Experience key as Brits miss out on qualifying joy for British Grand Prix
The Brits fell short at Silverstone as Formula One's experienced heads took the top three in a sodden qualifying for Sunday's British Grand Prix.
Lewis Hamilton was the only home driver to taste Q3, as his McLaren team-mate Jenson Button endured another day to forget – yellow flags on the final corner of his final lap in the opening session causing him to slow down and drop out. Penalties from the European Grand Prix for others means he is expected to start 16th on the provisional grid.
Force India's Paul di Resta was closer – but he just missed the cut for the final session after rain-delayed Q2 was red flagged for well over an hour, and the Scot will start from 10th.
Hamilton gave things a go, but could not muster his usual magic in the wet and was some way off the pace as he sat eighth, where he will also start on Sunday.
Fernando Alonso – winner last time out at Valencia, and in 2011 at Silverstone – will start on pole for Sunday's race for Ferrari ahead of Red Bull's Mark Webber and the Mercedes of F1 legend Michael Schumacher.
Lotus had a decent time of it, with both cars making it into the final qualifying session – although as Romain Grosjean beached his E20 after taking a spin on his route back to the pits at the end of Q2, he was not allowed to run in Q3. Nico Hulkenberg's five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change on his Force India at least means Grosjean starts from ninth.
Kimi R�ikk�nen clocked the sixth best time in the final session for the Hethel-backed outfit, while the Hingham-based Caterhams of Heikki Kovalainen and Vitaly Petrov could not make it out of Q1, despite optimism over their upgrades.
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However, the Norfolk team remain happy with their progress and will be eyeing the chance to up the ante on their 18th (Petrov) and 19th place starts on Sunday – improved by Jean-Eric Vergne's 10-place grid penalty.
Caterham will also aim to make up for last year's race at Silverstone, where both cars were out by the 11th lap following hydraulics failures.