Sir Lewis Hamilton has beaten Max Verstappen by seven-hundredths of a second to take pole position for Saturday’s sprint race for the British Grand Prix. The Mercedes driver bounced back after being behind in first practice, while the Dutchman made a slight error on his final run in Q3.
Hamilton looked comfortably ahead setting a 26.1 on his first run in Q3, while Verstappen appeared to continue to struggle with understeer in the Red Bull. However, despite going fastest in the first two sectors, Hamilton slid a little wide through Club and although Verstappen did improve it wasn’t enough.
Coming into qualifying not just on the back of Verstappen domination in Austria, but also in Friday’s only practice session as the Red Bull driver held a 0.7s advantage, Hamilton built himself up through the shootout and unleashed pace. Verstappen’s struggles appeared from FP1, where he struggled with to find the right setup with his Red Bull.
While not officially his eighth pole at Silverstone, the seven-time world champion threw down the chance of a fight after five races without a win.
Hamilton said “That first [Q3] lap was great. The second one was looking even better but just lost the back end in that last corner, so my heart was in my mouth as I crossed the line. But I could see the crowd and it was really reminiscent of my first pole here in 2007.”
Hamilton’s teammate Valtteri Bottas was third ahead of Sergio Perez, but the Mexican’s fastest lap was deleted after he exceeded track limits promoting Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc to fourth. It was a brilliant evening for the brits with Lando Norris bouncing back from a mugging on Sunday to take sixth, while George Russell took eighth for Williams.
Russell only managed one run In Q2, but it was enough to knock out Fernando Alonso that was despite him setting his fastest lap with four minutes to go. That put the Englishman ahead of both Carlos Sainz and Sebastian Vettel, who lost his first Q3 time for a track limits infringement at Stowe, at the end of the top ten.
The seventeen lap sprint race could mix things up, with the potential for mistakes that could leave drivers at the back of the grid for the main race on Sunday, against the potential for movements up the field.
Fernando Alonso was eleventh going almost a tenth faster than his teammate Esteban Ocon, the two Alpine drivers being spilt by the Alpha Tauri of Pierre Gasly. Gasly being the only driver not to set a personal best on their final laps in the middle segment.
Antonio Giovinazzi could not reproduce his fastest time from Q1, where he was twelfth, as he finished Q2 in fourteenth for Alfa Romeo, ahead of Lance Stroll, who did find time compared to his best lap in the opening part of the session, but not enough to gain him any places for the sprint qualifying race grid.
Yuki Tsunoda was the fastest of those knocked out in Q1 in sixteenth, ahead of Kimi Raikkonen and Nicolas Latifi despite improving on their final runs thewy ended up seventeenth and eighteenth.
Mick Schumacher again out-qualified Haas teammate Nikita Mazepin, who had a half-spun late-on in Q1 after losing the rear of his car putting the power down exiting Village.