SILVERSTONE, UK, 17 July 2021 (AFP) – Dutchman Max Verstappen (Red Bull) won the first qualifying race in Formula 1 history this Saturday and will start from pole position at Sunday’s British Grand Prix at the circuit at Silverstone.
After starting in second place, Verstappen, who led the drivers’ championship, overcame current runner-up Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes), before maintaining the lead in this new F1-testing format for 17 laps.
Two drivers will start the race, with 52 laps in the front row.
“We put a lot of pressure on each other because the tires were getting too hot,” Verstappen said.
“We started very well and then we had to manage the tyres all the way,” explained the Dutchman, who had blisters on his tyres, as did Hamilton.
“We have to make sure we do the same tomorrow,” he said.
The 100 km run in 25 minutes helped Verstappen finish his fourth and eighth consecutive pole in his career.
In addition, he adds three points at Worlds, while Hamilton two and Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes), third place, one point. The young Red Bull driver now has a 33-point advantage over Hamilton ahead of the 10th race of the 23-point championship.
If he wins Hamilton at the GP at the British ‘home’, where he has climbed to the top of the podium seven times (a record), the Dutchman will take an almost decisive step towards his first world title at the age of 23. .
– Hamilton is not convinced – in front of 105,000 spectators (86,000 on Friday and 140,000 are expected on Sunday), Hamilton took the opportunity to thank fans: “You have that energy. Can’t imagine what this crowd gives me.”
But he had no regrets that he could not make the first place. In his opinion, Red Bull was “just too fast”.
With this result, seven-time world champion, Hamilton, with 100 poles, a record since the previous one, won in Spain in May. In terms of GP wins, Hamilton has been plagued by five consecutive races without climbing to the top of the podium.
‘Sir Lewis’ had set the fastest time in the ‘Classic’ standings on Friday, but he needed confirmation by winning this unprecedented qualifying race.
With this format, F1 seeks to renew itself by offering one event a day over the entire weekend (Rank-Sprint-Grand Prix). Many experts, fans, team leaders and even drivers are not convinced with the new format.
Hamilton himself declared that it would be “a procession” without overtaking. And it is true that nothing much happened except the initial overtaking from the front.
Still unconvinced by the news, he called on organizers to reconsider this new format if they want to keep it until 2022.
– Alonso stands out – Emotions back even further. Veteran Fernando Alonso (Alpine), 39, started from 11th position and took six places in the first corners, but lost his momentum to finish in seventh.
On the grid, Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) will be second in line with Bottas, ahead of McLaren by Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo.
The biggest hit of the day, Mexican Sergio Pérez, suffered a crash on the fifth lap. After starting fifth on Saturday, the second Red Bull Rider will start on the last Sunday.
— Starting England GP Grid:
Max Verstappen (HOL/Red Bull-Honda)
Lewis Hamilton (GBR/Mercedes)
Valtteri Bottas (Fin/Mercedes)
Charles Leclerc (Mon/Ferrari)
Lando Norris (GBR/McLaren-Mercedes)
Daniel Ricciardo (Australia / McLaren-Mercedes)
Fernando Alonso (ESP/Alpine-Renault)
Sebastian Vettel (ALE / Aston Martin-Mercedes)
George Russell (GBR/Williams-Mercedes)
Esteban Ocon (FRA/Alpine-Renault)
Carlos Sainz Jr. (ESP/Ferrari)
Pierre Gasly (FRA / AlphaTauri-Honda)
Kimi Raikkonen (Fin / Alfa Romeo-Ferrari)
Lance Stroll (CAN/Aston Martin-Mercedes)
Antonio Giovinazzi (ITA / Alfa Romeo-Ferrari)
Yuki Sotaka (JPN/Alphatauri-Honda)
Nicholas Latifi (CAN/Williams-Mercedes)
Mick Schumacher (ALE/Haas-Ferrari)
Nikita Mazepin (Rus/Haas-Ferrari)
Sergio Perez (MEX / Red Bull-Honda)