The Ferraris of Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel topped the timings in Q1 but the most attention-grabbing events took place further down the field. McLaren's Stoffel Vandoorne reported a problem with his car just five minutes into Q1, and it didn't improve throughout the session.
He wasn't the only one stricken with bad luck. Lewis Hamilton was happily tucked in P5 when he suffered a catastrophic hydraulic issue in his Mercedes. It left him pushing the car back to the pits with the aid of the stewards, and unable to take part in the rest of the session.
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Seeing Hamilton crouched next to his stricken chariot, looking like there might be a tear or two underneath that visor, was quite sad.
OUT: Esteban Ocon (Force India), Pierre Gasly (Toro Rosso), Brendon Hartley (Toro Rosso), Lance Stroll (Williams), Stoffel Vandoorne (McLaren).
Sauber's Marcus Ericsson put everyone out by delaying the session with a red flag - his detour left gravel on the track which needed to be cleared.
Not a great day for McLaren as Fernando Alonso was nudged into the drop zone at the last by Force India's Sergio Perez; Hamilton took another of those elimination slots, and Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo, with plenty of grid penalties to come, opted not to take part in Q2 at all, keeping his powder dry for the race.
Valtteri Bottas clocked the fastest lap, though, nudging ahead of Red Bull's Max Verstappen by a sliver.
OUT: Fernando Alonso (McLaren), Sergey Sirotkin (Williams), Marcus Ericsson (Sauber), Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes), Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull).
It was a new track record for Vettel in the end, with Raikkonen taking P3, ready to put the moves on Bottas on the front row tomorrow. The Mercedes tried his hardest to close the gap and reclaimed his place at the top of the timings as the chequered flag waved - but the Ferrari was simply too quick, going fastest just a matter of seconds later.
It was P9 for Charles Leclerc who's been consistently excellent recently, so that hardly counts as noteworthy for Sauber these days; while Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean locked out the third row of the grid for Haas, followed immediately by the Renault duo of Nico Hulkenberg and Carlos Sainz.
TOP TEN: Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari), Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes), Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari), Max Verstappen (Red Bull), Kevin Magnussen (Haas), Romain Grosjean (Haas), Nico Hulkenberg (Renault), Carlos Sainz (Renault), Charles Leclerc (Sauber), Sergio Perez (Force India).
QUALIFYING IN SUMMARY
Well, Vettel was a happy man, enjoying his time in the spotlight at his home race, under no pressure from his desolate title rival.
Hamilton did look pretty heartbroken, but selfishly his issues in qualifying might make for an interesting race for viewers - watching him battle through the field after first-corner contact in Silverstone definitely made it a better spectacle a fortnight ago.
The Silver Arrows aren't as reliable as they have been in the past, but seeing Hamilton wheel his car away in a fit of melancholy was still a bit of a surprise. It's usually Bottas who suffers the misfortune this season, but the Brit hasn't had a very easy time of it recently either.
ONE TO WATCH
The Haases are enjoying a tremendous run of form, and starting P5 and P6 - well ahead of the Force Indias and the McLarens again - puts them in a good position to consolidate their position in the constructors' championship.
Vettel - Bottas - Raikkonen
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