Lewis Hamilton became the first driver to record four successive pole positions in the British GP with a sensational qualifying performance, outpacing teammate and title rival Nico Rosberg.
The field for Sunday’s British Grand Prix was set by qualifying today at Silverstone. Lewis Hamilton took his Mercedes on pole, ahead of his teammate Valtteri Bottas. The top ten, as it stood before the first session, was: Hamilton, Bottas, Ricciardo, Verstappen, Vandoorne, Raikkonen, Vettel, Ocon, Sirotkin, and Perez.Viewers look back at the British Grand Prix, which will be broadcast live on Radio 5 Live and digitally on the Sport website on Sunday.
Lewis Hamilton thrilled 86,000 spectators at Silverstone by taking pole position for the sprint race at the new British Grand Prix on Saturday.
The Mercedes driver beat rival Max Verstappen (Red Bull) by 0.075 seconds to take first place in this weekend’s 17-lap race.
Third place went to Valtteri Bottas of Mercedes ahead of Charles Leclerc of Ferrari.
McLaren’s Lando Norris finished sixth and Williams’ George Russell put in an excellent performance in eighth.
It has been such a difficult time for everyone and finally we have all the fans together at the British Grand Prix and the desire to get a result for everyone is incredible, Hamilton said.
We watched the England game the other day, you can see the passion in England. It was a difficult time for everyone and I was hoping to contribute something positive. This is just the first step, but wow, what a great way to end the day.
Vintage Hamilton at Silverstone
Mercedes didn’t look as good as Red Bull initially, but looked their best in qualifying on Friday.
Hamilton set the decisive time on his first lap in the final qualifying session. He wanted to set a better time on the last lap, but he made the mistake of going wide in the penultimate corner, Vale, and lost time.
But although Verstappen improved his position on the final lap, it was not enough to outsmart Hamilton and the seven-time world champion left the crowd cheering.
This is already the biggest crowd for a UK sporting event since the start of the pandemic – and it will be even bigger this weekend when 140,000 people attend Sunday’s Grand Prix and temperatures are expected to be in the 30s.
It was a classic performance from Hamilton, helped by the Mercedes team’s first update since the Spanish Grand Prix in May, but it’s not another pole position to add to his total of 100 – officially, the driver who wins Saturday’s sprint is considered the pole position winner.
And it’s a significant change in form after Verstappen built up a 32-point lead in the championship with four wins in five races.
The crowd scanned Hamilton’s name as he gave interviews after the session and he enjoyed their admiration.
Hamilton said: We had missed it for years, I was a little speechless. I am so grateful to see everyone here. To come to Silverstone and have such an audience. You can feel the energy. I had hoped that we would finish here because of the good work we have done in the team and the energy of the fans. It depends on the fans.
The first lap went well and the second looked even better, but in the last corner I lost the rear and my heart was in my throat as I crossed the line.
Verstappen said: The car steered pretty well, but there was a lot of understeer, so I couldn’t attack the corners, I just waited for the front to grip. A strange feeling behind the wheel. I don’t think it has anything to do with the set-up or the front wing, we’re still pretty close so it’s good.
And the 23-year-old said the new format being tested this weekend – which will take place two more races over the course of the season – is a little strange.
You do qualifying, you drive full speed, and it doesn’t mean anything to the pole feeling, Verstappen said.
We have a strong race car, but we have to solve the problems we had in qualifying. I’m sure we can have a good race.
The winner of Saturday’s sprint gets three world championship points, second two and third one. Hamilton said he needed to win both this stage and the Grand Prix to close the gap to Verstappen in the championship.
Hamilton had the advantage of his teammate also being in the top three with him, while Verstappens partner Sergio Perez in the Red Bull finished only fifth ahead of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, another brilliant qualifying performance from the Monegasque driver.
What a day for local supporters
The Silverstone crowd cheered Hamilton on after he won the qualifying hour.
For the ever-enthusiastic Silverstone crowd, it was a day to celebrate the present and future of British motorsport at its highest level, as all three drivers finished in the top ten in their home race.
Norris beat his McLaren teammate Daniel Ricciardo to sixth place, a welcome return to form for the popular Australian, but Russell was the star of the session.
The stands cheered him loudly as he entered the top ten and knocked out two-time world champion Fernando Alonso.
And he did just that in the final practice session, outperforming Carlos Sainz’s second Ferrari and four-time champion Sebastian Vettel’s Aston Martin to finish eighth.
The crowd cheered for Russell as he began his lap, cheered for him as he crossed the line and set his time, the new superstar had clearly established himself in the hearts of the fans.
And his performance was a strong signal to Mercedes, who have not yet decided whether to pair Hamilton with Russell or Bottas next season.
Russell said: Unbelievable. Damon Hill [1996 World Champion] told me the crowd stays up for a second. I thought he was lying, but maybe he was right.
Incredible support and a great feeling, the second Q3 in a row with Williams. Right now we are riding this wave and seeing everything and everyone together. This is great. It’s the buzz, to be honest.
The performance gives Russell another chance to score his first points for Williams, after a late pass from Alonso earned him tenth place in Austria two weeks ago.
It’s only Friday, Russell says. We have a long way to go, but to reach Q3 in front of a home crowd is incredible. We have a real chance this weekend and we will use it.
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