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British GP Qualifying: George Russell beats Lewis Hamilton, Lando Norris to Silverstone pole as Red Bull hit trouble



British GP Qualifying: George Russell beats Lewis Hamilton, Lando Norris to Silverstone pole as Red Bull hit trouble

George Russell edged out Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton and McLaren’s Lando Norris to secure pole position for Sunday’s British GP as the race’s three home drivers waged an intense fight to head the grid amid on-off rain at Silverstone.

For the first time ever at Silverstone, and the first time anywhere in F1 since 1968, the front three positions on the grid will be taken up by a trio of British drivers.

Russell, who won last week’s Austrian GP after profiting from the collision between Norris and Max Verstappen, took his second pole in four races by a 0.171s margin from Hamilton with a brilliant final lap of 1:25.819 just moments after his team-mate had briefly moved to the top of the timesheet himself.

It is Mercedes’ first front-row lockout in F1 since November 2022 and emphatically signals the former champions’ return to front-running contention in the sport after two-and-a-half seasons in Red Bull’s shadow.

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Karun Chandhok analyses George Russell and Lewis Hamilton’s fastest laps during qualifying of the British GP.

Norris had started the final laps in a provisional second but dropped to third behind Hamilton after abandoning his final attempt due to errors.

On a difficult and disappointing day for world championship leaders Red Bull, Verstappen qualified only fourth after his pace was compromised by floor damage sustained when an error sent him through the gravel at Copse corner during a frantic rain-hit Q1 session.

Team-mate Sergio Perez had earlier made the same mistake at the fast right-hander but his had far greater consequences as he spun around on the slippery tarmac run-off and beached his car into the adjacent gravel trap.

It leaves the Mexican 19th on the 20-car grid and deepens the pressure on his shoulders amid a poor run of form that had already raised questions about his Red Bull future despite signing a new contract in May.

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Sergio Perez spins and beaches his car in the gravel bringing out the red flag and he is out in Q1!

Oscar Piastri was fifth in the second McLaren with Nico Hulkenberg again impressing for Haas to take sixth.

Haas run Ferrari engines and Hulkenberg’s impressive effort saw customer outqualify works supplier.

With Ferrari again out of the picture at the front, Carlos Sainz was only seventh while Charles Leclerc was knocked out in Q2 and will start from 11th.

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Charles Leclerc is out in Q2 as Lance Stroll gets into the top 10 and Ferrari’s struggles continue!

Aston Martin – whose factory is located over the road from the Silverstone circuit gates – moved back into the top 10 after some difficult weekends with Lance Stroll eighth and Fernando Alonso 10th. It is the fifth time the Canadian has outqualified his two-time champion team-mate this year.

Williams’ Alex Albon, meanwhile, took a fine ninth to equal the team’s best grid spot of the season so far. After making Q2, under-pressure team-mate Logan Sargeant will start close behind in 12th – the American’s best grid spot of 2024.

British GP Qualifying: Top 10

1) George Russell, Mercedes

2) Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes

3) Lando Norris, McLaren

4) Max Verstappen, Red Bull

5) Oscar Piastri, McLaren

6) Nico Hulkenberg, Haas

7) Carlos Sainz, Ferrari

8) Lance Stroll, Aston Martin

9) Alex Albon, Williams

10) Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin

British trio’s exclusive pole duel sets up thrilling Sunday

While Saturday’s largely wet and windy weather at Silverstone may have been unkind to the massed ranks of fans around the expansive old airfield, the thrilling and unpredictable qualifying action that formed the showpiece of the day’s activities was certainly worth waiting for.

Heavy morning rain showers had saturated the circuit, although the rain had become more intermittent by the time final practice came around approaching lunchtime.

Russell and Hamilton served notice of the threat likely to be posed by Mercedes by setting the pace in Practice Three and then, after a further downpour between sessions, repeated that front-running form in a frenetic Q1 session, which saw drivers first set times on intermediate tyres before switching to slicks only for light rain to soon return.

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George Russell says he feels over the moon to be on pole at his home grand prix and it is the ‘best feeling’ he has ever had after qualifying.

Norris was then quickest from Russell in Q2 and, with it clear by then that Verstappen’s floor damage would keep him out of the pole fight, the Q3 pole fight turned into an exclusive one between Britain’s three F1 stars.

Russell held provisional pole after the first Q3 runs – albeit only by 0.006s from Norris with Hamilton third – before Mercedes’ elder Briton threatened to take the pole for himself by beating his team-mate’s marker by 0.034s on his final attempt.

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Lewis Hamilton says it was the best the 2024 car has ever felt after securing a brilliant Mercedes one-two on the grid for the British Grand Prix.

But it was Russell who had the final say seconds later to claim his third career pole in F1 and increase his head-to-head lead over Hamilton in qualifying this year to 10-2 at the halfway point of the campaign.

“The car at the moment is feeling so good,” said an overjoyed Russell. “It really came alive in qualy. What a joy to drive around this circuit. We are riding this wave at the moment. Absolutely buzzing. But eyes on tomorrow. We have a race to win.”

Silverstone history made in all-British 1-2-3

The Russell-Hamilton-Norris top three on the grid represents the first all-British 1-2-3 in a British GP at Silverstone.

The only time it had previously happened in the British GP was at Aintree in 1962, when Jim Clark, John Surtees and Innes Ireland locked out the top three positions.

Hamilton, who had been chasing a record-extending eighth British GP pole at a race he has won a record eight times, admitted he had “still time left on the table, which George was able to find”.

“I feel really confident about the car tomorrow and I think with the conditions we have, we can work together to keep Lando behind,” said the seven-time world champion, who has finished on the Silverstone podium for a record 10 years in succession.

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Lando Norris says he expected Mercedes to be his main contenders for pole and will look to bring the fight to them from P3 tomorrow.

Although Norris dropped behind Hamilton to the head of the second row next to Verstappen after not completing his final Q3 lap, the McLaren driver was still pleased with his starting position and to be in the mix with his countrymen.

“Good laps from George and Lewis,” said Norris, who trails Verstappen by 81 points in the world championship race heading in to Sunday.

“They did an excellent job. A little mistake on my part at the end but P3 was still good.

“It’s meant to rain again tomorrow, so I’m excited. It’s going to be a good race. I can bring the fight to George and Lewis.”

Pressure builds on Perez on difficult day for Red Bull

F1’s world champions head into race day with plenty of work to do – with the challenge particularly great for Perez.

While his Red Bull future had finally appeared secure for the medium-term after signing what was announced as a two-year contract extension back in May, the Mexican arrived at Silverstone in a poor run of form that had already raised fresh speculation about how secure his position at the team really is.

A Q1 exit on Saturday was therefore the last thing Perez needed, particularly when it came courtesy of an error, albeit in tricky slippery conditions when drivers had just started changing from intermediate to slick tyres.

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Sergio Perez says it ‘hurts’ to let the team down after going out in Q1 but hopes to limit the damage during the race tomorrow.

“I got caught out with the conditions. I was trying to warm up the tyres into Turn Nine but as I downshifted, I locked up the rear tyre and it went off the track,” a disappointed Perez told Sky Sports F1.

“I ended up losing the car, going into the gravel and that was it.”

Perhaps underlining that the RB20 was tricky to drive, the usually error-free Verstappen then made an almost identical mistake later on in Q1 at Copse – although, crucially, he was able to avoid a spin and keep his RB20 going forwards through the gravel back to the track.

There were still costly consequences for the Dutchman though given the trip across the gravel damaged his car’s floor and meant it lost crucial aerodynamic performance.

“You think the rain is maybe coming in, you have to put a lap in or you are out in Q1. So I tried to keep a bit of speed up. I did lift but it wasn’t enough because it was so slippery that I still had a moment,” said Verstappen.

“Then you don’t want to crash. So I had to go through the dirt and off line wet bit, skating through the gravel, trying to not hit the wall. But I destroyed the floor.

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Max Verstappen says he is happy to still be in the hunt despite damaging his car as he qualified P4 for the British Grand Prix. 

“From there onwards, it was trying to survive. The team did a great job to try and optimise the losses because you could see they were grinding and trying to optimise every bit because the floor was in a bad state.”

Red Bull will be able to make repairs to his damaged floor in parc ferme ahead of Sunday’s race using identical-spec parts and Verstappen is likely to be a major factor for victory with the three Britons ahead of him.

British GP Qualifying Timesheet

Driver Team Time
1) George Russell Mercedes 1:25.819
2) Lewis Hamilton Mercedes +0.171
3) Lando Norris McLaren +0.211
4) Max Verstappen Red Bull +0.384
5) Oscar Piastri McLaren +0.418
6) Nico Hulkenberg Haas +0.519
7) Carlos Sainz Ferrari +0.690
8) Lance Stroll Aston Martin +0.766
9) Alex Albon Williams +0.821
10) Fernando Alonso Aston Martin +1.098
Knocked out in Q2
11) Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:27.097
12) Logan Sargeant Williams 1:27.175
13) Yuki Tsunoda RB 1:27.269
14) Zhou Guanyu Sauber 1:27.867
15) Daniel Ricciardo RB 1:27.949
Knocked out in Q1
16) Valtteri Bottas Sauber 1:32.431
17) Kevin Magnussen Haas 1:32.905
18) Esteban Ocon Alpine 1:34.557
19) Sergio Perez Red Bull 1:38.348
20) Pierre Gasly Alpine 1:39.804

Sky Sports F1’s live British GP schedule (all F1 sessions on Sky Showcase)

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Here’s what you can look forward to during coverage of this weekend’s British Grand Prix.

Sunday July 7
8:15am: F3 Feature Race
9:50am: F2 Feature Race
11:50am: Porsche Supercup
1:30pm: Grand Prix Sunday – British GP build-up
5pm: Chequered Flag: British GP reaction
6pm: Ted’s Notebook

F1’s summer triple-header concludes with the big one, the British Grand Prix at Silverstone. Watch every session live on Sky Sports F1 and Sky Showcase, with Sunday’s race at 3pm. Stream every F1 race and more with a NOW Sports Month Membership – No contract, cancel anytime

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