British GP Qualifying: Lewis Hamilton beats Max Verstappen to head … Fri, 16 Jul 2021 13:00:00 +0100-Lewis Hamilton will start at the front of the grid for Saturday's historic first Formula One sprint qualifying race, which will decide pole for the British Grand Prix on …
Lewis Hamilton made sure his last-minute efforts made the difference to ensure he will start at the front of the grid for Formula One’s historic first sprint qualifying race at the British Grand Prix. The Mercedes driver beat Max Verstappen’s Red Bull into second place and his teammate Valtteri Bottas into third in qualifying at Silverstone.
With the qualifying session held on Friday evening, Hamilton put in a superb run to take top spot for the sprint race which will decide pole position for Sunday’s grand prix. Hamilton has not been on top of qualifying since the Spanish GP, since which Red Bull have taken five consecutive wins. On finally turning the tables at his home race he and his team were ecstatic. He was effusive in his praise for the huge, enthusiastic crowd at Silverstone who as always roared their approval at his success.
“We have been missing this for a whole year, I am so grateful to see everyone here,” he said. “To come to Silverstone and have a full crowd like this, you can see the energy and when I was coming into it I was hopeful that the work we have done as a team plus the energy of the fans would get us there. This is down to the fans.”
Red Bull appeared to have the quicker car in first practice but when it mattered Hamilton had the edge. He had, it transpired, even returned to the Mercedes headquarters on Friday morning, searching for every tiny margin even on the morning of qualifying.
“I was on the simulator this morning just using it as a practice session,” he said. “Because it was the first time we have ever had a morning free. Just putting in the time trying to give absolutely everything and leave no stone unturned. I have been trying to give the guys as much information as possible so we can develop the car. We are squeezing every ounce of performance from this thing.”
The qualifying session was run exactly as it would have been on a traditional weekend with three sessions and five drivers eliminated at the close of the first two, before the final top-10 shootout. Hamilton delivered a dominant run, nailing the fast sweeping turns of the old airfield, where Mercedes had expected to be at their strongest, as they have been in the past.
Hamilton went out first on his opening hot run and was quick in the first and third sectors to set a time of 1min 26.134sec. Verstappen was hot on his heels but could not quite match him almost two-tenths back. It was nip and tuck between them with Verstappen unhappy at how quickly his tyres were coming up to temperature and suffering from understeer.
On his second run Hamilton was once more mighty through sector one and two but briefly lost his rear at the final corner, losing tenths as he held the car through a slide. It cost him what had looked like an even better lap but he had done enough. Verstappen went quicker yet could not match Hamilton’s first time but was only seven hundredths back. The home crowd roared as Hamilton immediately ran to salute their praise after climbing from his car.
With F1 experimenting with a new format for the race weekend, this was new territory for everyone involved. Qualifying took place after just one practice session on Friday afternoon and ran instead of second practice. The intention is to offer more entertainment over the weekend and potentially create a more mixed-up grid for Sunday’s race.
The result will not be recorded as a pole position in the record books, with that honour remaining to be claimed by the winner of the sprint race on Saturday. Unlike in regular qualifying the teams had to run with the softest tyre compound throughout, removing any strategic tyre selection and allowing all the drivers to push as hard as possible.
The serious business remains however. After a final practice session on Saturday at noon, the sprint race is scheduled for 4.30pm. It will not only decide the grid for Sunday’s race – world championship points will also be awarded: three, two and one for the top three finishers. Verstappen currently leads Hamilton by 32 points in the title race and Red Bull, who have won the last five races, have a 44-point advantage over Mercedes in the constructors’ championship.
The sprint, as F1 have named it, will take place over 100km, which is approximately one-third the distance of a grand prix. It will run for at least the number of laps required to exceed 100km – at Silverstone this should amount to 17 laps. Teams are not required to make pit-stops and can choose any tyres they like, encouraging a flat-out blast to the flag.
There will be no podium ceremony afterwards and it will not count statistically as a race win but the top three drivers will do a victory lap of the circuit and, in a nod to F1’s heritage, be presented with laurel wreaths to mark their achievement.
George Russell was once more superb over the single lap making Q3 for the second consecutive race and taking eighth for Williams, cheered to the rafters at ever moment of his final lap. Charles Leclerc was in fourth with his Ferrari teammate Carlos Sainz in ninth. Sergio Pérez was fifth for Red Bull. Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo were in sixth and seventh for McLaren, with Sebastian Vettel in 10th for Aston Martin.
Fernando Alonso was in 11th for Alpine with his teammate Esteban Ocon in 13th. Pierre Gasly was in 12th for AlphaTauri with Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi in 14th and Lance Stroll in 15th for Aston Martin. Yuki Tsunoda was in 16th for AlphaTauri, Kimi Raikkonen in 17th for Alfa Romeo and Nicholas Latifi in 18th for Williams. Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin were in 19th and 20th for Haas.
Lewis Hamilton at front of grid for F1's historic first sprint qualifying race Fri, 16 Jul 2021 13:00:00 +0100-Lewis Hamilton wrestled back some much-needed momentum from Max Verstappen by beating his rival in qualifying for the British GP, which will see the home …
Lewis Hamilton wrestled back some much-needed momentum from Max Verstappen by beating his rival in qualifying for the British GP, which will see the home favourite head the field for Saturday's maiden F1 Sprint.
In an epic and unique Friday evening qualifying session that sets the grid for the short Saturday race – rather than Sunday's showpiece Grand Prix – Hamilton delighted the packed grandstands with a customary Silverstone display, outqualifying Verstappen by 0.075seconds despite a last-lap error.
“That was an important statement,” bellowed Martin Brundle, with Hamilton having slipped 32 points behind Verstappen in the championship.
“This is down to the fans,” said a clearly moved Hamilton in front of 90,000 spectators.
“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.”
While Hamilton is not credited with an eighth Silverstone pole – with that honour awarded for the winner of Saturday's Sprint – he stopped Verstappen's three-race streak of qualifying victories, and has put himself in the perfect position to land more blows to Red Bull, winners of the last five races, over a bumper weekend.
The debut 17-lap F1 Sprint – live on Sky Sports F1 from 4.30pm on Saturday – will set the grid for Sunday's British GP.
|Date and show||On Air||Session start|
|Saturday, July 17|
|Sunday, July 18|
|The British GP||1.30pm||3pm|
Valtteri Bottas qualified third and just a tenth off Verstappen in the other Mercedes, who have hit back at Red Bull with their upgraded package.
Perhaps critically, Sergio Perez could only manage fifth for Red Bull after having his last lap deleted for track limits, with an in-form Charles Leclerc instead taking a second-row start for the F1 Sprint.
Hamilton, meanwhile, was by no means not the only British driver to shine at Silverstone.
McLaren's Lando Norris, after a incredibly difficult week, qualified sixth while George Russell was arguably the star of the show as he nailed his best-ever qualifying result, an astonishing eighth in the Williams.
Russell, a Mercedes junior, had the adoring home fans on their feet as he got through to Q3 for the second straight race, and did so again when outpacing Carlos Sainz and Sebastian Vettel in the final shootout.
British GP Qualifying: Top 10
1) Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes2) Max Verstappen, Red Bull3) Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes4) Charles Leclerc, Ferrari5) Sergio Perez, Red Bull6) Lando Norris, McLaren7) Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren8) George Russell, Williams9) Carlos Sainz, Ferrari
10) Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin
Arise, Sir Lewis: Hamilton delights home Silverstone crowd
Returning to an iconic Silverstone circuit filled with fans for the first time in two years, Hamilton more than played up to his home crowd.
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.
Just behind Verstappen in Q1 but then edging ahead in Q2, Hamilton saved his best for Q3.
He held a 0.172s advantage over his title rival after the first laps and then was on an even faster effort before running slightly wide through the closing corners. That, as Hamilton explained, led to a nervy final seconds as Verstappen, behind him on track, finished his last lap.
But Verstappen, flustered for the first time in a long while as he struggled with car setup, could not match him – and Hamilton and Mercedes now look a fierce force for the rest of the British GP weekend.
Red Bull, meanwhile, have work to do – but at least have Verstappen on the front row in the F1 Sprint, which leaves teams and drivers with intriguing decisions.
The 17-lap race could be the ultimate case of risk versus reward, 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.
Hamilton was sure of his mentality.
“I need to bring out the lion and give it everything,” he said.
|1) Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||1:26.134|
|2) Max Verstappen||Red Bull||+0.075|
|3) Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes||+0.194|
|4) Charles Leclerc||Ferrari||+0.694|
|5) Sergio Perez||Red Bull||+0.710|
|6) Lando Norris||McLaren||+0.763|
|7) Daniel Ricciardo||McLaren||+0.765|
|8) George Russell||Williams||+0.837|
|9) Carlos Sainz||Ferrari||+0.873|
|10) Sebastian Vettel||Aston Martin||+1.045|
|Knocked out in Q2|
|11) Fernando Alonso||Alpine||1:27.245|
|12) Pierre Gasly||AlphaTauri||1:27.273|
|13) Esteban Ocon||Alpine||1:27.340|
|14) Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo||1:27.617|
|15) Lance Stroll||Aston Martin||1:27.665|
|Knocked out in Q1|
|7) Yuki Tsunoda||AlphaTauri||1:28.043|
|16) Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo||1:28.062|
|18) Nicholas Latifi||Williams||1:28.254|
|19) Mick Schumacher||Haas||1:28.738|
|20) Nikita Mazepin||Haas||1:29.051|
What is F1 Sprint, when is it and what are the rules?
Debuting at Silverstone, F1 Sprint is effectively a mini race run over 100km (300km is the usual GP distance) on Saturday afternoon, one day ahead of the Grand Prix.
Short, fast and without the strategic intricacies of Sunday's big race, F1 Sprint is, as its name suggests, designed to be a flat-out sprint for drivers from start to finish. No pit stops are expected.
The first edition of F1 Sprint will take place on Saturday afternoon at 4.30pm.
The 20 drivers start in the order they qualified on Friday evening, and their finishing positions 100km later will be the positions they line up in for the start of Sunday's Grand Prix.
If you win, you are starting Sunday's race from pole position; if you are 10th, you start in that same spot one day later, while if you hit technical trouble or crash out, you will be at the back and left with it all to do.
The 100km distance will work out to be 17 laps of the 3.7-mile Silverstone circuit.
The Saturday sprint is therefore expected to last 25-30 minutes, with the condensed and stripped-down nature of the racing action designed to be part of the appeal to spectators and TV viewers.
Limited points are on offer – three for first place; two for second; one for third – but every place counts through the field as the finishing order will set the 1-20 grid for the usual Grand Prix on Sunday.
When's the Grand Prix?
It'll be the same British Grand Prix that you know and love on Sunday afternoon.
Fifty-two laps of Silverstone, with lights out this year at 3pm. Sky F1 build-up starts at 1.30pm.
The usual points apply for race day, that's 25 for the victory (and a maximum of 26 if the winner nabs the fastest lap too) down to one point for 10th place.
The only difference is that drivers who start in the top 10 are not locked into starting on the tyre they set their best time in Q2 on. Everyone therefore has a free choice throughout the race, although the usual two-compound rules apply in a dry race which guarantees at least one pit stop per car.
No changes otherwise.
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– July 16, 2021
F1 Lewis Hamilton at front of grid for historic first sprint qualifying race
f1 qualifying, Formula 1