Max Verstappen took pole position for the British Grand Prix ahead of the two McLarens of Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri as his team mate Sergio Perez was eliminated from Q1.
The championship leader secured his seventh pole of the season and fifth consecutive pole by two tenths after a frantic qualifying session that began in damp conditions and gradually dried out. The McLarens of Norris and Piastri beat both Ferraris and the two Mercedes for their best grid positions of the season.
Q1Charles Leclerc in the Ferrari was among a handful who headed out on intermediates, but after an exploratory out-lap they realised the track was dry enough for slicks and all returned to the pits to fit on the soft tyres.
However, the track was still slippery in many places as Lewis Hamilton discovered on his first push lap by losing his Mercedes through Stowe corner and spinning into the gravel trap. Fortunately for Hamilton, he avoided becoming beached and managed to drive back onto the circuit and continue on his way.
Fernando Alonso set the fastest time in the Aston Martin ahead of Max Verstappen, seven-tenths behind. Leclerc moved up ahead of Versstappen into second place on his slick tyres, before George Russell jumped to the top of the times with a lap just two-hundredths of a second faster than Alonso.
As if in response, Alonso shaved seven tenths of a second off his previous best time to jump back to the top spot as times continued to drop throughout the field. After showing promising pace throughout the three practice sessions, Alexander Albon was languishing towards the bottom of the times to begin with. The Williams driver improved to go 12th, but had his time deleted for exceeding track limits at Stowe.
That left Albon at the bottom of the times with less than four minutes remaining, and in danger of elimination along with Kevin Magnussen, Zhou Guanyu, Logan Sargeant and Valtteri Bottas. But with three minutes left, Magnussen’s chances of progressing were ended when his Haas suddenly shut off in the final sector, leaving him stranded on the track at the exit of Stowe, just before the pit entry.
The session was red-flagged with just over three minutes still on the clock to allow the Haas to be removed – enough time for the 19 remaining drivers to be able to get at least one final flying lap in, with no further rain expected for the first phase of qualifying.
As the field queued up in the pit lane for the restart, Verstappen pulled out of the Red Bull garage and drove into the wall, breaking his front wing. His crew pushed him back into the garage and replaced his wing, with the red flag allowing them to make the repairs without the championship driver losing any time.
When the session resumed, all 19 drivers reached the timing line before the chequered flag. The session had dried enough for each of them to improve on their final laps, but those who crossed the line last had the best track conditions. This was best demonstrated by Perez, the first driver across the line who fell down to 16th after all drivers had completed their flying laps, who became the first driver to be eliminated from Q1. For the fifth qualifying session in a row, Perez’s RB19 would not appeared in Q3.
Joining Perez out of Q1 race was Yuki Tsunoda, Zhou and De Vries, with Magnussen out in 20th after having been forced to stop on-track with a problem. An unsafe release incident in the pitlane, in which Nyck de Vries appeared to be allowed out directly in front of Oscar Piastri, will be investigated after qualifying, along with an impeding incident at Becketts where Esteban Ocon narrowly avoided Zhou.
|5||1||Max Verstappen||Red Bull-Honda RBPT||RB19||1’29.428||0.511||11|
|6||18||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin-Mercedes||AMR23||1’29.448||0.531||11|
|11||77||Valtteri Bottas||Alfa Romeo-Ferrari||C43||1’29.798||0.881||11|
|12||55||Carlos Sainz Jnr||Ferrari||SF-23||1’29.865||0.948||12|
|15||14||Fernando Alonso||Aston Martin-Mercedes||AMR23||1’29.949||1.032||10|
|16||11||Sergio Perez||Red Bull-Honda RBPT||RB19||1’29.968||1.051||11|
|17||22||Yuki Tsunoda||AlphaTauri-Honda RBPT||AT04||1’30.025||1.108||11|
|18||24||Zhou Guanyu||Alfa Romeo-Ferrari||C43||1’30.123||1.206||11|
|19||21||Nyck de Vries||AlphaTauri-Honda RBPT||AT04||1’30.513||1.596||11|
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Before the second phase of qualifying had even begun, Bottas had been forced to stop his car at the end of Q1 with a problem, ending his involvement in the remainder of qualifying. The start of Q2 was therefore delayed for a handful of minutes while the Alfa Romeo was cleared from Luffield, with the risk of further rain increasing with every passing moment.
Q2 ultimately started in on a largely dry track, with most of the field choosing fresh tyres for the start of the second phase, while Mercedes opted for used tyres for their first runs. Lando Norris set the fastest time over the first push laps, with Verstappen’s first time under a tenth of a second slower than the McLaren. Pierre Gasly moved up to second with his first flying lap as Sargeant had his initial effort deleted for exceeding track limits at Stowe.
Very light rain fell over the Silverstone circuit, but it appeared to have little impact on grip levels around the track. Mercedes’ first runs on used tyres left both Hamilton and Russell in the drop zone, with both drivers being brought in to the pits to switch to new sets of soft tyres.
Verstappen improved to go quickest of all but was immediately replaced by Piastri. Hamilton found almost a full second with his first run on new softs, putting him to the very top of the times, before team mate Russell took fourth with his first lap on the new tyres. Norris was the next to improve, taking half a second off Hamilton’s best to go quickest of all.
With three minutes to go, the drop zone consisted of Ocon, Nico Hulkenberg, Stroll and Sargeant. Sargeant knocked Gasly into danger in tenth, but the Williams rookie’s session was then ended by Stroll. Hulkenberg improved to knock Stroll out, before he suffered the same fate courtesy of Gasly.
Ocon failed to improve and was eliminated in 13th following a near-miss with Stroll at Club. Sargeant missed out on his first Q3 appearance after he finished the session 14th. Bottas was the final driver knocked out in 15th place, after his problem at the end of Q1.
|1||1||Max Verstappen||Red Bull-Honda RBPT||RB19||1’27.702||20|
|5||55||Carlos Sainz Jnr||Ferrari||SF-23||1’28.265||0.563||20|
|7||14||Fernando Alonso||Aston Martin-Mercedes||AMR23||1’28.368||0.666||18|
|12||18||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin-Mercedes||AMR23||1’28.935||1.233||19|
|15||77||Valtteri Bottas||Alfa Romeo-Ferrari||C43||No time||11|
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The risk of rain appeared to have disappeared by the time the top-ten shootout got underway. FIA race director Niels Wittich enabled DRS before the session began, reflecting how the track conditions were improving with every passing minute.
When Q3 began, both Mercedes drivers again took to the track on used softs, as did the Ferraris, while only Verstappen headed out on a fresh set of softs. Mercedes drivers Russell and Hamilton were the first to start their first flying laps, with Hamilton setting the quicker time of the pair to the tune of almost half a second.
Verstappen’s first effort on his fresh tyres was easily the fastest lap of the weekend and good enough for him to take provisional pole position by six tenths of a second by the end of the first runs, with Hamilton second and Piastri in a provisional third place in the McLaren ahead of the two Ferraris of Leclerc and Sainz.
The ten drivers returned to the pit lane to prepare for their final runs of qualifying, eventually emerging back onto the track with around three minutes remaining. All ten cars had fitted fresh soft tyres for their final runs.
Leclerc was the first driver to cross the line and he improved significantly on his fresh tyres but was still half a tenth slower than Verstappen’s provisional pole time. Sainz was milliseconds slower than his team mate, with both Ferraris ahead of the two Mercedes.
Then, Norris leapt to the top of the times to take provisional pole position, as team mate Piastri moved into second behind his team mate and ahead of the two Ferraris and Mercedes. Only Verstappen could deny Norris a stunning home pole and he duly broke the Silverstone crowd’s hearts, improving by almost four tenths to storm to pole for the fifth consecutive race.
Norris and Piastri secured second and third ahead of the two Ferraris of Leclerc and Sainz, with Russell in sixth and Hamilton seventh. Albon secured eighth on the grid for Williams, with Alonso only able to manage ninth and Gasly completing the top ten for Alpine.
|1||1||Max Verstappen||Red Bull-Honda RBPT||RB19||1’26.720||26|
|5||55||Carlos Sainz Jnr||Ferrari||SF-23||1’27.148||0.428||26|
|9||14||Fernando Alonso||Aston Martin-Mercedes||AMR23||1’27.659||0.939||24|
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2023 British Grand Prix
- Norris is “growing” closer to the champion who inspired him to race
- Second supplier part failure ‘a frustrating issue we must solve’ – Alpine
- Albon ‘surprised’ to be quicker than Alonso at end of British GP
- Bottas admits Alfa Romeo ‘were expecting to be better than this’ in 2023
- McLaren now “finding performance quicker” after emulating Red Bull’s design