Grand Prix qualifying results: Hamilton takes first-ever F1 sprint pole – Motorsport.com

Mercedes driver Hamilton will start the sprint qualifying race ahead of Max Verstappen (Red Bull) and Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) after the one-hour qualifying session, which is split into three segments with five cars each being knocked out in Q1 and Q2 before the top-10 shootout of Q3.
The result of the sprint race, which takes place on Saturday, sets the grid for Sunday’s main event. The winner of the sprint will be awarded with the grand prix’s pole position accolade.
McLaren’s Lando Norris set the initial benchmark at 1m28.277s, easily eclipsed by Bottas on 1m27.487 and then Hamilton on 1m27.160s. Verstappen then showed everyone the way with 1m26.751s despite a huge slide at Club, which was 0.409s faster than Hamilton.
Hamilton improved to second place with a lap of 1m26.786s, within 0.035s of P1, thanks to a second run in the closing seconds, putting him ahead of Charles Leclerc (Ferrari), Sergio Perez (Red Bull), Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren) and Carlos Sainz (Ferrari). Norris and Bottas dropped to eighth and ninth respectively.
Falling at the first hurdle were AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda, Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen, Williams’ Nicholas Latifi, and the Haas duo of Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin.
In Q2 there was no tyre decision to make in terms of running the mediums for a race strategy advantage, as choice for the sprint race is free. Hamilton set the bar at 1m26.602s, 0.164s quicker than Bottas. Verstappen took away P1 with 1m26.504s, only 0.098s faster than Hamilton at that point.
On the final runs, Hamilton took P1 with 1m26.023s and while Verstappen improved his time to 1m26.315s, that was 0.292s off Hamilton’s pace. Bottas was third, ahead of Sainz, Leclerc, Perez and George Russell (Williams).
Knocked out at this point were Fernando Alonso (Alpine – by just 0.025s), Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri), Esteban Ocon (Alpine), Antonio Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo) and Lance Stroll (Aston Martin).
In the top-10 shootout, Bottas set the benchmark at 1m26.548s, which was immediately beaten by Hamilton on 1m26.134s and Verstappen on 1m26.306s – with Lewis faster than his title rival, who was complaining of understeer, by 0.172s.
On the final runs, Hamilton was up on his fastest time until Vale, when he suffered a huge slide and blew his final chance. Verstappen did improve to 1m26.209s but that wasn’t enough to wrest away the fastest time by 0.075s.
Bottas improved with a lap of 1m26.328s, and stayed third, while Perez set the fourth fastest time but it was deleted for exceeding track limits. That dropped him back to fifth, behind Leclerc. Norris will start the sprint from sixth, ahead of Ricciardo, Russell, Sainz and Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin).
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