Lewis Hamilton put in a sensational qualifying lap to light up Silverstone and ensure he will start the first-ever F1 Sprint from P1 ahead of title rival Max Verstappen.
This historic Friday evening qualifying session, which sets the grid for the first-ever F1 Sprint on Saturday as opposed to Sunday’s British Grand Prix itself, saw the drivers giving it their all for P1 on soft tyres only – as per the regulations on this experimental weekend.
Mercedes may have taken nine of the last nine pole positions available at this track but Verstappen fired the first shot for Red Bull, topping Q1 by 0.035s ahead of Hamilton. But Hamilton bounced back in Q2, his time there nearly a half a second faster than Verstappen’s. That left the 90,000-strong crowd salivating for Q3 in the evening sunshine.
And in the final segment, Hamilton went fastest with his first effort – a 1m26.134s – for provisional P1. Could Verstappen respond this time? On his final run, Hamilton set two purple sectors but failed to improve with oversteer at Vale. The Dutchman, however, was slower in sector 2 and his third sector wasn’t good enough; the crowd went wild as he missed out on P1 by 0.075s at the flag, ensuring Hamilton took top spot.
FORMULA 1 PIRELLI BRITISH GRAND PRIX 2021
|1 Lewis HAMILTON Mercedes||1:26.134|
|2 Max VERSTAPPEN Red Bull Racing||1:26.209|
|3 Valtteri BOTTAS Mercedes||1:26.328|
|4 Charles LECLERC Ferrari||1:26.828|
|5 Sergio PEREZ Red Bull Racing||1:26.844|
Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas took third, 0.194s off the pace, while Sergio Perez lost his P4 time for a track limits infraction at Stowe and finished fifth overall, promoting Charles Leclerc to P4 for Ferrari.
McLaren’s pair Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo made it through to Q3 and were around seven-tenths off the leading pace, lining up sixth and seventh respectively.
George Russell, a stellar seventh in Q2 for a second-consecutive Q3 appearance, managed to qualify eighth overall for Williams with a sole flying lap, alone on track in the final segment, as his home crowd cheered his every move in an electric atmosphere at Silverstone. He beat Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz, who finished P9, and Sebastian Vettel – the four-time champion rounding out the top 10 for Aston Martin.
Surprise drops out in Q2 were AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly in P12 and both Alpines – Fernando Alonso losing out by a whisker to the McLaren of Norris as he starts P11 for Saturday’s first ever F1 Sprint.