Back on top! Lewis Hamilton goes quickest in qualifying at Silverstone to start first in Saturday’s new 30-minute Sprint Race… while title rival Max Verstappen is left asking ‘what is going on?’ after finishing second
- Lewis Hamilton proved he is still up for the fight as he came out top in qualifying
- Bernie Ecclestone said this week Hamilton is ‘no longer the fighter he once was’
- Max Verstappen, Hamilton’s title rival, came second but he was left frustrated
- Silverstone will host the first ever Sprint Race which determines race grid order
- George Russell once again impressed as he guided his Williams through to Q3
- READ: A 30-minute blitz with NO pit stops! All you need to know on The Sprint
Lewis Hamilton proved he is still up for the fight as he put in an impressive display to come out on top in Friday night’s qualifying session at Silverstone.
Qualifying typically determines the grid order for Sunday’s race but Silverstone is playing host to a first ever Sprint Race which will act in its place and so Friday’s billing was all about sorting out the grid for the new format on Saturday.
The 30-minute bonanza, as it has been billed here, is expected to provide a packed out Silverstone – around 100,000 expected – with plenty of action as there are world championship points available for the top three.
Lewis Hamilton produced an impressive drive in Friday’s qualifying session at Silverstone
Hamilton was roared on by a passionate home crowd and he edged out rival Max Verstappen
Hamilton was quick to praise the sell-out crowd and he will start first in Saturday’s Sprint Race
Hamilton, a seven-time champion, showed his emotions over the team radio after he was confirmed on pole for the Sprint as he praised a ‘cracking job’ from his Mercedes team.
Speaking after the session, he added: ‘We’ve been missing this for a whole year. I am so grateful to see everyone here. We’ve missed you! To have a full crowd like this, see the energy. Coming in to it I was hopeful so this is down to the fans I think.
‘We stayed focused on our job and I was in the simulator this morning using it as a practice session. Just putting in the time and trying to leave no stone unturned.
‘I could see the crowd and it was really reminiscent of my first pole here in 2007.’
BRITISH GP QUALIFYING RESULT
1. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 1 minute, 26.134 seconds.
2. Max Verstappen, Red Bull, 1:26.209
3. Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, 1:26.328
4. Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, 1:26.828
5. Sergio Perez, Red Bull, 1:26.844
6. Lando Norris, McLaren, 1:26.897
7. Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren, 1:26.899
8. George Russell, Williams, 1:26.971
9. Carlos Sainz Jr, Ferrari, 1:27.007
10. Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin, 1:27.179
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
16. Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri, 1:28.043
17. 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
Typically qualifying sorts pole position but Hamilton will need to perform in the new format
Meanwhile, title rival Max Verstappen, who was frustrated as he came in second, was left asking his Red Bull engineers where it was all going wrong.
The biggest cheer of the afternoon in Northamptonshire came when Williams’ George Russell made his way into Q3 with a mightily impressive lap. He finished eighth, with fellow Brit Lando Norris up in sixth in his McLaren.
Verstappen said: We just need to look at ourselves because I think the car is working quite well.
‘There was a lot of understeer so I couldn’t really attack the corners. I was waiting for the front to grip so it was a bit of a weird feeling to drive. It is what it is, we are still close.
‘You go flat out and it doesn’t really mean anything for pole position feeling so we’ll see tomorrow. We have a strong race car and I am quite confident still.’
There was a handshake between Hamilton and team-mate Valtteri Bottas, who finished third
Williams’ George Russell (left) got huge support as he raced his way into third qualifying