Championship leader Max Verstappen will line up from pole position after winning the first ever Formula 1 sprint at the British Grand Prix, home hero Lewis Hamilton will start alongside the Dutchman. Red Bull Racing team-mate Sergio Pérez will start from last after retiring late on.
After a disappointing qualifying on Friday, it was a perfect Saturday for Verstappen, the Dutchman topped the second free practice session ahead of the first ever Formula 1 sprint. Verstappen lined up second for the seventeen lap sprint, alongside Hamilton.
Verstappen was the quickest to react off the line and led into the first corner, Hamilton remained right behind though as they battled hard for the entire first lap. Hamilton was eager to pass Verstappen but the Dutchman defended like a champion, who after the first lap wasn’t troubled.
It means that Verstappen lines up from pole for the main race on Sunday, with his title-rival right alongside in what looks set to be an exhilarating race. Verstappen enjoyed the first ever sprint race, especially the three championship points that came along with winning the sprint!
“That was good fun. I’m of course happy to score the three points and it’s quite funny to have a pole position from the race as well but we will take it. Around here it is difficult to pass but we had a good start and a good fight with Lewis on the first lap. From then we tried to do our own pace but we were pushing each other hard right to the end as you could see the tyres were blistering which we all had to manage.
“Starting the race on lower fuel we could really push the cars hard through the fast corners, lap after lap, which means it is naturally hard on tyres but we all have the same to watch out for. We now can’t touch the cars for tomorrow and we learnt today that it is very close again with us and Mercedes. It seems that we are very quick in the corners and they are quicker on the straights so tomorrow it’s going to be a really exciting battle and the Team did a great job to manage the new format this weekend.
“I also want to say a big thank you to the fans. I know they are mainly here for the British drivers but it is still great to see them here cheering and all I want is a good battle with Lewis and everyone else tomorrow which should keep the fans entertained.”
“I can only say sorry to the team” – Sergio Pérez
Whilst Verstappen was charging away at the front, Sergio Pérez was trying to comeback from the tail of the field after spinning at high-speed coming out of Chapel early on.
Pérez got a poor start from fifth and was down to seventh within the first handful of corners behind Lando Norris. It was behind Norris that drama struck for Pérez, who lost the rear of his car coming out of Chapel after being caught in the dirty air of the Mclaren F1 Team car.
Thankfully the Mexican kept his Red Bull out of the wall and prevented any serious damage, however as a safety precaution the team decided to retire the car late on. It means that Pérez will start from last on Sunday, a big blow for the driver and the team. Pérez is very disappointed with how his Saturday went.
“It’s a real shame to have to retire from the sprint race today as the car felt quite good. It was a poor day for me and I can only say sorry to the Team as I lost the rear of the car while battling with Lando which ruined our day. I was in the middle of the corner, already picking up quite a lot of throttle and I think I got caught in a bit of dirty air and became a passenger really early in the corner. I avoided any contact but after the spin we had too much vibration on the tyres and that was it.
“The Team were worried about the damage that could be caused with the vibrations, and there wasn’t anything more to gain, so they made the decision to retire the car. We’re at the back of the grid tomorrow and it’s not easy to overtake here, but we look like we have a lot of pace in the car so you can be sure I will be pushing hard to score as many points as possible. It’s a low point for me, but tomorrow is a new day and I look forward to seeing what we can do.”