Russell beats Hamilton to pole as Mercedes seal 1-2 in British GP qualifying

The Mercedes pair locked out the front row for the 2024 British GP to make history at Silverstone

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George Russell beat Lewis Hamilton to pole position during British GP qualifying for the Formula 1 2024 British Grand Prix with the fans treated to an all-English front row at Silverstone.

In a repeat of FP3, Russell secured his second pole position of the season by nearly two seconds of a second ahead of Hamilton, with Lando Norris making it an all-British podium in front of a huge crowd for the first time.

Max Verstappen could only qualify fourth ahead of Oscar Piastri, with Nico Hulkenberg sixth, Carlos Sainz seventh, Lance Stroll, Fernando Alonso and Alex Albon making up the rest of the top 10.

Rain had wreaked havoc in the earlier FP3 session and delayed the F2 Sprint race too, meaning that the track was still damp by the time Q1 started. As a result, wet weather tyre conditions were implemented by FIA Race Control as every team started on intermediate tyres.

George Russell celebrates winning 2024 Austrian GP | Mercedes
George Russell sealed his second pole position of the season | Mercedes

But there was a fine line between a dry track and a slippery one, as Sergio Perez found out to his misfortune.

On the soft tyre in Q1, the Mexican veered off track on the wet run-off area and spun off into the gravel, essentially ruling him out of qualifying, and he will start 19th.

The red flag was brought out to stop the session, and while the teams prepared to restart the session, the rain arrived earlier than expected. With only seven minutes and 30 seconds left before the checkered flag, the drivers faced a race against the clouds to get their laps in.

Verstappen struggles in British GP qualifying

From there, it was nothing short of chaos. The rain briefly returned and caused Verstappen to run off onto the gravel at Copse Corner, but unlike Perez, he managed to carry on going. Meanwhile, Hamilton set the fastest time of the session, with Verstappen scraping through in 11th despite being some 1.7 seconds adrift of the Mercedes star.

Esteban Ocon and Kevin Magnussen were the unexpected casualties from Q1 as Zhou Guanyu and Logan Sargeant surprisingly put themselves in the top 15 to secure their respective places in Q2.

Max Verstappen during final practice ahead of 2024 British Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool
Max Verstappen during final practice ahead of 2024 British Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Even with the track drying, it was no easier for the drivers to find the grip on the soft tyre as Verstappen – usually one of the pace-setters – could only go P8 after sustaining floor damage in Q1. But the Dutchman produced a lap under pressure to squeeze through in sixth, with Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri leading a McLaren 1-2 in Q2.

Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc wasn’t quick enough, however, to avoid a shock elimination after Lance Stroll improved his time at the checkered flag, and the Monegasque will start Sunday’s race from 11th on the grid.

Joe Krishnan
Joe Krishnan
Joe Krishnan is an NCTJ-qualified journalist who has worked for a number of media organisations, including the Daily Express, The Mirror, Evening Standard, The Independent and Bleacher Report. Joe has been following F1 since when he watched Mika Hakkinen clinch the 1999 drivers' championship, and his first taste of real-life racing action was watching David Coulthard spin off into the gravel at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone in 2001.
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