Max Verstappen looked untouchable for most of a soggy qualifying session at the British Grand Prix. But a spin from his rival Charles Leclerc during the last flying lap of the Monegasque in Q3 forced Verstappen to settle for a philosophical P2, behind the first poleman Carlos Sainz.
No driver was able to come within four tenths of Verstappen in the first two qualifying segments, the Dutchman in scintillating form after the skies opened at Silverstone 10 minutes before the start of the session.
But a spin from Verstappen on his first flying lap proved a bad omen, with provisional poleman Verstappen then forced off the throttle on his final lap when Leclerc spun past him – as Sainz came from nowhere to claim his first pole. position, leaving Verstappen second.
READ MORE: Sainz edges out Verstappen to take first pole in wet British Grand Prix qualifying
“I think it was a good qualifying,” Verstappen said. “The car was working very well, I felt comfortable. Just in Q3 it can be a bit of a lottery, and I had a yellow flag on my last lap so I had to back up a bit in the final corners which ultimately cost me pole.
“But these things can happen. Especially in the wet everything has to work well for you and it didn’t for me on the last lap. But overall our car is very good in both dry and wet conditions, so that’s also very important for tomorrow… Everything is possible for tomorrow.
Asked to comment on his former Toro Rosso team-mate Sainz’s first pole, Verstappen replied generously: “It was good from Carlos, I think he also had a very solid qualifying. You can see it’s very tight between all of us up front all the time, so we’ll try hard and hopefully we can finish in front.
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Verstappen was backed by Sergio Perez in P4 as the expected Mercedes revival didn’t quite materialize, Lewis Hamilton P5 while George Russell took P8. But while Perez was also hampered by Leclerc’s spin, he was also confident for the race.
“It wasn’t ideal, but on the other hand it wasn’t too disappointing towards the end,” Perez said. “I had Charles [spinning] right in front of me so my last two laps weren’t ideal maybe there was a bit more in it but P4 we can fight from there… and hopefully tomorrow in the race we could be much more competitive. ”
AS IT HAPPENED: All the British Grand Prix qualifying action
Red Bull team boss Christian Horner, meanwhile, revealed his shock that Verstappen still managed to set a competitive time on the lap he spun in Q3, saying: “He did a 180 and he only lost two seconds crossing the line, that was the most ridiculous thing… It wasn’t part of the plan but Max likes to find the limit It’s just a shame he didn’t get that last one lap, but still being on the front line, after a tricky session like that, it’s a good place to be.
Red Bull is now on the hunt for its first British Grand Prix win since Mark Webber’s triumph a decade ago, while Verstappen will look to emulate his win at Silverstone’s 70th Anniversary Grand Prix from 2020 .