Lewis Hamilton set the fastest lap around Silverstone, putting Valerie Botas, a teammate of Brazilian Grand Prix Meridis, in a pole position.
Both runs in the final session were 0.33 seconds clearer than the fastest Hamilton Bottas and the Red Bull’s Max Verstappen put Charles Leyler’s improved Ferrari in third place.
McLaren’s Lando Norris starred in fifth place, before the so-called ‘Pink Mercedes’ racing point of Lance Stroll.
Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel could only manage a tenth after fighting all weekend.
Mercedes cars were expected to fly around the high-speed Silverstone brooms and so it turned out, Hamilton finished in 1.222cc qualifying faster than Versatapen.
Black cars have such an advantage – the Red Bull and Ferrari lag behind last year – at this stage it seems very difficult to beat them this year.
Hamilton’s pole was his fifth at Silverston in six years and he is aiming to increase his home win record to seven on Sunday.
However, it was far from a plain journey – Hamilton lost to Bottas in the first two sessions of the qualifiers and also got a spin early in the second, but kept the bag out while in match form in the top ten shootout.
Hamilton said: “There is a big gap between us and the third place, but it doesn’t matter. Voltaire is pushing me to the right of the boundary. He’s pushing me all weekend.
“I made some changes before the qualification and it was worse. There was a real fight
“This track is tough with the wind and it’s like waking the ball while spinning the plate at high speed.
“I had this spin but with some deep breathing I was able to compose myself. It never gets old.”
Botas said: “I was just waiting for the Kiwi but then I started to drift a little further along the back edge. I don’t know what happened, Lewis found more than me.”
Hamilton said he missed out on more than 10,000 fans who would normally go to Silverstone this weekend, but said: “Hopefully back home they enjoyed it today.”
Positive signs for Ferrari – but for how long?
Verstapen said there was no way to challenge Mercedes, but the Red Bull would be just as concerned that Hamilton’s time was 0.7 seconds faster than the Botas pole last year, while Verstapen himself slowed the fraction to 2019.
“There was a very quick path at the very beginning of the selection,” he said. “Being a P3 is a good start if you try to accept it and try your best.
“We’re a little bit closer in this competition. I’m not saying I’ll fight them, but at least your chances of fighting should be third.”
His teammate Alexander Albon was battling after the accident on Friday and missed most of the final practice sessions with battery issues and qualified only 12th.
Verstappen had to fight to beat Listark in the best performance of the year.
The Italian team has opted for a low-downforce set-up for this weekend, discovering that it gives them strong ODI momentum, but they continue to fight long runs and expect to be less competitive in the competition.
Behind them, Norris became the best for McLaren, wearing a glamorous helmet design made by a six-year-old female fan for the weekend.
He finished fifth on the grid, ahead of Stroll and under 0.2 seconds faster than teammate Carlos Sanz.
“I’m very happy. It was a bit of a bad qualifying qualification, my first step went up with the first push of Q. In question In, I put it together and I don’t know if it’s my best lap, but in my best lap. A. “
Daniel Ricardo and Esteban Oaken’s upgrades to Renaults were eighth and ninth, while Vettel was placed in the final top ten due to a number of reliability issues with teammate Leclerc’s nearly a second adrift weekend.
George Russell of Williams was 15th, but an investigation is under way for failing to slow down the yellow warning flag and he will take three places if convicted.