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British Grand Prix: Max Verstappen deprives Lando Norris of pole position

British Grand Prix: Max Verstappen deprives Lando Norris of pole position

SILVERSTONE, UK – Lando Norris almost delighted the fans with a pole position in qualifying for the Formula 1 British Grand Prix. But there was a problem: Max Verstappen.

“It’s still Max,” Norris joked, after the Dutchman beat his time on Saturday on his way to a fifth in a row.

British spectators showed their delight when Norris briefly took the lead in the dying moments of the final qualifying round, before Verstappen drove faster to finally beat Norris’ time by 241 thousandths of a second.

The result may seem routine in Formula 1 – the Red Bulls have nine pole positions in 10 races – but it came after a tense session, after another defeat from Sergio Perez, Verstappen’s teammate, and a moment of danger for the Dutch pilot himself.

Verstappen made contact with the pit wall and cut off his front wing as he left his garage during a red flag stop in the first part of qualifying.

“I just minimized my point of view and I have no control,” he told the team over the radio.

Red Bull replaced the wing and checked it for further damage before Verstappen continued. However, he was at the back of a group of cars but managed to work his way through the field to set up a fast lap, riding alongside old rival Lewis Hamilton all the way.

For his part, Perez had to settle for 16th, thus finishing outside the top ten in qualifying for a fifth consecutive race, and for the sixth time in 2023.

The McLaren drivers were the stars of qualifying with rookie Oscar Piastri, Norris’ teammate, setting the third fastest time.

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Despite missing out on what would have been McLaren’s first pole position since 2021, Norris and Bestre were full of praise for the team’s much-improved car after a lackluster start to the season.

“It’s a big step in the right direction,” said Piastri, who felt the car was like a “rocket” and the wet conditions suited McLaren.

It wasn’t a very productive day for the Aston Martins of Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll. Alonso was the better of the two finishing ninth while Quebec finished twelfth.

“This was not the qualifying we wanted in a difficult session in dry conditions,” Alonso said in the official Aston Martin statement.

“We still have a long race ahead of us tomorrow and our pace on Sunday is usually one of the strengths of this car. We are again into stage three qualifying, but we must continue to understand our car on the various circuits. The weather can change tomorrow too Like today, we have to stay focused and see what we can do in racing conditions.”

For his part, Stroll believes a better qualifying result can be achieved on Saturday.

“The red flag forced us to use a third set of tires in the first stage of qualifying which meant we didn’t have a fresh set of tires in the second session which put us in a lower position than the others.”

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz will start fourth and fifth, ahead of Mercedes’ George Russell and Hamilton.

Alexander Albon, Williams, will start from eighth.

Pierre Gasly (Alpine) will complete the top ten on the starting grid.

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First line:

Max Verstappen (NED / Red Bull)

Lando Norris (GBR / McLaren-Mercedes)

second line:

Oscar Biastri (Australia/McLaren-Mercedes)

Charles Leclerc (MON/Ferrari)

Third line:

Carlos Sainz Jr (Spain/Ferrari)

George Russell (GBR/Mercedes)

Fourth line:

Lewis Hamilton (GBR/Mercedes)

Alexander Albon (THA/Williams-Mercedes)

Fifth line:

Fernando Alonso (Spain/Aston Martin-Mercedes)

Pierre Gasly (France / Alpine-Renault)

Sixth line:

Nico Hulkenberg (GER/Haas-Ferrari)

Lance Stroll (Canada/Aston Martin-Mercedes)

Seventh line:

Esteban Ocon (FRA/Alpine-Renault)

Logan Sargeant (USA/Williams Mercedes)

Eighth line:

Valtteri Bottas (FIN / Alfa Romeo-Ferrari)

Sergio Perez (Mexico / Red Bull)

Ninth line:

Yuki Tsunoda (Japan / AlphaTauri-Red Bull)

Zhou Guanyu (CHN/Alfa Romeo-Ferrari)

Tenth line:

Nic de Vries (NED/AlphaTauri-Red Bull)

Kevin Magnussen (DEN/Haas Ferrari)