Home crowd favourite Hamilton in P1 in Friday qualifying

The British Grand Prix home crowd favourite Lewis Hamilton will start Formula 1’s first sprint qualifying race from first position ahead of title rival Max Verstappen.

The Mercedes driver led the pack after the first runs in Q3 with a one minute, 26.134 seconds, with Verstappen – who had commandingly led the sole practice session on Friday – trailing and unhappy with his Red Bull understeering around Silverstone.

On the final runs, Hamilton looked set to improve the fastest time with purple sectors in the opening two thirds of the lap, but a lurid slide exiting the first part of the final sequence of Turns at Club cost him, and he did not go quicker.

But although Verstappen cut the gap to his title rival to 0.075-seconds from 0.172 seconds after the first runs, the championship leader ended up second – to the delight of the packed Silverstone crowd.

Valtteri Bottas took third, with Charles Leclerc fourth after Sergio Perez lost his best and final lap in Q3 for running too wide out of Stowe, which shuffled the Red Bull driver behind the Ferrari.

Lando Norris pipped Daniel Ricciardo to sixth, reversing the order between the McLaren teammates through Q1 and Q2.

George Russell ran an offset Q3 programme after sensationally making it through to the final segment, running solo with over four minutes on his sole run in the third part of qualifying.

His one minute, 26.971 seconds was cheered all the way around by his home fans, with that time putting him ahead of 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.

In Q2, Russell’s lap jump to reach Q3 for the second race in a row knocked out Alonso, as Norris also slotted in just ahead of the Alpine driver late on and left him P11.

Pierre Gasly took 12th ahead of Esteban Ocon, who was the only eliminated 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 P12, as he finished Q2 in P14 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.

In Q1, Yuki Tsunoda could not set a personal best time on his final lap in the opening segment as he wound up P16 and eliminated in the second AlphaTauri.

Kimi Raikkonen and Nicholas Latifi did set their best times on their last laps but could not find enough time for Alfa Romeo and Williams respectively, as they ended up P17 and P18.

The Haas pair took the final two places, with Mick Schumacher leading Nikita Mazepin, who half-spun late-on in Q1 after losing the rear of his car putting the power down exiting Turn 3, Village.

All the running on Friday night took place on the soft tyres – per the rules of the sprint qualifying race weekend format – with no need to take the rubber used in Q2 to start the British Grand Prix on Sunday.

All teams will therefore be free to pick the tyres they want to start on for both the sprint qualifying race and the main race.

Qualifying times, British Grand Prix:
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:26.134
2 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda 1:26.209
3 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:26.328
4 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:26.828
5 Sergio Perez Red Bull-Honda 1:26.844
6 Lando Norris McLaren-Mercedes 1:26.897
7 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren-Mercedes 1:26.899
8 George Russell Williams-Mercedes 1:26.971
9 Carlos Sainz Jr. Ferrari 1:27.007
10 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin-Mercedes 1:27.179
11 Fernando Alonso Alpine-Renault 1:27.245
12 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri-Honda 1:27.273
13 Esteban Ocon Alpine-Renaul 1:27.340
14 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1:27.617
15 Lance Stroll Aston Martin-Mercedes 1:27.665
16 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri-Honda 1:28.043
17 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1:28.062
18 Nicholas Latifi Williams-Mercedes 1:28.254
19 Mick Schumacher Haas-Ferrari 1:28.738
20 Nikita Mazepin Haas-Ferrari 1:29.051

5 thoughts to “Home crowd favourite Hamilton in P1 in Friday qualifying”

  1. Friday qualifying review as reported by Formula1.com.

    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.

    READ MORE: Verstappen says his Red Bull ‘felt weird’ as he misses out on P1 for Sprint – but vows to bounce back

    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.

    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.

    Q1 – Hamilton a whisker behind Verstappen as Tsunoda and Raikkonen miss out

    A sold-out crowd – only the minority clad in orange for Max Verstappen this time around after the last race in Austria – roared the drivers along under the waning sun at Silverstone in this unusual Friday session. Yet it was the Red Bull championship leader who topped the timesheets in the opening segment with a benchmark time of 1m26.751s. As per the F1 Sprint weekend rules, only soft tyres were available in all three segments of qualifying today.

    Lewis Hamilton made a late dash for P1 but could only finish 0.035s behind Verstappen, in second, with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc shrugging off a shake of the tail at the final corner to take third in this session for Ferrari ahead of Sergio Perez.

    The Aston Martins of Lance Stroll and Sebastian Vettel found themselves in the drop zone, behind Williams’ George Russell, as the session neared its end. They made it out of Q1, however, with AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda ultimately missing out on Q2 for the fifth time this season – this time by 0.026s to Stroll in P15.

    Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen, 17th, was out in Q1 for the fourth-consecutive round ahead of Williams’ Nicholas Latifi, and both Haas racers, Mick Schumacher one place ahead of Nikita Mazepin.

    Knocked out: Tsunoda, Raikkonen, Latifi, Schumacher and Mazepin.

    Q2 – Hamilton bounces back while Gasly and the Alpines get knocked out

    With the sun setting and temperatures dropping, the drivers wasted no time to begin the second time-attack at Silverstone. And the laps came thick and fast in Q2 with Hamilton briefly owning the P1 spot– until Verstappen immediately responded with a lap of 1m26.504s to eclipse his rival by 0.098s.

    Game on. Behind the title protagonists were the Mercedes of Bottas in third and the other Red Bull of Perez in fourth.

    Fernando Alonso’s first flying lap wasn’t ideal, while team mate Esteban Ocon seemed far more comfortable having received a new chassis and MGU-K for this weekend.

    Antonio Giovinazzi, gearing up for his 50th Grand Prix start, was slowest after his first effort with a mistake at Turn 9. Aston Martin’s Stroll, Alonso, Russell and AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly were at risk of exiting Q2 as the timer ticked away.

    As for Ferrari, their talisman Leclerc was clamouring for a slipstream after he took P8 with his opening tour, team mate Carlos Sainz in seventh, until late improvements put them fourth and fifth.

    With the shadows looming menacingly, the black Mercedes of Bottas, and then Hamilton, emerged first; Leclerc following Sainz out; and then a flurry of challengers to follow – with McLaren’s Ricciardo out last.

    Hamilton’s first sector heralded an improvement of two-tenths over his personal best and it was clear that Red Bulls weren’t so comfortable. The Briton delivered, improving to 1m26.023s and going 0.292s faster than Verstappen for P1.

    The biggest cheer, however, was reserved for Williams’ Russell, who made it to P7 in Q2 with a stunning effort – a second off Hamilton – giving Williams a consecutive Q3 appearance for the first time since 2017.

    The McLarens scraped through, Ricciardo in ninth to end a three-race Q3 drought, and Lando Norris 10th. That left both Alpines out in Q2, as well as AlphaTauri’s Gasly who failed to reach Q3 for only the second time in 13 races.

    Knocked out: Alonso, Gasly, Ocon, Giovinazzi and Stroll.

    Q3 – Hamilton and Verstappen go toe-to-toe in a nailbiting session after Russell’s heroics

    Fired up, and seemingly rejuvenated after his Q2 triumph, Hamilton was determined not to give his rival Verstappen a tow in the final segment. Sainz led the drivers out for the top-10 shootout, with Hamilton, then Verstappen at the rear.

    A Euro-2020-esque cheer went out as Hamilton set the benchmark time – while Verstappen said: “I just don’t get what’s going on,” complaining of understeer – as the Mercedes was 0.172s ahead of the Red Bull on the leaderboard.

    Sitting third early on was Bottas, while Perez was fourth – fending off the challenge of the McLaren pair – after the first laps were laid down. Ferrari’s Sainz and Aston Martin’s Vettel struggled to set representative times, however, and were in eighth and ninth. Cue a short lull in the action…

    …Which was then interrupted by the resplendent Williams of Russell – alone on the track – who revelled in his second Q3 appearance for Williams to set a brilliant lap of 1m26.971s as the hordes of British fans cheered him on, that time provisionally setting him seventh.

    As Russell finished his lap, Hamilton emerged for his final run with the chequered flag looming and lit up the first two sectors in purple. But then, at Vale, the back end of his W12 stepped out. He saved the car, but his lap was ruined. The benchmark for Verstappen was 1m26.134s.

    The crowd’s roar was silenced in a shroud of suspense as the Dutchman, having previously complained of understeer, set a personal-best first sector. His second, however, wasn’t so solid, and while he rallied in the final corners, his ultimate time was 0.075s off the pace. Hamilton made history once again: for the first ever F1 Sprint, he will start first on the grid.

    Bottas ensured Mercedes would have both cars primed to pincer Verstappen for the start of the Sprint as he qualified third ahead of Ferrari’s rapid Leclerc, while Perez missed out on P4 and a second-row start for Red Bull with his time chalked off for a track limits infringement at Stowe.

    McLaren lined-up sixth and seventh, Norris ahead of Ricciardo, while Russell’s sole lap time will see him start eighth for the Sprint. Ferrari’s Sainz struggled in Q3 and will start ninth, ahead of Aston’s four-time champion Vettel in P10. Crucially, however, those who made it to Q3 will not be consigned to starting on the tyres on which they set their Q2 times.

    The crowd will return tomorrow to witness a momentous day at Silverstone as the first-ever F1 Sprint beckons. Join us for live coverage and up-to-date reaction for FP2 and Sprint on Saturday.

  2. Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton helped by unprecedented Formula 1 sim session on Friday. Motorsport.com has the details.

    Lewis Hamilton has revealed that an unprecedented Friday morning sim session helped put him on his way to sprint race pole at Formula 1’s British Grand Prix.

    The Mercedes driver had appeared to be on the backfoot against title rival Max Verstappen after the Red Bull ace dominated first free practice.

    But Hamilton delivered when it mattered in the afternoon qualifying session, as Verstappen was left struggling with some unexpected understeer. The seven-time champion edged out the current points leader by 0.075 seconds.

    Reflecting on his performance, Hamilton said he had elected to make the most of F1’s late start to Friday action by having a last-minute run in the nearby Mercedes simulator before track action began.

    “We had this morning free and I was like, ‘look, let’s not sit around and waste time. Let’s get to it’,” he explained.

    “So we did a practice session this morning in there.

    “We are just trying to develop it [the car], trying to give the guys as much information as possible so as we’re developing the car, we’re squeezing absolutely every ounce of performance we’re missing. But it was holding together today, so I’m over the moon.”

    Hamilton said Mercedes had focused on its own long-run programme in the morning session rather than chasing headline laptimes like Red Bull.

    And although his final Q3 effort was derailed by a slide on the entrance to the Club sequence, Hamilton’s first run was enough to take the top slot.

    “I don’t know what they were doing in there,” he said. “They were very quick obviously in that practice session, but we were just staying focused on our job and trying to layer up.

    “I was in the sim this morning, just to use it as a practice session, because it is the first time we’ve ever had a morning free. I just put in the time, just trying to give absolutely everything and leave no stone unturned.

    “So that first lap was great. The second one was looking even better, but I just lost the back end in the last corner so my heart was in my mouth as I came across the line.

    “But I could see the crowd and it was really reminiscent of my first pole here in 2007.”

    Hamilton’s top time from the Friday session will give him the top spot for F1’s first sprint qualifying event, which will decide the grid for Sunday’s main event.

  3. Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen hampered by “weird feeling” with Formula 1 car in qualifying. Motorsport.com has the news story.

    Max Verstappen has said “a weird feeling” and struggling with understeer with his Red Bull Formula 1 car hampered his efforts in qualifying at the British Grand Prix.

    After topping practice by seven tenths of a second on Friday afternoon at Silverstone, the Red Bull driver topped Q1 by just 0.035s from Lewis Hamilton before being reeled in by his F1 world title rival over the final two segments of qualifying.

    Hamilton went on to claim top spot for F1’s first sprint qualifying race ahead of Verstappen by 0.075s.

    Having come into the British GP off the back of three consecutive wins and pole positions, the Dutch driver conceded he was unable to “really attack any corners” during qualifying but wasn’t what was the cause as he had to settle for second place.

    “We just need to look at ourselves because I think the car itself is actually handling quite well. But I had a lot of understeer so I couldn’t really attack any corners,” Verstappen said.

    “I was just waiting for the front to grip up and a bit of a weird feeling, to be honest, to drive, because I don’t think it was set-up or front wing related. It is what it is. We were still quite close so it’s alright.”

    Verstappen has stayed optimistic over his race pace despite losing out to Hamilton in the traditional qualifying format and feels if Red Bull can resolve the problem he will be able to fight back on in the inaugural sprint qualifying race – a sprint event that will cover 17 laps of Silverstone to decide the final grid for this year’s British GP.

    “It’s a bit of a weird feeling, to be honest,” he said. “You do qualifying, you go flat out and actually it doesn’t really mean anything in terms of pole position feeling, so we’ll see tomorrow.

    “I think we have a strong race car. We just need to fix a bit the issues we had in qualifying, but I’m quite confident that you know that we can have a strong race.”

    Verstappen will be able to trial tweaks to his Red Bull car in the 60-minute final practice on Saturday, which takes place before the sprint qualifying race later in the afternoon.

  4. This was the best qualifying performance by George Russell with P8. The Williams driver explains how he made a “massive step” to reach Q3. Motorsport.com provides the full story.

    George Russell has explained the factors that led to his “massive step” during Formula 1’s 2021 British Grand Prix Friday qualifying Q2, which led to a second successive Q3 berth.

    Russell qualified eighth for F1’s first sprint qualifying race – the results of which will set the grid for Sunday’s grand prix – his best against-the-clock result for Williams after he qualified ninth last time out in Austria.

    He had made it through Q1 to continue his streak of escaping the opening segment at every race so far in 2021 but at that stage in proceedings was only ahead of Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll in 14th.

    But a gain of 0.441 seconds on his sole run in Q2 to set a 1m27.080s got Russell through to Q3, where his single flying lap ended with a time of 1m26.971s and the Briton beating Carlos Sainz and Sebastian Vettel.

    Speaking to reporters – including Motorsport.com – in the Silverstone paddock after Friday qualifying, Russell noted that “it’s not the first time I’ve noticed that I improve probably more than I should during a session”.

    He added: “I think I just like to get an understanding of what the car is doing before then fully knowing how to extract the maximum from it.

    “And I guess if you’re in a top car that’s going to sail through to Q2/Q3 that’s exactly the strategy you want.

    “But it was really coming towards us. My first lap in Q2 was fine, but nothing great. And then the second lap I made a massive step.”

    When asked if that improvement had been down to his efforts alone, Russell outlined a combination of factors that secured his result.

    “[It was] everything,” he explained. “Getting the tyres in a better window, exactly knowing what we needed to aim for on the out lap, me driving a bit better, very good position with a small slipstream from [Fernando] Alonso ahead.

    “And all these things paid in our favour.”

    Russell had ended the opening practice session last, feeling “lost” and “lacking confidence”, and losing his best time to running wide at Copse.

    But the 23-year-old said he and Williams pinned their hopes on the changing conditions for a much later qualifying session that usual at Silverstone providing an additional boost for car handling.

    “We had a bit of a decision to make after [practice],” said Russell. “Whether we try and improve the car and turn it upside down, or we just stick to our guns and hope the track comes towards us.

    “And that’s what we did – we stuck to our guns and the track did just come towards us, the tyres came towards us – everything got in a much nicer window.

    “I just felt so confident and comfortable out there, which allows me to get that extra tenth or two.”

  5. Mercedes has offered a first glimpse of the updates that it hopes will move it closer to Red Bull in the fight for Formula 1 glory at the British Grand Prix.

    With the German car manufacturer having not won since the Spanish Grand Prix back in May, it is keeping its fingers crossed that the developments will bring it a much-needed performance step.

    For while main rival Red Bull has unleashed an aggressive aero upgrade programme on a race-by-race basis, Mercedes has instead been more conservative with its changes.

    So far it had only made small adjustments to its floor and diffuser as part of a rectification programme, with a larger update package seemingly always their preferred route rather than trickling through smaller tweaks.

    The team had openly spoken about a potential final development arriving at Silverstone, with the new designs spotted in the pitlane ahead of the British GP.

    Rather than being visually dramatic, the changes are more nuanced – but could still play a role in helping better manage airflow.

    The bargeboards and sidepod deflectors have been fettled in order that they work together more harmoniously, with the boomerang winglet now split into several layers.

    The skyscraper deflector at the front has been cut down and the slats extended forward in order to coerce the airflow earlier than before, a design choice that we’ve seen many others take as they have optimised the area.

    The two ‘r’ shaped vanes at the base of the sidepod deflector array have been joined by a third, longer vane that sits beneath the main skyscraper deflector. This has also been disconnected from the sidepod wing, much like we see elsewhere up and down the grid, with the horizontal wing turned upward at its tip to invoke a specific flow structure.

    In keeping with these alterations, the design team has also optimised the area just behind, as four outwardly angled fins can now be found mounted between the edge of the floor and the sidepod.

    Furthermore the ‘wavy’ floor edge has been reduced to just a single kink with the flap mounted behind converted into a two-piece arrangement.

    Mercedes drivers both welcomed the efforts by Mercedes to improve its W12, but were not getting too carried in expecting a dramatic change in fortunes.

    Lewis Hamilton said: “There’s a lot of changes on the car but it’s not a massive update in terms of the gap [to Red Bull] that we’ve seen in the races, but it definitely helps us in terms of closing that gap quickly.”

    Asked about what sort of lap time gain the team was hoping from the changes, Valtteri Bottas said: “I can’t put a direct number. It is nothing huge, it’s nothing small. But we’ll see, obviously already on Friday, when we find out how fast the cars are on a single lap.”

    Source: Motorsport.com

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