Lewis Hamilton topped Formula 1 qualifying for the first time in two months at the British Grand Prix and will start Saturday’s sprint race from pole position alongside championship rival Max Verstappen.
Hamilton – not on pole position since the Spanish GP in May – was seven tenths adrift of Verstappen’s Red Bull in the sole practice session before qualifying, but he was within a tenth of his main title rival in the first part of qualifying.
In Q2, Hamilton was 0.292s faster than Verstappen and he was looking good to convert that into the fastest time in Q3 as he led the times after the first flying laps.
Hamilton was on course to better his time on his final lap of the session, but he got out of shape in the Vale chicane at the end of the lap and couldn’t improve his time.
However it didn’t matter as Verstappen was unable to beat Hamilton’s 1m26.134s with his final effort and the Mercedes driver claimed pole for the first ever sprint race on Saturday.
A dejected Verstappen, who made major set-up changes to his Red Bull prior to qualifying, was bewildered by the pace loss that saw him resigned to second place on the grid after a dominant practice display.
Hamilton’s team-mate Valtteri Bottas was third fastest ahead of Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari and the second Red Bull of Sergio Perez.
McLaren’s Lando Norris just pipped his team-mate Daniel Ricciardo, as the Australian delivered his strongest qualifying result since Barcelona, to sixth place on the grid.
Russell knocked two-time F1 champion Fernando Alonso, who denied Russell a first point for Williams last time out in Austria, out of Q2 with a stunning last-gasp effort.
Russell went seventh fastest for Williams, just one second shy of pacesetter Hamilton to earn his second successive Q3 appearance.
P7 for @GeorgeRussell63 👏
— Formula 1 (@F1) July 16, 2021
In Q3, Russell claimed eighth on the grid ahead of Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) and Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel, who had his first Q3 time deleted for track limits.
Alonso had to settle for 11th on the grid while the leading AlphaTauri of Pierre Gasly failed to reach Q3 for only the second time this season in 12th place.
Alonso’s Alpine team-mate Esteban Ocon has a new chassis and several component changes this weekend, and he qualified with a tenth of Alonso in 13th, one place ahead of the Alfa Romeo of Antonio Giovinazzi.
Unable to cure his confidence woes from practice, Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll was the slowest of the 15 drivers in Q2.
AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda was denied a place in Q2 by Stroll by a slender margin of 0.026s – it marks his fifth Q1 exit in the first 10 races of his maiden F1 campaign.
Kimi Raikkonen was dumped out of the Q1 for the fourth consecutive weekend in 17th place, ahead of second Williams of Nicholas Latifi.
F1 rookie Mick Schumacher continued his qualifying whitewash of Haas team-mate Nikita Mazepin by beating the Russian driver by three tenths to qualify in 19th place.