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Formula One: Red Bull’s Max Verstappen Claims Pole for British Grand Prix

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Max Verstappen took his fifth pole position in a row at the British Grand Prix on Saturday, with McLaren’s home hero Lando Norris joining Red Bull’s runaway Formula One leader on the front row.

“It has been a bit of a crazy qualifying and pretty hectic,” said Verstappen of the wet and dry session run in changeable conditions. “But we stuck to our plans and I am very happy to have pole position.”

McLaren’s Australian rookie Oscar Piastri qualified third fastest, with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc completing the second row.

“This makes up for everything,” Norris said.

“But it’s always Max – he ruins everything for everyone too!” he added.

Verstappen’s team mate and closest title rival Sergio Perez qualified only 16th, the fifth race in a row that the Mexican has failed to reach the top 10 shootout.

Perez is already 81 points behind Verstappen after nine races this season, all won by Red Bull.

British driver Norris generated a huge roar from his home crowd when he topped the times with seconds to go only for Verstappen to nudge him out with his final flying lap.

“It’s always Max. He always ruins everything for everyone,” the McLaren man joked afterwards, drawing laughter from the pole-sitter.

“Very lovely that” said Verstappen over the team radio with his Red Bull team seeking an 11th consecutive victory to equal the feat of McLaren in 1988.

Verstappen, who leads the drivers standings by 81 points, is hunting his sixth straight win but his first ever British Grand Prix victory at the eighth attempt.

After heavy rain, the track was damp as the first qualifying session began with Russell and Hamilton, on slicks, leading the way.

The Ferraris were both on intermediates along with the Haas drivers and Logan Sargeant as Russell set the first time before Hamilton spun into gravel at Stowe and recovered.

As he did, Verstappen went top only to have his lap deleted for exceeding track limits, Alonso taking over as fastest while those on ‘inters’ switched to slicks.

With 10 minutes to go, rain fell again, but not sufficiently to persuade a switch from slicks as Verstappen regained the ascendancy in 1:30.719 ahead of Alonso and Leclerc.

wild finish

“Rain everywhere,” reported Russell, while Albon had a fast lap deleted for track limits, leaving him 20th and last in his Williams, after dazzling in dry conditions in practice.

Team-mate American rookie Sargeant was 18th in a car that had the potential to qualify in the top ten.

With three minutes remaining, the action was red-flagged when Kevin Magnussen parked his Haas on track, close to the pits entry.

This led to a delay before, with Perez and Albon at the head of a queue, a re-start was scheduled – during which Verstappen pulled out, but hit the pit wall and damaged his car’s front wing.

After repairs, he was back out in a congested exit queue before a wild finish on a rapidly drying track saw Norris go top ahead of Leclerc and Russell.

Valtteri Bottas lost power, but survived – leaving Perez, Yuki Tsunoda, Zhou Guanyou, the under-pressure Nyck de Vries and Magnussen all missing out.

Q2 began with Alonso leading out in sunshine before Norris, Sainz, Ocon, Russell and Leclerc outpaced him, only for the Spaniard to respond as the track dried again.

In a flurry of improved laps, Hamilton went top to be dislodged by Norris, both on fresh tyres, but when the flag waved, it was Verstappen ahead of Piastri and Norris.

Nico Hulkenberg, Lance Stroll, Esteban Ocon, Sargeant and Bottas were eliminated and Drag Reduction System (DRS) was enabled for the top-ten shootout as the track was declared dry.

Hamilton topped in 1:27.717, but the Dutchman beat that by more than six-tenths in 1:27.084 to retain his supremacy, with Piastri third ahead of Leclerc and Sainz after the initial laps.

All pitted for fresh rubber and a final charge with four minutes remaining – Leclerc and Sainz this time at the head of the pit-lane queue – but it was Verstappen who held the upper hand again to beat Norris.

(With inputs from Agncies)

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