Formula 1

Verstappen denies Norris British GP pole, Perez out in Q1

by Ben Anderson
4 min read

Max Verstappen claimed a fifth consecutive pole position in Formula 1 in qualifying for the British Grand Prix, as Lando Norris beat the Ferraris and Mercedes to make the front row of the grid for McLaren.

McLaren has endured a difficult start to 2023, but improved significantly since upgrading the car for the previous race in Austria – and both drivers were seriously competitive throughout qualifying at Silverstone.

Norris was fastest in Q1 and the McLarens were 2-3 behind Verstappen in Q2 (with Oscar Piastri ahead).

Verstappen – who had clobbered the pit wall in Q1 and broken his front wing, albeit without it substantially impacting his session – was the only driver to have two new sets of soft tyres available for Q3 so unsurprisingly claimed provisional pole (by seven tenths) after the first runs.

Norris briefly took pole on his only new-tyre run, narrowly beating Verstappen’s original benchmark time, but Verstappen found almost three tenths on his own final run to take top spot back.

Norris still made the front row, just 0.241s behind the Red Bull – with Piastri 0.131s further back in third, suggesting McLaren has made real progress after handing the Australian the same aero spec Norris used in Austria.

The Ferraris of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz were fourth and fifth, separated by only 0.012s and less than a tenth away from Piastri in what was an incredibly close fight to be best of the rest.

George Russell headed Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton to complete the top six. Russell was just 0.007s behind Sainz and less than a tenth faster than Hamilton.

Alex Albon’s Williams, which was top-three fast throughout practice, qualified eighth, three tenths adrift of the Mercedes but a tenth ahead of Fernando Alonso’s Aston Martin, while Pierre Gasly’s Alpine completed the top 10, just three hundredths of a second behind Alonso.

Nico Hulkenberg missed out on a fourth consecutive Q3 appearance after being knocked out by a last-gasp effort from Gasly in Q2.

The Haas driver missed the top 10 by just over a tenth of a second, ending up 11th quickest ahead of Lance Stroll’s Aston Martin, Esteban Ocon’s Alpine and Logan Sargeant’s Williams.

Ocon’s final Q2 lap was compromised by a locking a wheel into the final chicane as he tried to dive ahead of Stroll, killing crucial momentum as his next lap began.

Valtteri Bottas, whose Alfa Romeo was 11th in Q1 but then broke down at the end of that segment, wasn’t able to participate in Q2 so wound up 15th overall.

Bottas was at least still ahead of Sergio Perez, who endured another miserable qualifying session in the second Red Bull, falling in Q1 and ending up only 16th-quickest.

Kevin Magnussen’s Haas breaking down at Stowe and bringing out red flags with just over three minutes of the session left had effectively turned Q1 into a one-lap shootout.

The delay allowed what had been a greasy track surface to dry up significantly, so every remaining driver was at risk of elimination at the resumption.

Perez, who was at the front of the queue leaving the pits, leapt to the top of the timesheet with his effort, but it proved insufficient to progress as others completed their laps.

Perez missed the Q2 cut by just 0.019s to Alonso’s Aston Martin, meaning the Mexican has now failed to make Q3 in every race since claiming pole for May’s Miami GP.

Yuki Tsunoda, Zhou Guanyu, Nyck de Vries were also eliminated in Q1, along with Magnussen.

De Vries faces a stewards’ investigation after being unsafely released into Piastri’s path in the pitlane.

Qualifying Results

Pos Name Car Q1 Q2 Q3
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1m29.428s 1m27.702s 1m26.72s
2 Lando Norris McLaren-Mercedes 1m28.917s 1m28.042s 1m26.961s
3 Oscar Piastri McLaren-Mercedes 1m29.874s 1m27.845s 1m27.092s
4 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1m29.143s 1m28.361s 1m27.136s
5 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 1m29.865s 1m28.265s 1m27.148s
6 George Russell Mercedes 1m29.412s 1m28.782s 1m27.155s
7 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m29.415s 1m28.545s 1m27.211s
8 Alex Albon Williams-Mercedes 1m29.466s 1m28.067s 1m27.53s
9 Fernando Alonso Aston Martin-Mercedes 1m29.949s 1m28.368s 1m27.659s
10 Pierre Gasly Alpine-Renault 1m29.533s 1m28.751s 1m27.689s
11 Nico Hülkenberg Haas-Ferrari 1m29.603s 1m28.896s
12 Lance Stroll Aston Martin-Mercedes 1m29.448s 1m28.935s
13 Esteban Ocon Alpine-Renault 1m29.7s 1m28.956s
14 Logan Sargeant Williams-Mercedes 1m29.873s 1m29.031s
15 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1m29.798s
16 Sergio Pérez Red Bull 1m29.968s
17 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri-Honda RBPT 1m30.025s
18 Guanyu Zhou Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1m30.123s
19 Nyck de Vries AlphaTauri-Honda RBPT 1m30.513s
20 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 1m32.378s
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