Hamilton edges to pole in qualifying for F1 Sprint at the British GP

All three English drivers make it to the third round of qualifying at the British GP
Hamilton takes pole for the F1 Sprint qualifying race of British GP
Hamilton takes pole for the F1 Sprint qualifying race of British GP Mercedes

The qualifying round of the F1 British GP has attracted a lot of attention. Due to the new experimental weekend, the qualifying round happened on a Friday rather than a Saturday and it won’t be setting the grid for the Sunday race. Rather the results of this round will be used to set the grid of the F1 Sprint race which takes place today.

Pole-sitter for the F1 Sprint is Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes-AMG F1), followed by Max Verstappen (Red Bull Racing) and Vatteri Bottas (Mercedes-AMG F1). The Brit took an emotional qualifying pole in front of his home crowd and nearly lost his voice while cheering in enthusiasm. Speaking of the British crowd, Lando Norris (McLaren Racing) and George Russell (Williams Racing) also managed to bring their cars into Q3 and got the crowd up on their feet. Lando and Russell will start P6 and P8 respectively for the F1 Sprint Race.

Highlights of the Qualifying Round :

  • All three British drivers (Hamilton, Lando and Russell) made it to Q3

  • Alpine hits a barrier on raw race pace and both the drivers get eliminated at Q2

  • Russell broke into Q3 for the second time this season and finished ahead of a Ferrari and Aston Martin at P8

  • The result from the qualifying session will decide the grid for the F1 Sprint race happening today at 9pm IST

  • Only soft tyres were allowed to be used during this session. FIA will give the teams a free choice on tyre compounds for the start of F1 Sprint.

Cars sped through the iconic corners of Silverstone in front of sold-out crowd
Cars sped through the iconic corners of Silverstone in front of sold-out crowdRed Bull

The Breakdown

Qualifying Round 1

It was a full house at Silverstone on Friday afternoon. Due to the reduction of practice sessions, the teams could not set the car to their and their drivers’ requirements. Alpine’s Fernando Alonso was not happy with the setting of the car as it over-steered at random places. George Russell struggled throughout free practice with the setting of the car and was taking time to dial in. Daniel Ricciardo, on the other hand, seemed to find the right comfort and setup with his car after nine races. He finished above his teammate Lando Norris and showcased strong pace with the car. At the front of the grid, Sergio Perez displayed competitive speed from the beginning of the free practice session and so was Max. The Red Bull car in general, was showing good pace in the second and the final sectors of the track.

Yuki Tsunoda (Alpha Tauri), Kimi Raikkonen (Alfa Romeo), Nicholas Latifi (Williams), Mick Schumacher (Haas) and Nikita Mazepin (Haas) were knocked out at the end of Q3.

Mercedes and Red Bull were neck and neck with their qualifying pace
Mercedes and Red Bull were neck and neck with their qualifying paceRed Bull

Qualifying Round 2

Lewis Hamilton struggled with his W12 E-Performance Mercedes car on his first attempt at a lap time. His car’s front end felt sluggish and slow through the demanding turns of Silverstone. Despite that, he showed competitive pace and Max could not outrun the Mercedes with ease. This got the crowd on their toes. Vettel on the other hand was hooked with the Aston Martin. He outclassed his Canadian teammate with a huge time gap. Lance was seemingly struggling with the car since free practice. Aston Martin tried a few different differential settings on his car but nothing seemed to work for Lance. Speaking of over performing teammates, Carlos Sainz was matching Charles pound for pound in qualifying pace. Their sector times were close to identical and it was great to see the Ferrari pair work harmoniously. George Russell also performed exceptionally on his home turf. With the power of the Mercedes engine in his Williams and the cheers of the crowds, Russell managed to get Williams into the third round of qualifying for the second time this season. This shows yet again why George Russell is called Mr. Saturday or in this case, Mr. Friday.

Fernando Alonso (Alpine), Pierre Gasly (Alpha Tauri), Esteban Ocon (Alpine), Antonio Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo) and Lance Stroll (Aston Martin) were shown the doors at the end of Q2.

Max battled with understeer in the RB16B
Max battled with understeer in the RB16BRed Bull

Qualifying Round 3

Daniel Ricciardo matched the qualifying pace of his consistent teammate after a difficult few weekends. The power of the Mercedes engine was really helping the McLaren chassis through the first power hungry sector of Silverstone. Hamilton and Verstappen felt the pressure from each other as the two drivers were milliseconds apart from the other in lap times. Both the drivers lit up their rear ends coming out of corners in the final sector and almost screwed up their lap timings. George was also on the push with Williams. He ringed the neck of his car and set a blistering 1:26:971 minutes (mm:ss:ms). The crowd burst with cheer as George came in P8, ahead of a Ferrari and an Aston Martin. Norris and Danny Ric finished ahead of the Williams car at P6 and P7 respectively. Max Verstappen was denied pole by seven hundredth of a second and Mercedes kept the record of achieving nine poles in the last nine laps at the Silverstone.

Lewis thanked the British crowd for the enthusiasm displayed
Lewis thanked the British crowd for the enthusiasm displayedMercedes

The grid for the race on Sunday will be decided by the 100km sprint qualifying session (F1 Sprint) held today at 9pm IST. One of the advantages of the experimental weekend is that we are getting to enjoy action on all the three days of a Formula One weekend. The next experimental weekend is planned for the Italian Grand Prix at Monza, but the official verdict is yet to be released. To not miss any action, Formula One sessions can be viewed at Star Sports Select HD, Hotstar and F1 TV.

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