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British GP Qualifying: Russell on pole, the Brits in control

British GP Qualifying: Russell leads Mercedes front row lockout

British GP Qualifying: Russell on pole, the Brits in control

George Russell took pole for the 2024 British Grand Prix, on a day were Mercedes returned to its former glory with Lewis Hamilton second fastest in the sister car.

It was a typical British summer afternoon at Silverstone as the rain came and went making for a thrilling qualifying, but the fans would be elated as three Brits controlled the proceedings.

Lando Norris was third fastest despite being tipped for pole up to that point of the weekend, but in the end the Mercedes drivers had the final say.

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Qualifying started on a wet but drying track, which made Q1 as chaotic as it could be with Sergio Perez the biggest casualty spinning out and getting stuck in the gravel after making the switch to slicks.

His teammate, Tripe Formula 1 Champion Max Verstappen, made it by the skin of his teeth into Q2, after running in the gravel on his first lap of slicks.

Verstappen did not seem to get in the rhythm after that, and did not seem set for pole, and all those who were counting on some Verstappen magic must have been disappointed, as Christian Horner confirmed his RB20 was damaged following that gravel excursion in Q1.

The good news is that Verstappen and Norris will start alongside each other for Sunday’s Grand Prix as Oscar Piastri will line up fifth on the grid.

Nico Hulkenberg was sensational in the upgraded Haas and was sixth fastest ahead of Carlos Sainz, seventh in the Ferrari.

Ferrari seem lost, as they were running two car specs this weekend to compare between them: The Imola spec and the Barcelona spec.

The decided to run the Imola spec, and the result was Charles Leclerc not making Q3 and Sainz only in seventh.

Aston Martin had a decent weekend with Lance Stroll qualifying eighth and Fernando Alonso in tenth, as the teammates were split by Alex Albon, once again overdelivering in the Williams.

Russell: What a feeling!

After taking his third F1 career pole, Russell said: “What a feeling! At the start of this year we couldn’t have dreamt of being on pole here.

“One-two for me and Lewis, Lando P3. Just mega. It’s down to all these fans as well. They give us so much energy,” he added.

“The car at the moment is feeling so good,” the Briton went on. “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. It will be tight with Lando and Max will be fast as well. I’m so excited right now,” Russell concluded.

After being outqualified by his teammate, Hamilton said: “First off, a big, big thanks to this incredible crowd. I’m so proud to be here with three Brits in the top three is incredible. A huge congratulations to George – he did such a great job.

“We definitely didn’t expect to be front row this weekend but this is huge for us, for our team. The car felt fantastic out there. So everyone in the garage, all our team that have come here really deserve this,” he insisted.

“The car felt great,” Hamilton added, “it was just about getting the tyre temperatures at the right place and sealing the deal when you had the time on track. I think I was able to do that. I think ultimately there was still time left on the table, which George was able to find.

“But I feel really confident about the car tomorrow and I think with the conditions we have, we can work together to keep Lando behind,” the seven-time F1 Champion concluded.

“I’m happy with P3,” Norris added despite being clearly disappointed. “Three Brits lock out the top three, so pretty cool.

“Good laps from George and Lewis. 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 tomorrow.

“I hope we have some good battles, so I look forward to it,” Norris concluded.

Q1: Perez spins out of qualifying, Verstappen has a scare!

It rained heavily ahead of qualifying, which affected the Formula 2 race where Kimi Antonelli took his maiden win, so Q1 started on a wet track that was drying, as the F2 cars removed a lot of standing water during the race.

And so qualifying started with track temperatures at 21 degrees Celsius while the risk of rain being at 60%, despite the sun finally making an appearance. All this makes the qualifying even more tricky.

Logan Sargeant was the first driver to head out on track as the field all set out on Intermediate tyres, but there was a dry line starting form already. It won’t be long before slicks to be used.

Norris, on his first timed lap almost lost his McLaren for a snap of oversteer coming out of Turn 7 but managed to hold it and goes second fastest behind Verstappen. Leclerc on the other hand ran wide into Turn 3.

The first run of laps yielded the following order: Verstappen – Norris – Hamilton – Russell – Leclerc – Albon – Piastri – Perez – Sainz – Yuki Tsunoda.

Hulkenberg remained in his garage, maybe planning to go out once the track dried on slick tyres, and soon Leclerc led the way with the Soft tyre bolted to his SF-24 – ten minutes from the end.

Sainz was soon called in for slicks as well, and Bottas followed, as replay showed Norris running wide at Turn 3.

Less than eight minutes towards the end of Q1, the Red Flag was brought out as Perez got beached in the gravel at Turn 9 as he was on his outlap on Soft tyres. He drove over a wet patch and his car simply snapped.

The Mexican remained in his car, asking the marshals for a push, but the recovery vehicle was soon their and lifted the #11 RB20 out of the gravel track.

The cars started lining up in the pitlane waiting for the Red Flag to be removed to go and set a time on slicks, as McLaren informed Piastri that rain may return at the end of Q1.

The session was restarted with seven and a half minutes remaining, and the pressure was on the drivers to put in a clean lap on slicks before and if the rain returns.

Valtteri Bottas set the first dry time, over four seconds faster than the previous top time on Inters as a flurry of lap times followed.

Verstappen had an off-road moment at Stowe as the rain returned, and Ferrari were pushing Sainz not to mess up the lap he was on. He is told: “We need this lap.”

Sainz has his lap time deleted for exceeding track limits and had to go again, as the track seemed to improve yet again after getting worse for a moment there.

The rain apparently stopped, and after a few chaotic moments, Hamilton led the way with a 1:29.547, 0.559s ahead of Russell in second, as Leclerc was third fastest. Verstappen survived his scare to go 11th fastest.

The first driver to be out was Bottas, in 16th and missing out by 0.502s and was 0.474s ahead Magnussen who was 17th.

Esteban Ocon was 18th fastest in the Alpine ahead of Perez in 19th and Gasly in 20th. Pierre Gasly did not run a final lap as he has a grid penalty for a new power unit which means he will start dead last anyhow.

Stroll was under investigation for jumping the red light at the pit exit.

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Q2: Leclerc is out!

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Traffic in the pitlane ahead of Q2 as all remaining 15 drivers wanted to make sure they could set a lap on slicks before and if the rain returned.

Albon set the first time in Q2 followed by Zhou Guanyu and Sargeant, the latter doing a decent job to avoid Q1 elimination.

Soon the big hitters started their runs and Piastri takes the top spot, the Sainz took over P1 only for Norris to take it from him.

Leclerc in 11th after his first run complained that his tyres did not feel good, while a scruffy first lap saw Verstappen go seventh.

The drivers kept running their laps, and Alonso went to the top of the pile, while Leclerc improved only to eighth, and Verstappen jumped up to second behind the Spaniard.

Sainz then took over the top spot, but then Piastri blasted ahead into first, two tenths clear of the #55 Ferrari. But Hulkenberg then went fastest of all – three minutes from the end of Q2.

Russell then went fastest, the track continuing to improve, as Hamilton was second fastest, then Norris beat Russell’s time as Verstappen left the pits for his final run. Leclerc was under pressure in 12th.

In the end Norris was the fastest in Q2 with a lap time of 1:26.559, 0.164s ahead of Russell in second while Alonso was 0.007s further down the road in third.

The first driver out of Q2 was Leclerc in the Ferrari, 11th fastest and missing out to Stroll by 0.159s. A big disappointment for the Monegasque who struggled with his tyres.

Sargeant was 12th fastest and 0.094s ahead of Tsunoda in 13th as Zhou was 14th fastest ahead of Ricciardo in 15th.

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Q3: Mercedes beats McLaren

Brighter conditions prevailed over Silverstone as the remaining ten drivers made their way out on track for the final ten-minute shootout.

Verstappen was the first driver to start a flying lap, with Piastri and Norris behind him. The Red Bull driver went fastest but lost out to Piastri as Norris dropped both of them to go fastest.

Hamilton went second fastest as Russell goes fastest and was on provisional pole just 0.006s ahead of Norris.

The order with five minutes remaining: Russell – Norris – Hamilton – Piastri – Verstappen – Hulkenberg – Sainz – Stroll – Alonso – Albon.

With three minutes remaining, the second and final runs of Q3 were underway with the fight for pole on as Verstappen needed to find over three tenths of a second to challenge.

But as the session drew to an end, Verstappen could not improve and was only good for fourth as Russell’s provisional pole held firm, with Hamilton second fastest ahead of Norris in third.

Russell clocked a 1:25,819 to grab pole, 0.171s ahead of his teammate, Hamilton, who was second and 0.040s ahead of Norris in third.

Verstappen could not find enough pace to challenge for pole and had to settle for fourth, almost four tenths off the pace after a scrappy qualifying for the Dutchman.

Piastri was fifth fastest in the other McLaren, 0.418s down from pole and 0.001s ahead of a superb Hulkenberg in sixth.

Sainz was the better Ferrari driver, but only good for seventh, 0.690s off the pace and 0.076s ahead of Stroll in eighth.

Albon was an excellent ninth for Williams ahead of Alonso in tenth.

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