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Russell Takes Pole In British 1-2-3 At Silverstone

  • SPORT
  • 4 min read

George Russell led Lewis Hamilton in a Mercedes front-row lockout in qualifying for the British Grand Prix on Saturday with McLaren’s Lando Norris completing a rare one-two-three of home drivers.

Red Bull’s Formula One championship leader Max Verstappen qualified fourth, after damaging his car by bouncing across the gravel at Copse in the first phase.

McLaren’s Oscar Piastri was fifth fastest on a drying track after light rain.

“What a feeling, what a feeling,” said Russell, the winner in Austria last weekend, as the Silverstone crowd roared and the achievement of a first home pole — and only his fourth anywhere — sunk in.

“At the start of this year we (Mercedes) couldn’t have even dreamt of being on pole here and one-two for us and Lando P3, it’s just mega.

“This is definitely one of the best feelings I’ve ever had on a Saturday afternoon.”

Russell had been on provisional pole by a knife-edge from Norris after the first flying laps but the Mercedes drivers made sure of the one-two with their final efforts while the McLaren man slipped up.

Hamilton went fastest of the three, Norris aborted his lap and Russell grabbed pole at the chequered flag in one minute 25.819 seconds.

Seven-times world champion Hamilton, a record eight-times winner at Silverstone, set a time of 1:25.990 and Norris 1:26.030.

“I think ultimately there was still time left on the table, which George was able to find,” said Hamilton, now out-qualified by his team mate 10 times in 12 races in his last season before moving to Ferrari.

“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.”

SUMMER SHOWERS

The trio had already fired up the crowd, undeterred by cold conditions and occasional summer showers that could return during Sunday’s race, with the same order in final practice.

It was the first time three Britons had qualified in the top three since Jim Clark, Graham Hill and Jackie Stewart at the 1968 South African Grand Prix. Lotus duo Clark and Hill went on to finish one-two.

The last home one-two-three on the British Grand Prix grid was at Aintree in 1962 with Clark, John Surtees and Innes Ireland.

“I’m happy with P3. Three Brits lock out the top three, so pretty cool,” said Norris, who is Verstappen’s closest rival but 81 points behind. “A little mistake on my part at the end but P3 is still good.”

While Mercedes and McLaren battled, Red Bull stumbled.

Verstappen said the slippery track had caught him out: “I had to go through the dirt…skating through the gravel, trying to not hit the wall. But I destroyed the floor,” he said.

“From there onwards, it was trying to survive…I was happy to get into Q3 because the car was a massive step down. To be P4, I’m quite happy with that.”

Verstappen’s under-performing team mate Sergio Perez spun off at Copse and beached his car in the gravel in the first session.

The Mexican qualified 19th, ahead of only Alpine’s Pierre Gasly who knew he would be starting last due to engine penalties.

Perez has scored only 15 points in his last five races, a meagre haul at a time when Red Bull are fighting a resurgent McLaren, and is under pressure despite having his contract extended last month.

“I got caught out with the conditions. I was trying to warm up the tyres into turn nine but as I downshifted, I locked up the rear tyre and it went off the track,” he said.

“It hurts to let your team down that way, it hurts a lot because I think the weekend was strong up to now.”

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc provided the shock of the second phase, ending up 11th while Williams’s Alex Albon and Haas’s Nico Hulkenberg qualified ninth and sixth respectively.

Spaniard Carlos Sainz will start seventh at the circuit where he took his first win in 2022 with Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll eighth. The Canadian’s Spanish team mate Fernando Alonso qualified 10th.

Reuters