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Hamilton takes pole for Sprint Qualifying

NEWS STORY
16/07/2021

Ahead of today's qualifying session, the air temperature is 25.3 degrees C, while the track temperature is 40.9 degrees.

While still bright and sunny, being that it is 18:00 local time temperatures have fallen since this afternoon's practice session.

Unlike 'traditional' qualifying sessions, only the soft tyres will be used, though in tomorrow's Sprint Qualifying (race) drivers will be given a free choice of tyre, as will be the case on Sunday.

Confused? You will be.

Max Verstappen set a blistering pace earlier, posting a best time 0.780s quicker than title rival Lewis Hamilton, who was third quickest behind Lando Norris.

Both McLaren drivers were in the Top 10, as were the Ferrari pair, along with Sebastian Vettel and Esteban Ocon.

With comparatively minimal set-up time the teams have their work cut out, and with the schedule being what it is, especially in terms of parc ferme, there can be no mistakes. The pressure is very much on.

The lights go green and in no time at all there are eight drivers on track, among them Norris.

As ever, the FIA is cracking down on track limits, this weekend Copse and Stowe being the places of interest.

As they begin their first flying laps it's worth recalling that neither Alonso or the McLaren pair tried the softs earlier.

Giovinazzi goes quickest (28.447), but is immediately demoted when Norris bangs in a 28.277. Gasly goes third, ahead of Alonso and Tsunoda.

The Mercedes pair head out, as do the Bulls.

Alonso reports understeer, a problems that hasn't been resolved since this afternoon.

Hamilton goes quickest with a 27.160, ahead of Bottas (27.487). Leclerc gores third ahead of Perez.

All eyes on Verstappen who winds up ahead of his first flying lap. A purple in S2 is followed by another in S3, the Dutchman crossing the line at 26.751 - 0.409s quicker than Hamilton - despite a late mistake at Club.

Meanwhile, Russell goes eighth (28.297), ahead of Tsunoda, Vettel, Giovinazzi and Alonso.

Ocon is the last driver to post a time, the Frenchman going sixth with a 27.693, clearly benefitting from the new chassis he has been given this weekend.

As Sainz goes fourth (27.677), Leclerc has a huge moment at Club but still manages to post a 27.723 to claim 5th.

Both Ferrari drivers are demoted however, when Alonso posts 27.580 to go fourth.

With 4:40 remaining, the drop zone comprises Ricciardo, Latifi, Stroll, Schumacher and Mazepin, with Vettel, Tsunoda and Russell hovering.

Gasly goes 5th with a 27.600, as Ricciardo posts a 27.615 to go sixth.

Norris goes third (27.444), as Tsunoda posts a 28.043 to go 13th.

As the clock ticks down, all bar Verstappen, Gasly and Alonso are on track.

Lots of PBs in S1, while Sainz goes quickest in the opening sector.

Latifi goes 15th, but it is unlikely to be enough.

Russell goes ninth, Vettel fifth and Ocon third, while Perez posts a 27.121 to go second.

Ricciardo goes fifth, Hamilton second and Tsunoda fails to improve.

Quickest is Verstappen, ahead of Hamilton, Leclerc, Perez, Ricciardo, Sainz, Ocon, Norris, Bottas and Vettel.

We lose Tsunoda, Raikkonen, Latifi, Schumacher and Mazepin.

The lights go green and Q2 gets underway, the McLaren and Mercedes straight out of the box.

Soon all bar Giovinazzi and the Ferraris are on track... must be an Italian thing.

Bottas sets the benchmark with a 26.766, but Hamilton responds with a 26.602.

Ricciardo goes third (27.125), ahead of his teammate who posts (27.247).

Verstappen crosses the line at 26.504, just 0.098s quicker than his title rival.

Perez goes fourth (27.073), ahead of Vettel, Ricciardo, Norris, Ocon, Russell and Alonso.

As Giovinazzi goes 13th (28.138), showering the track with sparks as he runs wide over the kerbs, Perez admits that it "would be good to get a tow".

As the Ferrari pair begin their flying laps, Hamilton goes quickest in S1.

Leclerc posts a 27.218 to go seventh, but is demoted when his teammate posts a 27.202.

Like his teammate, the Monegasque admits to needing "a slipstream".

Gasly, Russell, Alonso, Stroll and Giovinazzi comprise the drop zone with 5 minutes remaining. Both Gasly and Alonso have complained about traffic on their hot laps.

They head out for the final assault, Perez and Vettel the last to appear.

As ever there is jostling for position, with a number of drivers - most notably the Ferrari pair - looking for a tow.

Hamilton goes quickest in S1, the Briton maintaining the pace in S2. He appears to be getting a tow from his teammate.

At the line Hamilton posts 26.023, while Gasly van only manage 10th.

Sainz remains 4th and Leclerc 5th, Alonso goes 10th but is demoted when Russell bangs in a 27.080 to go seventh.

Verstappen improves to 26.315 but remains 0.292s off Hamilton's pace.

Quickest is Hamilton, ahead of Verstappen, Bottas, Sainz, Leclerc, Perez, Russell, Vettel, Ricciardo and Norris.

We lose Alonso, Gasly, Ocon, Giovinazzi and Stroll.

Check out our Friday gallery from Silverstone, here.

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