Mercedes lock out front row ahead of British GP

MERCEDES’ British driver George Russell reacts after the qualifying session ahead of the British Grand Prix at Silverstone yesterday. | AFP

MERCEDES’ British driver George Russell reacts after the qualifying session ahead of the British Grand Prix at Silverstone yesterday. | AFP

Published Jul 7, 2024


THE 2024 Formula One season has had more talking points than it’s had for the past three years. McLaren has made giant strides towards the top and world champion Max Verstappen and Red Bull have shown their hand, the old hand, but it is Mercedes that hold all the cards at Silverstone this weekend.

The British Grand Prix, one of the most exciting events on the calendar, is the next stop today. The front row won’t feature McLaren’s Lando Norris and Red Bull’s Verstappen but rather the unlikely duo of Mercedes teammates George Russell and Lewis Hamilton, who have their own internal battles to sort out.

Not far from their base in Brackley, the Silverstone circuit is a happy hunting ground for Mercedes with a lot of backing from the British crowd. Team boss Toto Wolff and Russell could be in line for their second victory in a row, but Hamilton without a win since Abu Dhabi in 2021 will have the hammer down.

Russell’s dominance over his teammate both in the races and qualifying continued yesterday as he out-qualified his teammate in both runs to clinch pole position.

Mercedes locked out the front row for the first time since Sao Paulo in 2022, but they will be in strong company with Norris and Verstappen in the third and fourth spots respectively.

“At the start of this year, we couldn’t have dreamt of being on pole here and a one-two for myself and Lewis and Lando in third. Thank you to the fans for the energy,” said Russell.

“The car at the moment is feeling so good. It really came alive in qualifying and, honestly, what a joy it is to drive around this circuit and we are riding this wave. But eyes on tomorrow. We have a race to win and it’s going to be tight with Lando, and Max will be fast as well.

“The crowd gave us all so much energy, the three of us. I don't think Silverstone could have dreamt of the three Brits in the top three. We can’t wait for the race.”

Mercedes looked impressive in the final practice and carried their momentum into qualifying. The cold and wet conditions threw a curve-ball to all the teams, with Red Bull’s Sergio Perez paying the biggest price of having soft tyres, and losing control in qualifying. He will begin the race in 19th place.

McLaren’s Oscar Piastri and Nico Hulkenburg of Haas will be in the third row, with Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz seventh alongside Lance Stroll of Aston Martin. Williams’ Alexander Albon and Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso complete the top 10.

Ferrar’s Charles Leclerc was knocked out in Q2 and will begin the race in 11th position.

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