Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Silverstone, 2023

Verstappen beats McLarens for pole as Perez suffers Q1 elimination

2023 British Grand Prix qualifying

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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.


Earlier rain had left the track damp in many places, but as a queue of cars formed at the end of the pit lane for the start of qualifying most drivers had opted for slick tyres. Charles 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.

Q1 result

14Lando NorrisMcLaren-MercedesMCL601’28.91711
216Charles LeclercFerrariSF-231’29.1430.22611
363George RussellMercedesW141’29.4120.49510
444Lewis HamiltonMercedesW141’29.4150.49811
51Max VerstappenRed Bull-Honda RBPTRB191’29.4280.51111
618Lance StrollAston Martin-MercedesAMR231’29.4480.53111
723Alexander AlbonWilliams-MercedesFW451’29.4660.54911
810Pierre GaslyAlpine-RenaultA5231’29.5330.61611
927Nico HulkenbergHaas-FerrariVF-231’29.6030.68611
1031Esteban OconAlpine-RenaultA5231’29.7000.78311
1177Valtteri BottasAlfa Romeo-FerrariC431’29.7980.88111
1255Carlos Sainz JnrFerrariSF-231’29.8650.94812
132Logan SargeantWilliams-MercedesFW451’29.8730.95611
1481Oscar PiastriMcLaren-MercedesMCL601’29.8740.95711
1514Fernando AlonsoAston Martin-MercedesAMR231’29.9491.03210
1611Sergio PerezRed Bull-Honda RBPTRB191’29.9681.05111
1722Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri-Honda RBPTAT041’30.0251.10811
1824Zhou GuanyuAlfa Romeo-FerrariC431’30.1231.20611
1921Nyck de VriesAlphaTauri-Honda RBPTAT041’30.5131.59611
2020Kevin MagnussenHaas-FerrariVF-231’32.3783.4617

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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.

Q2 result

11Max VerstappenRed Bull-Honda RBPTRB191’27.70220
281Oscar PiastriMcLaren-MercedesMCL601’27.8450.14320
34Lando NorrisMcLaren-MercedesMCL601’28.0420.34020
423Alexander AlbonWilliams-MercedesFW451’28.0670.36519
555Carlos Sainz JnrFerrariSF-231’28.2650.56320
616Charles LeclercFerrariSF-231’28.3610.65919
714Fernando AlonsoAston Martin-MercedesAMR231’28.3680.66618
844Lewis HamiltonMercedesW141’28.5450.84319
910Pierre GaslyAlpine-RenaultA5231’28.7511.04918
1063George RussellMercedesW141’28.7821.08018
1127Nico HulkenbergHaas-FerrariVF-231’28.8961.19417
1218Lance StrollAston Martin-MercedesAMR231’28.9351.23319
1331Esteban OconAlpine-RenaultA5231’28.9561.25418
142Logan SargeantWilliams-MercedesFW451’29.0311.32919
1577Valtteri BottasAlfa Romeo-FerrariC43No time11

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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.

Q3 result

11Max VerstappenRed Bull-Honda RBPTRB191’26.72026
24Lando NorrisMcLaren-MercedesMCL601’26.9610.24126
381Oscar PiastriMcLaren-MercedesMCL601’27.0920.37226
416Charles LeclercFerrariSF-231’27.1360.41625
555Carlos Sainz JnrFerrariSF-231’27.1480.42826
663George RussellMercedesW141’27.1550.43524
744Lewis HamiltonMercedesW141’27.2110.49125
823Alexander AlbonWilliams-MercedesFW451’27.5300.81025
914Fernando AlonsoAston Martin-MercedesAMR231’27.6590.93924
1010Pierre GaslyAlpine-RenaultA5231’27.6890.96924

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2023 British Grand Prix

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Author information

Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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24 comments on “Verstappen beats McLarens for pole as Perez suffers Q1 elimination”


  2. Perez with 0 pace again tsk tsk.

  3. McLaren did such an amazing job turning the season around. Amazing comeback!

    1. Absolutely. So happy for them, good to see those smiles back!

    2. You’re so right.

      If I’m honest I’d written this season off. Delighted to have a distraction from watching the untouchable Verstappen disappearing off into the distance!

  4. Typical Silverstone LH scum booing Max 😂😂😂 he’s ruined them, and I love it! ❤️🥳

    1. Didnt hear any boos on telly (viaplay), do they screen them out somehow?

      1. Robert Henning
        8th July 2023, 19:31

        Yes, they muted the boos and only put the cheers and clapping.

    2. At least they’re staying in the stands this year.

    3. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
      8th July 2023, 18:38

      Wow you sound a lot more mature than those fans.

  5. 100 military, and armed police controlling the venue… Silverstone should disclose how much they pay for this service.

  6. A few weeks ago, Horner predicted that by mid-season Aston Martin would start to lose momentum, which maybe is happening already. I think he said Aston started with a significant head start thanks to the wind tunnel extra allocation they enjoyed for being among the last placed teams last year, and that advantage should be strong at the beginning of the season, but it should dissipate as the season progressed. But this is off the top of my head, not sure if that’s really what he said. Can someone confirm?

    1. Fallows applied what he knew from Red Bull (Newey). Now he has to develop the car himself and he’s unable to.

      1. BW (@deliberator)
        9th July 2023, 1:03

        Indeed. And the same story of every team without a Newey. I don’t think it is an exaggeration to say that Newey is most incredible mind in the history of motorsport, period. No one else comes close, not even the Byrnes, Barnards, Murrays, Chapmans, etc.
        Ironically, the only time Newey didn’t seem head and shoulders above everyone else was at McLaren in the early 2000s – the time when his genius was curbed by the matrix management structure.

  7. Surely Mercedes and Aston Martin are working on the W15 and AMR24 now.

  8. A very welcome surprise from Mclaren. I hope they have race pace.

  9. Aston Martin has lost it. Clearly they cannot develop the car. In Barcelona, they were nowhere, came back in Canada, and now they are again nowhere for two races in a row.
    They might come back to top 5 in Hungary, but I am scared about their race pace in Belgium. They might not get even into top 10.

  10. Q1 was effectively a 1 lap shootout. They should use that for Sprint Qualifying

    1. I like that: it would make it feel more of its own thing. Also amp the sprint chaos up even further

    2. Agree. It was quite amazing

    3. Wouldn’t have any Alfas crawling through Maggotts, putting lives at risk either.

  11. Sergey Martyn
    8th July 2023, 19:12

    Hope they will keep the pace tomorrow. Forza Lando and especially – Oscar!

  12. Damn, luckily there was 100% chance of rain for qualifying according to croft, I can’t imagine how dry it would’ve been if it had been 0%.

    1. Such a disappointment, full wet conditions in minor formulas, even today on the same track, nothing in f1.

Comments are closed.