Verstappen beats Hamilton to qualify on pole position for the British GP

17-07-2021 17:00 | Updated: 17-07-2021 17:05
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Verstappen beats Hamilton to qualify on pole position for the British GP

Max Verstappen has qualified on pole for the 2021 British Grand Prix by winning Formula 1's first-ever sprint race at Silverstone. The Dutchman started from P2 and overtook his World Championship rival off the start line. He will start from pole for the fourth consecutive race as he continues to take control of the Championship in 2021. 

Lewis Hamilton will start from second place, with Valtteri Bottas rounding out the top three. Verstappen will be without Perez who spun during the sprint. He was forced to retire the car and will be unable to help Verstappen strategically in Sunday's race. 

Verstappen got off the line quicker than Hamilton and led by the time the field hit turn one. The two World Championship rivals had a fantastic duel on the opening lap of the race. The Dutchman eventually pulled away to escape the DRS zone. 

Verstappen records the eighth pole position of his career, five of which have happened during the 2021 F1 season. As Hamilton demonstrated Mercedes are still in the fight for the Championship by going fastest in qualifying, but it's Verstappen who will start from pole for the Grand Prix.

Perez proved how costly a mistake can be in sprint qualifying. The Mexican spun and lost control of his car. He avoided the barriers but dropped down to P19. This means Perez will find it hard to help his Red Bull teammate in a strategic fight with Mercedes in Sunday's British Grand Prix. 

This weekend forms the first of three trials in the 2021 season where an alternative weekend format is tested. On Friday night, the drivers completed 'normal qualifying' which formed the grid for the sprint race. The result of the sprint race forms the grid for the 2021 British Grand Prix, taking place on Sunday at Silverstone. In addition, teams and drivers only had two hours of practice. 

The winner of the sprint race received three championship points, second place scored two points and third place picked up one point. 

Mad dash

Most drivers opted for the medium tyre, including both Hamilton and Verstappen on the front row. Mercedes opted for a punchy strategy by placing third-placed starter Bottas on the soft tyres to go and hunt down Verstappen. 

But the Dutchman didn't have anything to worry about as he got the better start over rival Hamilton. Verstappen led going into turn two before the two drivers exchanged a fantastic duel on the first lap. Alonso proved he wasn't going to be cautious as moved up from 11th to 5th on the opening lap. 

Hamilton tried to pass Verstappen but had to pull out which caused the Mercedes driver to lose ground. Crucially for Red Bull, Perez had dropped down to P7 by lap four. On lap five, Perez lost control of his car and spun around. He managed to avoid any of the barriers but proved just how harmful a mistake can be during sprint qualifying. The Mexican dropped down to 19th place and spent the rest of the afternoon catching up. 

Mercedes' plan to put Bottas on the soft tyres wasn't working out. By lap 10, Charles Leclerc was on the hunt as Bottas' grip started to wear down. Blistering on the medium tyres also took place, with both Verstappen and Hamilton picking up blisters. But they both made it to the end without trouble. 

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