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Formula 1 returns to Silverstone with World Champion Max Verstappen. Last year, it was one of the hottest points between Verstappen and Hamilton with, you remember, the huge box that Max took after the touch between Lewis and him.
This year, the Mercedes is no longer flamboyant, even if at Silverstone the teams bring lots of new things. On the Mercedes, this seems to calm the porpoising: a much lighter front wing, different elements on the flat bottom, the car has plenty of details that seem to have their effect. Unless it’s just a coincidence here? Anyway, the car is on the ground.
Note also Alpine with new pontoons “à la Ferrari”, or Williams too. The rain comes at the last minute of this qualification! 16° in the air, 23° on the runway.
Q1: Aston Martin knocked out at home
Obviously everyone goes out quickly to have the track with the least rain because it should not stop during these 18 minutes or at the very end. Everyone is in between. And it jams at the end of the lap, it’s silly because the tires cool down.
The gaps are huge with some drivers in 1min50 and others in 1min45, or even less. As the laps and corners go by, the tires heat up more and the times go down. The last on track (if green flag) will be “right”. 1min42s1 for Leclerc, 7 tenths more for Leclerc. Obviously, the teams used a lot of gas to do several flying laps.
The big question is the Alpines who still have no time at 8 min 30 from the end. 1min40s452 for Verstappen! Leclerc 2d, Russell 3rd ahead of Perez. But, that will still change. Ocon provisional 7th, Latifi and Albon are qualified for the moment, but there are 6 minutes left. Alonso 5th, but 2 seconds behind Verstappen!
Lots of drivers come in to put on a new set of tyres. Sufficient ? Not sure. Zhou climbs to 5th place provisionally. Verstappen passes under the minute forty in 1:39.975. The rain has stopped but the track remains damp and frankly wet outside the trajectory. Ricciardo is taking a slap from Norris with a 1.5 second gap. Go last minute of Q1.
Ocon pass! Alonso too, we blow on the Alpine side. In the end, Albon fails to move into Q2, but not Latifi! Kudos to the Canadian. So we have Albon, Magnussen, Vettel, Schumacher and Stroll who are eliminated.
Q2: Latifi surprises her world
By the time the cars returned to the pits, the rain fell and above all the track was once again wet everywhere. The trace no longer really exists and times are much slower. 1min41s4 for Verstappen ahead of Perez and Alonso. But the times will go down again. Here is Leclerc again in the provisional lead and the track seems to dry out slightly on the trajectory.
The proof, Verstappen leaves the trajectory slightly and must go off to Chapelle. Times slip, like cars. We have Verstappen ahead of Hamilton, Leclerc, Sainz, Russell, Norris, Alonso, Perez, Zhou and… Latifi who is praying to move into Q3! For the moment, Gasly, Bottas, Tsunoda, Ricciardo and Ocon are provisionally eliminated.
The Alpine d’Ocon slides in all directions. The French tries to pass but the track is very slow. Ocon is eliminated, 15th. Gasly will not be able to improve and will be the first eliminated in 11th place. But it’s better in the hierarchy than the times in the dry in the end. Gasly, Bottas, Tsunoda, Ricciardo and Ocon are eliminated. Latifi passes for the first time in his career in Q3! It had its day at the very beginning of Q2 and the track deteriorated thereafter. Good game !
Q3: the first this Carlos Sainz!
The rain seems to be reducing in intensity. Many pilots still go quickly on the track. We will have to quickly make the trace because Q3 is shorter. And the showers could return at the end of Q3. Quick quick time! The pilots are in between. Why not put the “full wet”? Because the blue tires are slow, too slow in these conditions.
The drivers lose 4 seconds, just in the first sector compared to the best lap times. Magnificent 360° of Verstappen! A real beautiful 360° à la Jean Ragnotti. And Zhou sets the fastest time! But no ! Alonso puts him 3.2 seconds and takes the provisional lead.
The track suddenly seems to speed up. Leclerc is in first provisional position with 1:44.844. Verstappen is 2d at 43 thousandths only. Well, Latifi got out but was able to get back on track. 1:42.996 for Verstappen. This Q3 is crazy. Finally there is a clearing and the track is dry. Hamilton and Russell are just behind the Red Bull.
Leclerc moved up to 2nd place by 4 thousandths ahead of Hamilton. Sainz is down the street in 8th place. Hamilton goes back 2d to 27 thousandths. Alonso 3rd provisionally. Lecler and Verstappen improve their sectors. And Sainz takes the lead. But Leclerc beats him. Verstappen beats him too! There is one last lap before the checkered flag. 1:41.055 for Verstappen.
Alonso climbed to 5th fastest time just before the end of this qualification. One more round for him. Sainz in 1:40.983! Leclerc fails! And Verstappen too! Hamilton is 4th!
It’s the first pole for Carlos Sainz!
Silverstone 2022 qualifying result
1st career pole for Sainz, but also the 104th driver to sign a pole. He is only the second Spaniard after Fernando Alonso. The French are probably disappointed even if Gasly in 11th position is probably unexpected because his AlphaTauri is struggling at Silverstone.
The Mercedes seem easier to drive, but we will have to see in the dry. Last point, the English public are as stupid as the Dutch public in whistling and booing Verstappen.
|2||Max VERSTAPPEN||Red Bull Racing|
|4||Sergio PEREZ||Red Bull Racing|
|9||Guanyu Zhou||Alfa Romeo|
|11||Pierre Gasley||Alpha Tauri|
|12||Valtteri BOTTAS||Alfa Romeo|
|13||Yuki TSUNODA||Alpha Tauri|
|17||Kevin MAGNUSSEN||Haas F1 Team|
|18||Sebastian VETTEL||Aston Martin|
|19||Mick Schumacher||Haas F1 Team|
|20||Lance STROLL||Aston Martin|
Carlos Sainz has achieved the incredible! He signs his first pole position in his career after qualifying marked by rain. The other incredible fact: Latifi passed in Q3. Tomorrow will be another day and on a dry track, we should find Verstappen in good shape.