Max on pole for British GP after sprint race victory: 'A good fight with Lewis'

Published on 17 July 2021 by Kees-Jan Koster

Max Verstappen won the first ever sprint race in Formula 1 history on Silverstone circuit. Max had a great start from second position on the grid and took the lead when entering the first corner, which he did not give up again. By winning the sprint race, Max will start the British Grand Prix from pole position and he also receives three championship points. Lewis Hamilton finished one and a half seconds behind Verstappen in P2, with Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas in third position.

After the sprint race the top three is driven around the circuit and Max was given a laurel wreath. Waving to the fans, Verstappen says: “It is hard to overtake, but we had a good start and a good fight with Lewis in the first lap. We tried to do our own pace, but you could see we were pushing each other hard and at the end of the race the tyres were blistering. We had to manage that to the end, but nevertheless I am happy with the three points we scored. It sounds a bit funny that we scored a pole position, but we will take it. I think it will be a very exciting battle again tomorrow.”

Asked if Max expects to also win tomorrow he says: “We are not allowed to touch the car. We are quicker in the corners so we have to make sure we do the same tomorrow. The straight line speed, that is the thing. After free practice you cannot make any changes and it is a bit tricky for us now, I still think we can have a very strong race. I just want to say a big thank you to the fans. I know they are here for the British drivers, it is great to see them cheer and all I want is a good battle with Lewis.”

Under a shining sun on the Silverstone circuit the first ever sprint race in the Formula 1 history is held. During qualifying Friday afternoon, Lewis Hamilton took the first position on the grid for the sprint race, with Max Verstappen next to him in P2. The result of the seventeen lap sprint race will determine the grid for the Grand Prix on Sunday. The winner will also get three points, with two points for P2 and 1 point for P3.

Valtteri Bottas, Fernando Alonso, Esteban Ocon and Kimi Raikkonen are the only drivers with soft tyres on their cars. The other drivers have chosen the medium compound tyres. On the grid the left front brake of Verstappen’s RB16B is on fire, but this does not prevent a superb start of the Dutchman, taking the lead from Hamilton when entering the first corner. Nikita Mazepin spins in turn three, but can continue the race. In the first lap Max has to defend a couple of times against the upcoming Hamilton, but he can stay ahead of the Brit. At the end of the first lap Max is in the lead, followed by Hamilton. Bottas is third, with Charles Leclerc and Fernando Alonso in P4 and P5.

In the fifth lap Sergio Perez spins when exiting Chapel Curve. The Mexican slides over the gravel but can keep the car away from the barriers and continue the race. Lando Norris is overtaking Fernando Alonso for P5 at the same time. The Spaniard had a great start on the soft tyres, but is now losing ground to the drivers behind him. A couple of laps later also Danial Ricciardo in his McLaren overtakes Alonso for P6.

During the rest of the race there are no changes in the order in the lead. Max wins the sprint race, giving him pole position for the British Grand Prix. He also receives three championship points. Lewis Hamilton finishes second, one and a have seconds behind Verstappen, with Valtteri Bottas in P3. Charles Leclerc finishes fourth, with behind him both McLaren’s of Norris and Ricciardo. Alonso finishes in the end in  seventh position, with Sebastian Vettel, George Russell and Esteban Ocon completing the top ten.

Contest British GP: win a signed Max Verstappen Orange Driver Cap 2021!

Results sprint qualifying Great Britain:

1Max VerstappenVERRed Bull Racing Honda1725:38.4263
2Lewis HamiltonHAMMercedes17+1.430s2
3Valtteri BottasBOTMercedes17+7.502s1
4Charles LeclercLECFerrari17+11.278s0
5Lando NorrisNORMcLaren Mercedes17+24.111s0
6Daniel RicciardoRICMcLaren Mercedes17+30.959s0
7Fernando AlonsoALOAlpine Renault17+43.527s0
8Sebastian VettelVETAston Martin Mercedes17+44.439s0
9George RussellRUSWilliams Mercedes17+46.652s0
10Esteban OconOCOAlpine Renault17+47.395s0
11Carlos SainzSAIFerrari17+47.798s0
12Pierre GaslyGASAlphaTauri Honda17+48.763s0
13Kimi RäikkönenRAIAlfa Romeo Racing Ferrari17+50.677s0
14Lance StrollSTRAston Martin Mercedes17+52.179s0
15Antonio GiovinazziGIOAlfa Romeo Racing Ferrari17+53.225s0
16Yuki TsunodaTSUAlphaTauri Honda17+53.567s0
17Nicholas LatifiLATWilliams Mercedes17+55.162s0
18Mick SchumacherMSCHaas Ferrari17+68.213s0
19Nikita MazepinMAZHaas Ferrari17+77.648s0
20Sergio PerezPERRed Bull Racing Honda16DNF0