Championship runaway leader Max Verstappen edged McLaren's Oscar Piastri to top the Sprint shootout with the Ferrari duo of Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc set to form the second row on the grid in the Spa F1 Sprint.
The Sprint Shootout started in similar conditions to yesterday's qualifying with the Race Director forced to delay the start by 35 minutes. However, when the session could get underway, the track was in a much better condition.SQ1 - Bad timing for Haas
Drivers were forced to use the intermediate tyres in the first segment of the Sprint Shootout. Interestingly, F1’s only American team Haas left it very late for their drivers with Kevin Magnussen only having time for a single hot lap.
The Dane could only manage a P18 for today’s sprint race, but his team-mate Nico Hulkenberg was not even able to get across the line in order to set a lap time.
Following their eye-catching performance in qualifying at last weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix, Alfa Romeo drivers Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu were also eliminated with the Finn and the Chinese driver set to line up in P17 and P19 on the grid.
Yuki Tsunoda missed the progression by only a tenth of a second with Mercedes driver George Russell narrowly fighting his way through into SQ2, setting only the 15th fastest time.
In the second segment of the sprint shootout, the track was seemingly quickly drying, but it was still not enough to mount on the slick tyres. However, Aston Martin sent Lance Stroll out on the red-walled softs, but the Belgian-Canadian racer’s gamble did not pay off as he crashed out in the final minute of SQ2.
With the Silverstone team keeping Fernando Alonso in the garage for the opening part of the session, the Spaniard did not have a timed lap on the leaderboard. His team-mate’s crash meant that he was unable to complete a single hot lap as the session was not restarted.
The Aston Martin drivers Stroll and Alonso will line up in P14 and P15 on the grid for the 100km dash.
Daniel Ricciardo secured an 11th starting position for today’s sprint race, followed by the Williams drivers Alexander Albon and Logan Sargeant.SQ3 - Back to slick tyres
The last segment of the Sprint Shootout saw drivers put on the soft tyres for the first time today. Most of the remaining ten drivers decided for a push-slow-push lap run plan, albeit the traffic at the end of the session affected the last lap of several drivers.
Verstappen was the last to cross the line which meant that he enjoyed the best track conditions in the end. The reigning world champion pipped Piastri by just 0.011s to secure pole for the sprint race at Spa-Francorchamps.
Ferrari drivers Sainz and Leclerc started their hot lap a bit earlier, meaning that they had worse track conditions to deal with. However, they were able to secure the third and fourth starting position for the Spa F1 Sprint.
Hamilton appeared to have great speed in the challenging conditions, but he could hardly improve on his last lap as he encountered traffic at Turn 1, and ended up seventh fastest. Replays showed that it was his team-mate George Russell, who went too deep into La Source which hampered Hamilton coming out on to the run to Eau Rouge.
Commenting on his sprint pole, Verstappen said: “It was pretty difficult, quite similar to yesterday. We stayed calm, the gap was not as big as yesterday but there was also no need to risk it all. My second sector was probably a bit careful. Still turn eight and nine was super slippery, so I guess I left a bit of time on the table.”
|1||1||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing Honda Rbpt||1:58.135||1:55.200||1:49.056||14|
|2||81||Oscar Piastri||Mclaren Mercedes||2:00.056||1:56.392||1:49.067||14|
|5||4||Lando Norris||Mclaren Mercedes||2:00.436||1:56.828||1:49.389||16|
|6||10||Pierre Gasly||Alpine Renault||2:00.032||1:56.137||1:49.700||15|
|8||11||Sergio Perez||Red Bull Racing Honda Rbpt||1:59.362||1:55.878||1:49.961||14|
|9||31||Esteban Ocon||Alpine Renault||1:59.884||1:57.051||1:50.494||15|
|11||3||Daniel Ricciardo||Alphatauri Honda Rbpt||2:00.177||1:57.687||10|
|12||23||Alexander Albon||Williams Mercedes||1:59.198||DNF||8|
|13||2||Logan Sargeant||Williams Mercedes||2:00.031||DNF||10|
|14||18||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin Aramco Mercedes||2:00.460||DNF||9|
|15||14||Fernando Alonso||Aston Martin Aramco Mercedes||1:59.038||DNS||6|
|16||22||Yuki Tsunoda||Alphatauri Honda Rbpt||2:00.568||6|
|17||77||Valtteri Bottas||Alfa Romeo Ferrari||2:00.951||6|
|18||20||Kevin Magnussen||Haas Ferrari||2:01.079||7|
|19||24||Zhou Guanyu||Alfa Romeo Ferrari||2:01.430||7|
|NC||27||Nico Hulkenberg||Haas Ferrari||DNF||6|