Preparing for the first ever sprint race in Formula One, Friday's qualifying saw Lewis Hamilton go fastest around Silverstone, sealing the best start position for the sprint. Max Verstappen and Valtteri Bottas were close and will be looking to fight back on Saturday.
The first Friday qualifying since 2003 went underway with Carlos Sainz, interestingly opting for a used set of soft. All other cars following him opted immediately for new softs. The softs aren't a surprise, given that in this Friday qualifying, everybody is required to use the softest tyre compound available, leaving a free tyre choice for Saturday's sprint race and Sunday's race.
Sainz' lap was therefore not the greatest, soon dropping down the pecking order behind the AlphaTauris, Alonso, Norris and many many others as the track became busier and busier in the next minutes.
Both Mercedes and Verstappen were a bit later to join the action, but they easily ended up at the top of the timesheet, with Verstappen a comfortable 0.409s faster than Hamilton, and more than 7 tenths ahead of Bottas.
Fernando Alonso positioned in fourth before returning to the pitlane and watch others go out for another lap in the final few minutes. In fact, Verstappen and Alonso were the only drivers not out on track 2 minutes from the end.
Many drivers still improved in the dying seconds, including Hamilton who set a time that came within 0.035s of Verstappen. Leclerc, Perez, Ricciardo, Sainz, Ocon all improved, leaving Tsunoda, Raikkonen, Latifiy and the Haas duo to get eliminated.
Both Mercedes were eager to go out in Q2 and were already doing their flying laps by the time others left the pitlane. Hamilton set off for a very quick lap, but a less impressive final sector still allowed Verstappen to go faster. The Red Bull driver was slower in the first two sectors but made up the deficit at the end of the lap.
Bottas was two tenths off, followed by Perez, Vettel, Ricciardo, Sainz, Norris and Ocon, all within 3 tenths of one another, but at least 6 tenths off of Verstappen.
Close to the end, Hamilton surprised with another half a second improvement, followed by Verstappen who improved, but stranded at 3 tenths. Both Ferraris were comfortably through as well, along with Russell. The Williams driver was the last to cross the line and jumped into 7th, dropping Alonso out of Q1 by being just three-hundredths slower than 10th placed Norris.
The final part of qualifying was kicked off by Sergio Perez, followed by Vettel and Sainz. Most others soon joined as Russell remained in the box a little bit longer.
After Hamilton went fastest of all, 0.172s quicker than Verstappen and 4 tenths better than Bottas, Russell was cheered on by the British crowd. On an empty track, he secured 8th on tomorrow's grid, ahead of Sainz and Vettel.
In front, Hamilton failed to improve due to a slight mistake in the final sector, but Verstappen couldn't profit from it, leaving first place on the sprint race grid to Hamilton, who appeared very joyous and relieved in front of his home crowd.
Valtteri Bottas stranded at just 2 tenths while Charles Leclerc was 4th fastest, thanks to a solid final lap on the back of a disappointing performance in his first lap in Q1. Sergio Perez is just 5th, ahead of the very closely matched McLaren duo.
|2||33||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing Honda||1:26.751||1:26.315||1:26.209||16|
|5||11||Sergio Perez||Red Bull Racing Honda||1:27.121||1:27.073||1:26.844||17|
|6||4||Lando Norris||Mclaren Mercedes||1:27.444||1:27.220||1:26.897||20|
|7||3||Daniel Ricciardo||Mclaren Mercedes||1:27.323||1:27.125||1:26.899||22|
|8||63||George Russell||Williams Mercedes||1:27.671||1:27.080||1:26.971||17|
|10||5||Sebastian Vettel||Aston Martin Mercedes||1:27.493||1:27.103||1:27.179||15|
|11||14||Fernando Alonso||Alpine Renault||1:27.580||1:27.245||12|
|12||10||Pierre Gasly||Alphatauri Honda||1:27.600||1:27.273||14|
|13||31||Esteban Ocon||Alpine Renault||1:27.415||1:27.340||12|
|14||99||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari||1:27.595||1:27.617||15|
|15||18||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin Mercedes||1:28.017||1:27.665||12|
|16||22||Yuki Tsunoda||Alphatauri Honda||1:28.043||10|
|17||7||Kimi Räikkönen||Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari||1:28.062||9|
|18||6||Nicholas Latifi||Williams Mercedes||1:28.254||8|
|19||47||Mick Schumacher||Haas Ferrari||1:28.738||10|
|20||9||Nikita Mazepin||Haas Ferrari||1:29.051||9|