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Norris almost steals Verstappen's thunder in Silverstone qualifying


Ahead of today's qualifying session the air temperature is 21 degrees C, while the track temperature is 22 degrees.

While FP3 got underway in bright but overcast conditions, this eventually gave way to light drizzle and then heavy rain. The rain continued leaving the track wet for the F2 Feature race and while it has now stopped the track remains damp with the threat of further downpours.

Though he never got to run yesterday afternoon, Leclerc showed no ill effects earlier, topping the timesheets ahead of an ever impressive Albon.

Though we were getting some idea of the pecking order yesterday, the uncertainty over the weather has somewhat turned things on their head.

Yesterday, in the dry, Verstappen ruled the roost - as ever - but unlike Mercedes and Ferrari he never got to run the softs this morning.

While Ferrari is the only team that hasn't brought any updates this weekend, those introduced over the last couple of races appear to be working well.

On the other hand, Mercedes continues to confuse, though race pace is excellent, the W14's single lap pace is abysmal.

Indeed, a number of teams are not happy this weekend, especially AlphaTauri, which, ironically, has brought the most upgrades. However, as we know, wet weather can be the great leveller.

Minutes before the start of Q1 it starts to rain again, albeit only lightly. However, race control claims a 100% chance if further downpours.

The lights go green and Russell heads the queue of eager beavers, all desperate to get in that all-important banker lap.

As they head out there's a mixture of softs and Inters, and though most are on the red-banded rubber, the Ferraris are on Inters, as are the Haas pair and Sargeant.

"We box for dry," says Leclerc halfway through his out lap.

Indeed, the other Inter runners follow his example and pit for slicks.

Hamilton spins at Stowe, as Russell posts a 35.257 and Bottas a 36.619.

Replay shows the Mercedes driver touched the (wet) white line marking the inside of the track and lost it.

Ocon goes quickest with a 34.204, but Verstappen responds with a 33.535.

Russell improves to second, while Bottas goes third ahead of Ocon and Zhou.

Sargeant claims that it has started to rain.

Alonso goes quickest (31.437) and Stroll second, while de Vries goes third and Tsunoda fourth.

Having had his previous time deleted, Verstappen now goes second with a 32.145. De Vries and Norris have their times deleted also.

Leclerc goes fourth, ahead of de Vries, Tsunoda, Russell and Gasly.

Norris goes third (32.413) but is demoted when Leclerc improves to second.

"We're expecting light drizzle in four minutes," Verstappen is told, as his teammate is down in 18th.

A 31.414 sees Russell go top, as Ocon goes fifth and Sargeant eighth.

Alonso retakes the top spot with a 30.730 as Hamilton goes third with a 32.023.

The times are forever changing, with Stroll, Piastri, Tsunoda and de Vries all improving.

"Light rain in the pitlane," Hamilton is warned.

As Verstappen goes top with a 30.719, Perez improves to twelfth with a 32.162.

Sainz improves to eighth (31.865), but is demoted when Leclerc and Ocon improve.

Despite his pace yesterday, Albon is currently 12th. The youngster is really struggling with the Williams in these conditions.

"It's raining everywhere at the moment," reports Russell.

Adding to Albon's misery, the Thai driver has his best time deleted.

"Guys, guys, you gave me an unsafe release," says de Vries.

With 4:00 remaining, Magnussen, Zhou, Sargeant, Bottas and Albon comprise the drop zone, with Hulkenberg, Perez and Norris hovering.

"I almost crashed into the Alfa (of Zhou) there, it was close," says Ocon. "We'll look into it," he is told.

Magnussen stops on track at Vale. "Everything switched off," he reports.

The session is red-flagged with 3:11 remaining.

As it stands, Verstappen is quickest, ahead of Alonso, Leclerc, Sainz, Hamilton, Russell, Ocon, Stroll, Piastri and Zhou.

Though there is no indication of when the session will resume, the Williams pair head down the pitlane.

Oh dear, though the session is still under the red flag, Verstappen has clipped the pit wall while exiting his garage and damaged his front wing.

"I just understeered and it didn't grip," he admits.

The session resumes and Perez leads the field back on to the track, the Mexican followed by Albon, Sargeant, Bottas and Zhou.

It seems to take forever before the remaining few cars finally head out.

Stuck behind Hamilton, Verstappen is clearly frustrated.

Albon goes quickest in S1, suggesting the track is ramping up.

This is going to get wild.

Norris goes quickest in S1, as Perez goes quickest overall with a 29.968.

Albon goes top and Sargent second.

Bottas gores second and Zhou fifth.

Norris goes top and Piastri fifth, as Stroll goes second.

Alonso goes seventh, while Hulkenberg goes fourth.

Russell goes second, Hamilton fourth and Verstappen fifth.

Bottas has an issue and stops his car at Turn 7, complaining of no power.

Meanwhile, the session ends with Norris quickest and Perez out for the fifth successive race.

Quickest is Norris, ahead of Leclerc, Russell, Hamilton, Verstappen, Stroll, Albon, Gasly, Hulkenberg and Ocon.

We lose Perez, Tsunoda, Zhou, de Vries and Magnussen.

A few drivers feeling they were impeded, including Leclerc who accuses his teammate. "Nice Carlos, good overtake in the final corner."

"It was unfair what you asked me to do there, sacrifice my tyre temperature," says Sainz. "Also, I'm more at risk, I'm P4 and he's P3."

There was also a little argy-bargy involving Hamilton and Verstappen.

"Light rain any minute now," Alonso is informed, "but it is light."

The Spaniard leads the way, followed by Stroll, Sargeant, Leclerc and Sainz. Softs very much the order of the day.

Leclerc asks is he has priority this weekend. He is told that he has.

Alonso posts a 30.660 but this is soon beaten by a number of drivers, with Norris going top with a 29.427.

Gasly is second, ahead of Verstappen, Piastri, Sainz, Ocon and Russell.

Sargeant has his time deleted.

Leclerc goes quickest in S1, as Alonso also looks set to improve.

The Spaniard crosses the line at 29.052 to go top, while Leclerc can only manage second (29.247).

A 29.152 sees Albon go second, as Sargeant has his time deleted again.

Sainz goes fourth and Verstappen seventh, as both Mercedes drivers are in the drop zone.

Stroll has his time deleted as teammate Alonso pits.

Verstappen goes quickest in S2, as Piastri also looks set to improve.

Verstappen posts a 28.570 but Piastri responds with a 28.567.

The Mercedes pair are trading fastest sector times, Hamilton crossing the line at 28.545 to go top, while stops the clock at 28.782 to go fourth.

All eyes on Norris who looks set to improve, the McLaren driver going quickest with a 28.042.

With less than three minutes remaining, Ocon, Hulkenberg, Stroll, Sargeant and Bottas comprise the drop zone.

Both the Ferrari drivers posts PBs in the first sector, as does Albon. Leclerc goes quickest in S2, as Verstappen goes quickest in S1.

Leclerc goes second overall (28.361), however his teammate responds with a 28.265.

Albon goes second and Alonso fifth.

Leclerc is warned that Ocon is behind and on a push lap.

Verstappen goes quickest (27.202) and Piastri second, ahead of Norris.

Stroll goes tenth, while Ocon fails to improve.

Gasly goes ninth at the death.

Replay shows Ocon and Stroll almost tripping up over one another... understandable when you consider how fast and frantic these sessions have been.

Quickest is Verstappen, ahead of Piastri, Norris, Albon, Sainz, Leclerc, Alonso, Hamilton, Gasly and Russell.

We lose Hulkenberg, Stroll, Ocon, Sargeant and Bottas.

Check out our Saturday gallery from Silverstone here.


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