHLOW FRUSTRATED AFTER CRASH

Hopes of a good home result lie with LCR Honda's Cal Crutchlow, but he endured a poor qualifying session, crashing at Stowe while on his final flying lap.

That left him ninth on the grid, his worst Silverstone performance since 2014, with plenty of work to do to do in his 150th race as he looks to bounce back from a retirement in Austria.

"Bit of an amateur mistake to be honest, braked a bit too deep," Crutchlow said of his crash. "We looked on the data afterwards and I was so close to pulling it down, and if I would have pulled it down, I would have gained a big chunk of time.

"That was why I committed to the corner, because I knew how deep I'd braked, I knew I had to be smoother and not lock the rear, because it would have sent me on anyway, but I committed to it.

"On my actual timed lap I lost three tenths in one corner, that would have put me into the 1:58s. This is the way it is. I can't complain, I did the mistake myself and that's it. It's what happens when you push."
 

THE GRID

1. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda)
2. Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha)
3. Jack Miller (Pramac Racing)
4. Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha)
5. Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar)
6. Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha)
7. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati)
8. Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha)
9. Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda)
10. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda)
11. Danilo Petrucci (Ducati)
12. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing)

PREVIOUS WINNERS

2018: No race due to poor weather
2017: Andrea Dovizioso
2016: Maverick Vinales (for Suzuki)
2015: Valentino Rossi

TITLE STANDINGS

Riders

1. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) 230
2. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) 172 (-58)
3. Danilo Petrucci (Ducati) 136 (-94)
4. Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar) 124 (-106)
5. Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha) 103 (-127)

Teams

1. Ducati 308
2. Repsol Honda 259 (-49)
3. Monster Energy Yamaha 205 (-103)
4. Suzuki Ecstar 163 (-145)
5. Petronas Yamaha 150 (-158)

WEATHER FORECAST

A dry, hot race is expected at Silverstone on Sunday, much like conditions for qualifying. Temperatures for the race could potentially reach 30 degrees celcius.

Marc Marquez stormed to pole position at the British Grand Prix, beating Valentino Rossi with a blistering lap in the final seconds of qualifying.

The Repsol Honda rider claimed his fourth consecutive pole and eighth from 12 races in the 2019 season with a track-record time of 1:58.168 at Silverstone, which was a stunning 0.428seconds quicker than Rossi.

Jack Miller celebrated his new contract with Pramac Racing by producing an impressive effort to join the two MotoGP icons on the front row of the grid for Sunday's race.

A 60th career pole for five-time world champion Marquez means he is in a strong position to extend his lead in this year's standings, while title rival Andrea Dovizioso – who trails him by 58 points - was down in seventh.

Rookie sensation and qualifying specialist Fabio Quartararo had topped the timesheets in practice but had to settle for fourth position, finishing narrowly ahead of Alex Rins and Maverick Vinales.

Franco Morbidelli and Cal Crutchlow join Dovizioso, winner of a dramatic race last time out in Austria, on the third row.

Danilo Petrucci, who is third in the championship, was a poor 11th in the second factory Ducati bike, 1.319s off the pace.

Dovizioso and Rins had to come through Q1 after falling short of the top 10 after FP3, but comfortably beat the rest of the field to join the 12-man battle in the second session. 

But Q2 saw Marquez impressively beat the rest of the field, with under two tenths separating the closely matched chasing pack of Rossi, Miller, Quartararo, Rins, Vinales and Dovizioso.

Jorge Lorenzo, the Repsol Honda team-mate of Marquez, will start the race in 21st position on his return from injury.
 

PROVISIONAL CLASSIFICATION

1. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda): 1:58.168
2. Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha): +0.428s
3. Jack Miller (Pramac Racing): +0.434s
4. Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha): +0.444s
5. Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar): +0.502s
6. Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha): +0.594s
7. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati): +0.594s
8. Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha): +0.928s
9. Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda): +1.075s
10. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda): +1.259s
11. Danilo Petrucci (Ducati): +1.319s
12. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing): +1.452s

Jorge Lorenzo conceded he struggled to cope with the physical demands of MotoGP during Friday's practice session at Silverstone following an absence.

Lorenzo had missed the past four rounds after fracturing vertebrae in his back in a crash during practice at Assen in June.

The Spaniard targeted the British Grand Prix as his comeback race, but he struggled in practice, finishing last on the combined times and 3.682 seconds off leader Fabio Quartararo, and Lorenzo acknowledges he needs to be patient.

"It has been a tough day because you never feel very comfortable when you are in the last positions and you are last like I was," Lorenzo said.

"It is the situation that we have now and to try to push creates crashes and the consequences that you can imagine, so for the moment it is the situation that I have.

"My back has not healed completely, and I have pain, especially after FP2, and I have lost muscle mass and my physical conditions is not used to MotoGP because of two months without bikes. Little by little, I need to be patient to get through this race."

Lorenzo added he is unsure if he will be able to complete the full 20 laps on Sunday.

"I don’t know yet. After the second practice I started to feel more pain on my back compared to yesterday," the Repsol Honda driver said.

"Every practice that I will do, it will be worse for my back, but I need to manage it and try to manage the right laps, to be able to make the maximum pace and get the right laps without getting worse with my injury.

"Almost everywhere I have problems physically, in braking, also in the middle of the corners with my neck as my neck lost a lot of muscle, and the change of direction.

"I have the pain in the back and I move very slowly, so everything I do very slowly. It shows that in my three-and-a-half seconds off to the fastest ones."

 

 

Andrea Dovizioso has regained his form in MotoGP and the Ducati rider will be looking to keep up his recent hot run at the upcoming British Grand Prix.

Dovizioso claimed his second win of 2019 in Austria last time out, edging out standings leader Marc Marquez by 0.213 seconds.

Defending champion Marquez still holds a big lead over the Italian, who sits on 172 points, 58 behind the Repsol Honda rider.

However, Dovizioso has the chance of reaching three podiums in a row for the first time this season after his second place in Brno and his win in Spielberg. He is just one podium finish away from equalling Max Biaggi with the 10th most in MotoGP.

Valentino Rossi, meanwhile, is nearing a milestone, while Marquez heads to Silverstone as the rider to have recorded the most pole positions in the top category.

Using Opta data, we have previewed the British Grand Prix in numbers.

16 - Honda have triumphed 16 times at the British Grand Prix, a record.

3 - Dovizioso has the chance of winning back-to-back races for the third time in his career, and for the first time since 2017.

198 - Rossi is on 198 podiums as things stand. He needs two more to become the first rider to finish in the top three in 200 MotoGP races.

2 - If Marquez fails to win at Silverstone, it will be the first time the Spaniard has failed to finish first in two successive races the since the 2018 Czech Grand Prix.

77 - Marquez is one victory away from surpassing Mike Hailwood as the rider with the fourth-most victories in MotoGP. He is currently on 76.

10 - Jorge Lorenzo, who is due to return from injury at Silverstone, has failed to finish in the first 10 places in the last 10 grands prix - his worst run in any category.

8 - Eight of the 11 MotoGP races this season have been won by Spanish riders.

58 - Dovizioso is one podium away from matching Biaggi's tally of 58 top-three finishes.

Joan Mir will not return to action at the British Grand Prix, with test rider Sylvain Guintoli taking his place, Team Suzuki Ecstar have confirmed.

Mir missed the Austrian Grand Prix following a crash in testing that left him with a pulmonary contusion.

The Spaniard had been expected to return to MotoGP at Silverstone, yet he has not made a full recovery and, with his training also limited, his team announced via a statement Mir will sit out.

"In the end, I am not able to be in Silverstone for the next race and it is a real pity," Mir said. "But that's how things are, and the first priority has to be my health.

"After the accident, I spent several weeks resting, first in the hospital and then at home.

"I have started to walk but, after the tests, it seems that I am still not 100 per cent, so the doctors have determined that it is better to continue with my rehabilitation."

Jorge Lorenzo is targeting the British Grand Prix at the end of August for his MotoGP return after suffering a fractured backbone.

The Repsol Honda has missed the past two races after a crash in practice at the Dutch TT in late June, the latest in a series of incidents involving the Spaniard.

Lorenzo wiped out a number of contenders in a collision at the Catalunya Grand Prix, then came off his bike in a post-race test in Barcelona.

And after being kept out of action by his most recent mishap Lorenzo is going to miss the Czech and Austrian events before attempting a comeback at Silverstone.

A statement from the Honda team read: "Jorge Lorenzo has elected to continue focusing on his recovery and will return for the British GP on August 25.

 

"Jorge Lorenzo and the Repsol Honda Team have agreed it is best for Lorenzo to miss both the Czech and Austrian rounds to continue his recovery and avoid any further risk of injury.

"Having spent the summer break working on his recovery, Lorenzo's condition has improved but he is still in some pain and his movement on a bike remains restricted. Silverstone has been set as his new objective for returning to riding for the Repsol Honda Team."

Stefan Bradl will continue to deputise for Lorenzo, who is 16th in the standings.

The 2019 Formula One season has not gone to plan for Ferrari, who are still waiting on their first race win as we approach the midway point of the campaign.

Sebastian Vettel is enduring a miserable time and his spirits would not have been improved by Sunday's British Grand Prix.

The German clashed with Max Verstappen and ended up in 16th, his worst classified finish since the 2012 Italian GP.

On that occasion, after retiring in the final stages of the race to come 22nd, Vettel went on to triumph at the next four meetings and claimed a third straight title. That will not happen this time.

Vettel has been the subject of retirement rumours, he sensationally protested a penalty in Montreal, and results have been ordinary at best.

There have been no shortage of commentators willing to chip in on the situation, too. Vettel might be "frustrated and vulnerable" at Ferrari, suggested Daniel Ricciardo.

On Sunday, as Vettel toiled again, Ralf Schumacher, working for Sky in Germany, said: "Sebastian has to be careful not to lose his number one status [at Ferrari].

"He almost has and Charles [Leclerc] is not making it easy for him."

Because perhaps Vettel's greatest issue is the improving fortunes of Leclerc, who had his own early-season woe.

Engine trouble limited the Scuderia new boy to third from pole in Bahrain, while he retired on a miserable weekend at his home race in Monaco.

But the 21-year-old's response to that latter setback has been superb, finishing on the podium in the four subsequent events, even though his wait for a breakthrough victory goes on.

At Silverstone, Leclerc profited from the contact between Vettel and Verstappen, while getting the better of Pierre Gasly, and thoroughly enjoyed himself as his team-mate toiled.

"Overall, I'm very happy with the race, with the battles," he said. "It was probably the most fun race I've had in my Formula One career."

Vettel's position might already have been weakened by his poor performances and shows of ill-discipline, but Leclerc's emergence means Ferrari also have a viable alternative as their lead driver.

Just three points separate the pair in the standings and there is now a genuine tussle to see which of the two will end the season on top.

Leclerc may well be benefitting from the distraction of Vettel's antics and the four-time champion only has himself to blame.

Should these two team-mates continue along their contrasting paths, Vettel's time at the front of Ferrari - let alone the sport - might be all but over.

Max Verstappen was surprised he was able to finish the British Grand Prix after being sent spinning into the gravel by Sebastian Vettel at Silverstone.

The Red Bull driver had just overtaken the four-time Formula One world champion, who attempted to regain his place immediately but misjudged the manoeuvre and crashed straight into the back of Verstappen.

The Dutchman went momentarily airborne as he skidded over a kerb and into the gravel, but somehow recovered to finish fifth.

Vettel, meanwhile, was forced to pit and, having been handed a 10-second penalty, came home in 16th, second-last of those to complete the race.

Verstappen could be heard over team radio asking how there was not greater damage to his car and afterwards expressed his amazement at being able to make it to the chequered flag.

"I was catching Seb, managing the tyres a bit, then I went for it, got around the outside. Then I defended into 17 but got rear-ended," said Verstappen.

"We already spoke to each other and he apologised. I honestly don't know how I brought that car to the finish.

"I think my power steering failed. My seat was out so every time braking I was moving forward. At corners I was moving left and right.

"When I jumped out of the car the whole floor and the rear was destroyed. So, I'm happy to finish fifth."

Sebastian Vettel accepted the blame and apologised to Max Verstappen after crashing into the back of the Red Bull man during Sunday's British Grand Prix.

Verstappen forced his way past his Ferrari rival on lap 38 at Silverstone but as Vettel looked to regain his place he collided with the rear of the Dutchman's car and sent both men spinning into the gravel.

Remarkably, Verstappen was able to continue unscathed and finished fifth while Vettel – who received a 10-second penalty – was not so fortunate, forced into the pits before coming home 16th, second-last of those to complete the race.

Immediately after the incident, Vettel could be heard over team radio asking, "what was he doing?", seemingly in belief that Verstappen had been at fault, but the four-time world champion apologised to the Red Bull driver once the chequered flag had been waved.

"Well, it was my mistake so obviously he passed me and then ran a bit wide which gave me the chance to come back, then it looked for a second that he was going to the right and there would be a gap on the left which didn't open and by that time it was too late and I crashed," Vettel said.

"I think in the moment, obviously I was upset, I destroyed my race but in the end it's my mistake.

"I thought there was a gap that would open but it didn't and by then it was too late, and I couldn't avoid it."

Vettel's Ferrari team-mate Charles Leclerc benefitted from the collision to seal third – his fourth successive podium finish – having enjoyed a lengthy battle with Verstappen earlier in proceedings.

"It's probably the race I enjoyed the most in my F1 career," Leclerc said. "It's great to finish third but today was very difficult.

"We were where we wanted to be in the first two stints, but the safety car meant we lost a couple of positions and I'm extremely proud of the battles we had on track.

"I think the last race was an eye-opener for me showing me how far we can go and it's great for F1 to fight on the limit in that way and I'm happy that this race has gone that way."

Lewis Hamilton revelled in his record-breaking sixth British Grand Prix triumph, insisting it felt just as special as the first.

The defending Formula One world champion extended his lead atop the drivers' standings after beating team-mate Valtteri Bottas to the top step of the podium at Silverstone on Sunday.

Having started second on the grid behind his Mercedes colleague, Hamilton record his seventh win from 10 races in 2019, moving clear of Alain Prost and Jim Clark as the most successful driver in the British GP's history, 11 years on from his maiden success on home soil.

"Honestly I'm a bit out of breath. I can't tell you how proud I am to be here today in front of my home crowd," Hamilton said.

"There's so many British flags out there and every year I see it and you think you get used to it, but it feels like the first time and I'm forever grateful to everyone out here, I hope you enjoyed the day.

"I couldn't have done it without these guys, I couldn't have done it without the team and everyone at the factory and their families who support them with all the time they spend away, they work so hard in their jobs.

"There's nearly 2,000 people who make this possible and I'm just a link in the chain. I'm super proud to be a part of this."

Hamilton added: "I know that my teachers will be watching and until my dying day I want to prove them wrong, and all the negative things people have said to me.

"When I was eight years-old, I really didn't know what it was like to have money and fame and I just want to keep going and inspiring people now.

"I always believe in my own ability and I just want to show other people to hold on to that too."

Bottas was leading until a safety car deployment on lap 20 played into Hamilton's hands, allowing him to pit and re-emerge with a lead he would never relinquish.

"I don't know what to say, congrats to Lewis, he got a free stop and got past me there," said Bottas, who is 39 points behind Hamilton in the standings.

"Not really my day but the pace was good. There are positives for yesterday in qualifying as I was quickest on track. I'll keep fighting this season, it's not over yet."

Lewis Hamilton became the British Grand Prix's most successful driver with his sixth victory at Silverstone on Sunday.

The Mercedes driver came into the race level with Jim Clark and Alain Prost on five wins at his home GP, but there was work to do as he started second on the grid behind team-mate Valtteri Bottas.

An early overtake was swiftly cancelled out but the deployment of the safety car on lap 20 benefitted the defending world champion, who managed to dive into the pits and re-emerge with his lead intact.

Bottas had already pitted by that stage and the Finn was unable to overhaul his colleague through the second half of the race as Hamilton extended his standings lead to 39 points with 11 rounds of action still to come.

The podium was completed by Charles Leclerc, who capitalised on a collision between his Ferrari team-mate Sebastian Vettel and Max Verstappen after the Red Bull man had overtaken the German on lap 38.

Both men were sent spinning into the gravel, although Verstappen was able to continue unscathed while Vettel had to change his front nose and ended up coming home 16th, second-last of those to finish.

Valtteri Bottas knows he has an opportunity that cannot be wasted at the British Grand Prix.

After claiming pole position by just 0.006 seconds, the narrowest qualifying margin in 176 Formula One races, Bottas starts in front of Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton for Sunday's race.

Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen, the main protagonists of a thriller in Austria last time out, make up the second row, while Pierre Gasly impressed to take fifth ahead of a disappointing Sebastian Vettel.

Hamilton leads the world championship by 31 points and is eyeing a record-breaking sixth victory at his home race, with Mercedes eager to bounce back after Verstappen's famous triumph in Spielberg saw them beaten for the first time this season.

Claiming pole has not been a guarantee of success in 2019, with only three out of nine being converted to race victories. Indeed, Bottas failed to triumph after qualifying first in China and Spain, so now the Finn cannot let another chance slip by.

"For sure the championship fight is still on," said Bottas, who clawed back five points on Hamilton in Austria.

"Obviously I'm the one chasing, I'm behind but [there are] so many races to go and it's going to be up to me and my performance. So definitely every single opportunity there is I need to get those.

"If I don't then Lewis is going to be far away and not able to reached in terms of points, so Sunday is super important. 

"I will do everything I can to keep that lead. The biggest thing for me to work on is the pure race pace - definitely in some conditions. The main thing is to turn those poles into wins.

"I've definitely been working a lot on the starts this year, especially after the couple of not ideal ones. I feel much more comfortable than earlier in the year. Every start is going to be different but I feel more confident and obviously aiming to use the good grid position."

Hamilton was frustrated by his own performance in qualifying, but eager to make up for it in front of his passionate home support.

The five-time world champion said: "You've seen in a lot of the races, qualifying doesn't necessarily always determine what happens. It's a long race on Sunday and we've got a great crowd here so hopefully I can do something different.

"Clearly it's the best grand prix of the whole year and that is really because of the energy the people bring. We have got the best fans here in England."

FERRARI ATTEMPT 'AUDACIOUS' TYRE STRATEGY

Many observers felt Leclerc's strategy cost him in Austria, as Verstappen chased him down with fresher tyres in a dramatic finish. The Monegasque and Vettel will differ from the other leading drivers at Silverstone by starting on softs.

"We did an audacious choice of tyre for the start, softer than our opponents," Leclerc said to Sky Sports. 

"We are pretty happy with the choice here. I think in Austria it was not a bad choice and that is not what made us finish second there.

"I will give it everything. The target is to try to use our tyre advantage to gain positions at the first few corners and then try to keep them. If we manage to at the start, it’s a track where it's quite hard to overtake and we might have a chance.

"If we do not it's going to be very difficult to fight with [Mercedes]. But we are very happy with the qualifying performance, very close to Mercedes. We did not expect it and thought we would be struggling more." 

Ferrari team boss Mattia Binotto explained: "In the first stint we believe we will perform well and the soft tyres will be good.

"This was planned to add in another variable. We are well aware this will be a long race and tyre wear will be a factor for everyone, but our hope is that we have found the right set-up to go well over a long stint."

Verstappen said he "didn't understand" Ferrari's choice, but Red Bull boss Christian Horner was intrigued, adding: "There's the start line advantage on the red tyre, but the durability isn't great - it's different but it will spice things up. It looks like a two-stopper from Ferrari."
 

RED BULL COULD SPRING A SURPRISE

Bottas discussed the threat Ferrari could pose at the start of the race, particularly with Leclerc on softs, but the two Red Bulls are also in the mix.

Verstappen recovered from three poor practice sessions to qualify fourth, and explained a turbo lag issue had cost him a realistic shot at pole, given he only finished 0.183secs behind Bottas.

"I honestly didn't know what to expect in qualifying," said the Dutchman. "My Friday and also FP3 was not good, but then in qualifying we found stability.

"We made improvements, the car was great and we really found a good set-up. Unfortunately, the whole day I had problems with turbo lag and out of the low speed corners I was losing time. 

"Normally we can [tune it out], but somehow we couldn't. The Q3 lap was good, it's just a shame we lost time with the turbo lag otherwise we could have fought for pole.

"When you look at how close we are to pole position then the result is bittersweet. We usually have even better performance in the race and with the good balance we had in qualifying I'm quite confident."

Verstappen has finished in the top five at every race, while his team-mate has had a miserable campaign. However, Gasly finished top in FP1 and has been competitive throughout the weekend, providing hope of a much-needed a turning point.


THE GRID

1. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes)
2. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
3. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari)
4. Max Verstappen (Red Bull)
5. Pierre Gasly (Red Bull)
6. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari)
7. Daniel Ricciardo (Renault)
8. Lando Norris (McLaren)
9. Alexander Albon (Toro Rosso)
10. Nico Hulkenberg (Renault)

PREVIOUS WINNERS

2018: Sebastian Vettel
2017: Lewis Hamilton
2016: Lewis Hamilton
2015: Lewis Hamilton

DRIVER STANDINGS

1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 197
2. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) 166 (-31)
3. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) 126 (-71)
4. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) 123 (-74)
5. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) 105 (-92)

CONSTRUCTOR STANDINGS

1. Mercedes 363
2. Ferrari 228 (-135)
3. Red Bull 169 (-194)
4. McLaren 52 (-311)
5. Renault 32 (-331)

WEATHER FORECAST 

There were high winds on Friday and a threat of rain during qualifying on Saturday at a circuit that saw its future resolved with a new deal this week.

But Sunday is expected to be a dry race with light cloud and a gentle breeze, although showers may appear earlier in the day.

"There was no proper chance of rain in qualifying but it still had a bit of drizzle, so I think anything can come from the sky, you never know – and no idea what will be best for us," said Bottas. "At least it’s cooler than Austria, so that's always good news."

Lewis Hamilton will break Michael Schumacher's Formula One records "very, very soon" according to former team-mate Nico Rosberg.

The Mercedes driver is 31 points clear at the top of the standings as he seeks his sixth world title, which would move him clear of Juan Manuel Fangio and just one behind Schumacher.

But in qualifying for Sunday's British Grand Prix, Valtteri Bottas edged out Hamilton to claim pole position at Silverstone, where the Briton has won five times, a joint record for the track.

Rosberg, who won the 2016 title ahead of Hamilton before surprisingly retiring from the sport, feels his old colleague is destined to surpass seven-time world champion Schumacher.

"Lewis is one of the best drivers of all time and he'll go on to break all the Schumacher records very, very soon. It's unbelievable," Rosberg told Omnisport, speaking at Heineken's 'When You Drive, Never Drink' campaign.

"Also, the record that he has here at Silverstone with five Grand Prix wins going for his sixth, it's phenomenal.

"And also being a home Grand Prix, I think that's very special to him and he's going to be trying to do that this weekend; being very focused in front of the home fans. So it's going to be an exciting weekend.

"Mercedes again seem to be the dominant force here at Silverstone. But there's a few things coming their way, for example the weather, the tyres.

"So this could mix things up and that would be great of course. If we don't always get the predictions right that would be nice. But yes, I would say Lewis is the favourite."

Rosberg only won one British GP in his career and Hamilton has triumphed in the race in four of the past five years, dominating on home soil.

"This circuit is possibly the most legendary track in the calendar because it has been the home of modern racing," Rosberg added. "It hosted the first Formula One race back in the 50s, and the British Grand Prix has always been on the calendar for all these years.

"So, it's a really special place, so many fans coming out here; more than 300,000 celebrating this race. It's a great track as well, really high speed. So for me, it's one of those wins that I'll remember forever.

"I'm very thankful as well because the British fans appreciate good performances, and they will always honour good performances. So even though I'm German, they still gave me so much support and that's why I'm so thankful and will forever remember that.

"And the British Grand Prix also has one of the most beautiful trophies in the calendar. I think actually the most beautiful trophy."

Sebastian Vettel joked "at least I took part" after his latest poor qualifying session at the British Grand Prix but insisted he is more optimistic about the race on Sunday.

The Ferrari driver - a winner last year at Silverstone - faces a tough ask to repeat that success after qualifying down in sixth position.

Team-mate Charles Leclerc has been quicker throughout the weekend and will start third after pushing pole-sitter Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton in the two Mercedes all the way on Saturday.

But Vettel was 0.694 seconds adrift of Bottas and over five tenths behind Leclerc, meaning he was also beaten by the Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Pierre Gasly.

"I've had worse ones - at least I took part!" Vettel told Sky Sports about how qualifying had gone. "I don't know, I didn't have the speed.

"Usually it's pretty clear that you go faster from Q1 to Q3 without doing anything but that did not happen, so it's a bit strange. I didn't have a great feel for the car and it just didn't come."

It continues a frustrating run for the four-time world champion, who has been outqualified by Leclerc for three straight races and has not stood on top of the podium since August 2018 at the Belgian Grand Prix. 

Vettel has analysed the data to try to determine the cause of the difference in pace between the two SF90s.

"Yeah [I looked at data] - I think he did a good job," Vettel said of Leclerc.

"For me, I don't have an answer now. I think it's fairly evenly spread. He seems to gain a bit everywhere [on the track]. I just didn't really have a great feeling; you need a good feeling to throw the car from one side to the other, it's [confidence].

"I'm not happy but even more looking forward to [Sunday] now. Not [worried] because the race is never a problem. I would rather start further up but race pace is normally fine, it has been for most of the year. 

"The Mercs will be quick, but we will see what happens, it will be a tough battle between us and the Red Bulls I guess."

Asked about the prospect of having to battle Gasly – who is showing improved pace at Silverstone – as well as Verstappen, Vettel replied: "One [Red Bull] would be boring – Max has calmed down a bit [these days]!"

Valtteri Bottas believes beating Lewis Hamilton at Silverstone is a more "special" achievement given his Mercedes team-mate's impressive record at his home race.

Hamilton is looking to win the British Grand Prix for a record sixth time on Sunday, but will have to do so from second on the grid.

That is after Bottas topped him by just 0.006 seconds in qualifying, the narrowest margin for 176 Formula One races.

And Bottas is also not discounting the threat of Ferrari, with Charles Leclerc due to start third on soft tyres having come within 0.079secs of the Finn.

"It is a difficult track to beat Lewis - everyone knows that, he knows it, I know it and that is why it makes it quite special," Bottas said to Sky Sports after Saturday's qualifying.

"My emotion is that I am very happy. It was not easy. Everyone was making small mistakes here and there, but the lap was good enough and I'm really, really pleased.

"I didn't quite get the lap together especially in the first part. But it was enough – it is very easy to make mistakes and everyone was struggling a bit, so I am happy to be on top.

"That was the first part but the most important is Sunday. I'm sure Lewis is not going to give up on the win and the Ferraris are going to be in the mix. 

"Ferrari can be [a threat], especially at the beginning of the race starting with a softer tyre. Hopefully after that we should have the upper hand but you never know with the weather and it is racing. 

"I'm sure it is going to be a nice race. But I'm here to win, not to come second or third."

Hamilton, meanwhile, was frustrated at his own performance which included a mistake on his first Q3 run, but would not give up hope.

"Ultimately not good enough," said the Briton, who leads the world championship by 31 points. "We worked really hard throughout the session but it just got a little bit away from us.

"I sacrificed a lap in Q2 which would've helped us get a reading of how the car was but we didn't end up doing it. I had that mistake on the first lap and the second one just was not really that great.

"So fair play and congratulations to Valtteri, he did a good job. Sometimes [the lap] does come to you, sometimes it doesn't - just one of those days." 

On the support of the home fans, Hamilton added: "The energy is just incredible, it is uplifting not just for me but also for the team. 

"But it also a huge amount of pressure for us to deliver and naturally you want to deliver, so of course it is disappointing not to have had a great day.  

"Nothing you can do about what has happened. Having a pole position for the team is a great thing but from days like this you learn no matter how big or small the issue is or the mistakes are.

"You carry it forwards and try to improve. I am going to try and bring myself together in a positive light and come back with some strength, that is the goal."

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