Hamilton back on top at the British Grand Prix
Lewis Hamilton made full use of the upgrades Mercedes brought to Silverstone as the reigning world champion pipped favorites, Red Bull, to take pole for Formula One’s very first sprint qualifying on Sunday.
In a first, Friday’s qualifying session got underway, with Max Verstappen heading into the session as the favourite, already having been the fastest in FP1. But at home, racing in front of a full capacity home crowd, there was no stopping Hamilton as the Brit pipped his title rival by 0.075 seconds to start on pole for the sprint qualifying race on Saturday evening. Verstappen starts the sprint qualifying P2 from the other Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas in third and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc inheriting fourth after track limits dropped Red Bull’s Sergio Pérez to P5. McLaren’s Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo followed next with the Williams of George Russell, who drove the wheels of his Williams to qualify P7, much to the crowds’ delight, ahead of the Ferrari of Carlos Sainz and Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel, rounding up the top 10.
With only 17 laps in Saturday’s sprint qualifying, Hamilton will definitely fancy his chances to start right at the front for Sunday’s race.
Qualifying 1 (Eliminated- Yuki Tsunoda, Kimi Räikkönen, Nicholas Latifi, Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin)
McLaren’s Lando Norris got the clock running with a 1:28.277s and enjoyed the top spot until Red Bull’s Sergio Pérez went three-tenths faster and was displaced quickly by Valtteri Bottas, who reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton pipped.
With ten minutes to go, there was no stopping championship leader Max Verstappen, who broke into the 1:26s for the first time in the weekend. With the final minutes to go, McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo found himself in a spot of bother in the bottom five. The Australian, though put in a solid banker lap to leave Yuki Tsunoda, Kimi Räikkönen, Nicholas Latifi, Mick Schumacher, and Nikita Mazepin getting knocked out.
Qualifying 2 (Eliminated – Fernando Alonso, Pierre Gasly, Esteban Ocon, Antonio Giovinazzi, and Lance Stroll)
Lewis Hamilton got the second session underway with a 12:26.602s with his teammate a tenth down on the Brit. But it stood only till Max Verstappen came on track and went a tenth quicker.
As the cars came out for their final hot laps, it was Hamilton who went P1 with a 1:26.023s, but it was George Russell’s final hot lap that received the loudest cheers from a full Silverstone crowd that saw the Williams driver pull that car into Q3 once again. That left the two Alpines and Pierre Gasly failing to reach the final top 10 shootouts.
Qualifying 3 – Hammer Time at Silverstone!
It was the Aston Martin of Sebastian Vettel who set the first time of the session with a 1:26.899 but was quickly displaced by Sergio Pérez, as the German had his lap time deleted for exceeding track limits. The Mexican though was replaced by Lewis Hamilton who put in an impressive 1:26.134s, followed closely behind by his champion rival Max Verstappen.
As the cars went for the final hot laps of the day, Lewis Hamilton held on to his provisional pole for the sprint qualifying as Verstappen fell 0.075s short.
The Starting Grid for Sprint Qualifying