Max Verstappen secured pole position for the British Grand Prix just two over two tenths of a second ahead of McLaren’s Lando Norris as the British team impressed on home soil with rookie Oscar Piastri third.
At the start of a damp Q1, Verstappen took top spot with a lap of 1:33.535 on soft slick tyres. With 10 minutes remaining, Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso took top spot with a lap of 1:31.437 while Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc then bumped Verstappen to third.
With three minutes left in the session the red flags came out when Haas’ Kevin Magnussen ground to a halt just after Stowe opposite the pit entrance. Just prior to the red flags Sergio Pérez had come into the pits for a new set of soft tyres and he had took up position at the pit exit, waiting for the green lights.
The track took some time to clear, however, and with cold tyres, Pérez was first out on track when running got underway again. First across the line, the Mexican took P1 with his final flyer of 1:29.968 but he was quickly beaten by Williams’ Alex Albon who went half a second quicker. And as more times came in, Pérez plummeted down the order, eventually coming to rest in P16 where he exited the session ahead of AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda, Alfa Romeo’s Zhou Guanyu, the second AlphaTauri of Nyck de Vries and Magnussen.
At the top of the order P1 was taken by McLaren’s Lando Norris ahead of Leclerc and the Mercedes’ pair of George Russell and Lewis Hamilton, with Verstappen in fifth.
At the start of the middle segment Alonso was first across the line in 1:30.660. The Aston Martin driver was swiftly beaten by the Ferraris and then by Norris, who posted a time of 1:29.427. Verstappen then slotted into P2 with an opening flying lap of 1:29.505 before he was bumped to third by Alpine’s Pierre Gasly who went three hundredths of a second quicker.
Alonso then jumped back from P11 to retake P1 with a lap of 1:29.052 as Williams’ Alex Albon took P2, a tenth behind the Spaniard, with Leclerc and Sainz moving to third and fourth.
Verstappen was on another flyer though and he moved back to P1 with a lap of 1:28.570. The track was now getting better and better and moments later McLaren’s Oscar Piastri took top spot, 0.003s ahead of the championship leader. Hamilton bounced Piastri out with a lap of 1:28.545, with four minutes left and a minute later, on the ever-improving surface, Norris jumped to top spot half a second ahead of Hamilton.
With three minutes left, Verstappen, in P4, emerged for a final attempt and the Red Bull driver claimed top spot with a lap of 1:27.702 that ultimately left him 0.143s ahead of Piastri with Norris third, Albon fourth and Sainz in P5.
Eliminated at the end of Q2 were Haas’ Nico Hulkenberg in P11, Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll, Alpine’s Esteban Ocon, Williams’ Logan Sargeant and Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas.
In Q3, Verstappen powered to provisional pole with a lap of 1:27.084. That left him 0.633s ahead of Hamilton, with Piastri third ahead of Leclerc. And in the final runs it initially looked like the Red Bullm driver’s opener would be enough as Leclerc could only get to within a tenth the Dutchman’s run 1 time.
Sainz, too, fell short, but behind him Norris, whose scrappy opener had left him 10th, was putting together a fine lap and when the McLaren driver crossed the line he jumped ahead of Verstappen with a lap of 1:26.961.
The Red Bull driver would not be denied a seventh pole of the season, however, and in the final seconds he crossed the line in 1: 26.720 to beat Norris by 0.241s. Piastri took third place ahead of Leclerc. Sainz qualified fifth ahead of Russell and Hamilton, while Alboin finished eighth ahead of Alonso and Gasly.
2023 FIA Formula 1 British Grand Prix – Qualifying
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing 1:26.720
2 Lando Norris McLaren 1:26.961 0.241
3 Oscar Piastri McLaren 1:27.092 0.372
4 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:27.136 0.416
5 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 1:27.148 0.428
6 George Russell Mercedes 1:27.155 0.435
7 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:27.211 0.491
8 Alex Albon Williams 1:27.530 0.810
9 Fernando Alonso Aston Martin 1:27.659 0.939
10 Pierre Gasly Alpine 1:27.689 0.969
11 Nico Hulkenberg Haas 1:28.896 2.176
12 Lance Stroll Aston Martin 1:28.935 2.215
13 Esteban Ocon Alpine 1:28.956 2.236
14 Logan Sargeant Williams 1:29.031 2.311
15 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo
16 Sergio Perez Red Bull Racing 1:29.968 3.248
17 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri 1:30.025 3.305
18 Zhou Guanyu Alfa Romeo 1:30.123 3.403
19 Nyck de Vries AlphaTauri 1:30.513 3.793
20 Kevin Magnussen Haas 1:32.378 5.658