Red Bull’s Max Verstappen won F1 Sprint Qualifying to start British GP from pole from Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas.
With a free start tyre choice, Mercedes made the first move with Valtteri Bottas on a used set of soft tyre, while Alpine duo and Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen being the only others on the red-walled tyres – although the latter three were on a new set.
Everyone had the brand new set of medium tyre but Aston Martin opted for a used set. The start was bonkers for the 17-lap F1 Sprint Qualifying race, with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen taking the lead from Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and Bottas.
Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc steadied on fourth as Alpine’s Fernando Alonso made a rocketing start to be fifth, with McLaren’s Lando Norris sixth, Red Bull’s Sergio Perez seventh, McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo eighth and Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel ninth.
Williams’ George Russell was 10th after a tangle with Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz, which sent the Spaniard on the run-off and down the order. There was also a tangle between the Haas pair, where Nikita Mazepin was spun around after a clip from Mick Schumacher.
After a frantic first lap, there was misery for Perez after a bad start. As the Mexican tried to recover, he spun at the exit of right-hander and spun on his own. He managed to collect himself, but dropped down the order, with little chance of big recovery.
Norris, meanwhile, managed to pass Alonso for fifth, with the Spaniard then being chased by the Australian. He got past him for sixth after few laps of wait. At the same time, Sainz was on a recovery mode after getting close to the Top 10.
The incident between him and Russell would be investigated after the race. At the front, meanwhile, it was Verstappen all-through, as he comfortably ended up to win the first-ever F1 Sprint Qualifying and take pole for British GP ahead of Hamilton and Bottas.
Leclerc was fourth with Norris fifth from Ricciardo, Alonso, Vettel, Russell and Esteban Ocon in the Top 10 – with the two Alpine duo making it in the Top 10. Sainz recovered to 11th from AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly, with Raikkonen also improving to 13th from 17th.
Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll was 14th with Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi 15th, AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda 16th, Williams’ Nicholas Latifi 17th and Haas’ Schumacher & Mazepin in 18th and 19th, after Perez was to retire the car.
CLASSIFICATION: F1 SPRINT
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UPDATE: Following the investigation into the incident between Russell and Sainz, the stewards deemed the Brit to be at fault, where the Spaniard lost whole lot of places when the two touched at the exit of Turn 6. He was handed a 3-place drop and one penalty point.
The stewards explained: “The Stewards heard from the driver of Car 63 (George Russell), the driver of car 55 (Carlos Sainz), team representatives and reviewed video evidence. Cars 63 and 55 approached turn 6 with Car 63 on the inside, in the middle of the track, and Car 55 on the outside. Car 63 locked the front brakes briefly and then understeered towards the edge of the track at the exit of the turn and contacted Car 55, which was forced off the circuit and on to the grass.
“Car 63 is judged at fault for the incident. The Stewards note that breaches of the regulations of this sort in a race normally result in time penalties, which are scaled based on normal Grand Prix race lengths. Both because of the shorter length of Sprint Qualifying and because it is used to establish the grid for the race, the Stewards feel that grid position penalties, as imposed here, are more appropriate.”
This drops Russell to 12th, helping Ocon, Sainz and Gasly to move up a place. The Spaniard, subsequently, was cleared of unsafe re-join. He was, though, warned for practice start at the end of FP2 along with Mazepin and Vettel.
“The Stewards heard from the driver of Car 55 (Carlos Sainz) and team representative and reviewed video and telemetry evidence,” stated the stewards report of Sainz’s alleged unsafe re-join. “After being contacted by Car 63, Car 55 left the track at turn 6 and crossed the asphalt runoff area onto the grass. From there, Car 55 crossed the grass at speed and eventually regained the track in turn 7 as a group of cars went through the turn.
“Car 10 took evasive action and narrowly avoided colliding with Car 55 as it came back onto the track. The driver of Car 55 described the actions he took to reduce the speed of the car in order to safely re-join and mitigate what was a potentially dangerous situation. The Stewards examined the video and the telemetry data and found no conclusive evidence that the driver of Car 55 did not take sufficient action to avoid the situation.”