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F1 British GP: Russell grabs pole from Hamilton, Norris

George Russell led an all-Mercedes front row for the British Grand Prix as he beat Formula 1 team-mate Lewis Hamilton to pole by 0.171 seconds.

A thrilling fight for pole eventually boiled down to a duel between the two Mercedes drivers. Neither Hamilton nor Russell had improved on their first sectors, but started to turn up the dial as their laps progressed.

Hamilton logged a 1m25.990s to lay down the gauntlet, one that Russell picked up and set a 1m25.819s to clinch his third F1 pole.

Russell had earlier led an all-British top three after the opening runs of Q3 by just 0.006s over Norris, as Hamilton and Oscar Piastri were both within touching distance in the battle for pole. Max Verstappen was an outside bet, having been hampered by floor damage sustained during his Q1 excursion through the gravel at Copse.

Norris preserved his place in that top three, but couldn’t improve on his final run and ceded one position to Hamilton to lead the second row alongside Verstappen.

Although Verstappen had managed to dislodge Piastri from the top four, he was unable to make any inroads into the top three and was ultimately four tenths adrift of Russell’s pole time.

Piastri beat an impressive Nico Hulkenberg, as the Haas driver claimed sixth thanks to the boost handed to him by his new upgrades. Carlos Sainz was seventh fastest from Lance Stroll, as Alex Albon beat Fernando Alonso to ninth on the grid.

High track evolution characterised Q2 as the circuit continued to dry out, producing an ever-changing order throughout the 15-minute qualifying phase as the drivers fought until the final second to break into Q3.

Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc looked vulnerable in the final stages of the session, and Leclerc’s move up to seventh in the order sent Verstappen into the drop zone.

But the Dutchman recovered and pulled himself up to sixth to knock Logan Sargeant out of the top 10, and Lance Stroll’s last-ditch effort pushed Leclerc back into the bottom five and cemented the Monegasque’s early bath.

Yuki Tsunoda had spent the majority of the session in the bottom five, and was not able to extricate himself from the drop zone on his final lap – although was just 0.7s shy of Norris’ leading time from Q2.

Zhou Guanyu and Daniel Ricciardo were also knocked out in the middle phase of qualifying, both separated by 0.6s from Tsunoda ahead.

Another big scalp was presented by Sergio Perez, who was dumped out in Q1 after he produced a red flag halfway through changeable conditions in the opening stage of qualifying.

Perez suffered a snap on the entry into Copse on his out-lap on soft tyres after ditching his intermediates, and understeered into the run-off. With limited grip as the asphalt was still wet, the Mexican slipped into the gravel and his Red Bull dug in. This left him stranded and staring down the barrel of a Q1 elimination.

Unsurprisingly, the improvement on soft tyres after the restart ensured that Perez plummeted down the order, spared from the slowest time by Pierre Gasly. The Frenchman is encumbered by penalties for taking new power unit components, and thus will start from the pitlane in any case on Sunday.

Valtteri Bottas had set the first lap on softs after the restart, but had been unable to improve on his time as a brief spurt of rain affected the final five minutes of the session. This also cost Kevin Magnussen, who skittered across the gravel at Copse and retreated to the pits; the Dane could do no better than 17th as he was in the pits at the close of the session.

Esteban Ocon also dropped out, claiming over the radio that his sole push lap in Q1’s final phase came amid the interloping rain.

Cla   Driver   Car / Engine   Time   Delay 
George Russell Mercedes 1’25.819  
Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1’25.990 0.171
Lando Norris McLaren/Mercedes 1’26.030 0.211
Max Verstappen Red Bull/Honda RBPT 1’26.203 0.384
Oscar Piastri McLaren/Mercedes 1’26.237 0.418
Nico Hulkenberg Haas/Ferrari 1’26.338 0.519
Carlos Sainz Ferrari 1’26.509 0.690
Lance Stroll Aston Martin/Mercedes 1’26.585 0.766
Alexander Albon Williams/Mercedes 1’26.640 0.821
10  Fernando Alonso Aston Martin/Mercedes 1’26.917 1.098
11  Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1’27.097 1.278
12  Logan Sargeant Williams/Mercedes 1’27.175 1.356
13  Yuki Tsunoda RB/Honda RBPT 1’27.269 1.450
14  Zhou Guanyu Sauber/Ferrari 1’27.867 2.048
15  Daniel Ricciardo RB/Honda RBPT 1’27.949 2.130
16  Valtteri Bottas Sauber/Ferrari 1’32.431 6.612
17  Kevin Magnussen Haas/Ferrari 1’32.905 7.086
18  Esteban Ocon Alpine/Renault 1’34.557 8.738
19  Sergio Perez Red Bull/Honda RBPT 1’38.348 12.529
20  Pierre Gasly Alpine/Renault 1’39.804 13.985



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