2021 British GP Qualifying Report - Hamilton takes the top spot as Russell wows home crowd

Reigning champion Lewis Hamilton managed to secure the first-ever F1 sprint race pole for tomorrow afternoon, after a titanic battle with title rival Max Verstappen throughout qualifying.

Q1

The fastest of the initial times in the evening Silverstone sun was the McLaren of Lando Norris, who managed to continue his form from this afternoon's session. However Lewis Hamilton would blitz the McLaren driver's time, being half a second up in the first sector, and a second up in the second. Hamilton would just pip teammate Valteri Bottas to the top spot in the opening stages of Q1, with both drivers being clear of the next car, that being the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc, by just over 0.2 of a second.

Max Verstappen would dim the light in the Mercedes garage, despite losing traction on the final corner, however, this wouldn't hamper his time, as he found 0.4 of a second on Hamilton during his flying lap. 

The real surprises midway through the first section of qualifying were Fernando Alonso and Antonio Giovinazzi, with both drivers putting in strong laps to help give their teams some much-needed confidence. Alonso managed to put the Alpine in fourth with four minutes remaining and Giovinazzi managed to secure a provisional top ten finish for the Swiss outfit Sauber.

With just two minutes left in the session, both Aston Martins and both of the Haas cars were in the bottom five, along with the stray Williams of Nicholas Latifi. However, by the end of the session, the two Aston Martins managed to get to safety, seeing Yuki Tsunoda and Kimi Raikkonen being eliminated alongside the two Haas cars and Latifi.

Out in Q1

16.Yuki Tsunoda 

17.Kimi Raikkonen

18.Nicholas Latifi

19.Mick Schumacher 

20.Nikita Mazepin

Q2

The track evolution seemed to be more server than the teams had anticipated, with lap times being slower than previously anticipated, however, there was still plenty of paces to be found up and down the remaining 15 drivers.

Straight out of the pitlane, Hamilton was setting purple times, which would act as a benchmark for the other drivers in the session. The time would stand at 1:26.6, which put him top of the timings, ahead of Valtteri Bottas. Although a competitive time, it was Verstappen who would topple the Brit, continuing their close battle throughout this season, with the Dutchman going 0.098 quicker than the Mercedes.

Just over a second separated Verstappen from Alonso, with the Spaniard in 13th place, showing how close the battle of the midfield was, with any of the five manufacturers looking to secure both of their driver's positions in the top ten shootout. The track went quiet with three minutes remaining, with the teams making the final adjustments before one final run each.

Two minutes later and 13 of the 15 cars were back on track, with the exception of Sebastian Vettel and Sergio Perez, who sat in P5 and P4 respectively. As the clock hit 0:00, a flurry of lap times came in, however only one would have caught the eye of the home fans and that was George Russell securing a third successive Q3 appearance. Both the Alpine cars, Pierre Gasly, Giovinazzi, and Lance Stroll would all bow out.

Out of Q2

11. Fernando Alonso

12.Pierre Gasly

13.Esteban Ocon

14.Antonio Giovinazzi

15.Lance Stroll

Q3

The real aim for the teams in Q3 was to not give each other a tow on the straights, something that Hamilton was very vocal about over the radio as he left the pitlane.

When the drivers came across the line after their first hot lap in the final part of qualifying, it was Hamilton who drew first blood, with Verstappen going too deep into Vale, costing him time. Vettel originally put in a quick time, however was removed due to track limits., putting him back in ninth place, ahead of Russell who was yet to set a time. The best moment for any British fan in Q3 was Russell's solo lap, met with a chorus of cheers from the home crowd, securing the Williams a provisional seventh place.

Further up the grid, Hamilton and Verstappen were going head to head on a final flying lap, Hamilton had set a purple first sector, something that Verstappen couldn't match, with Hamilton doubling down, securing another purple sector in the second, however, he oversteered into the final corner. However, Verstappen couldn't better Hamilton, meaning Lewis Hamilton starts pole for the sprint race tomorrow evening.

Top 10 for F1 Sprint Race

1.Lewis Hamilton

2.Max Verstappen 

3.Valtteri Bottas

4.Charles Leclerc

5.Sergio Perez

6.Lando Norris

7.Daniel Ricciardo

8.George Russell

9.Carlos Sainz

10.Sebastian Vettel.

 

 

 

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