British GP F1 Sprint: Max Verstappen wins and secures Silverstone pole after start pass on Lewis Hamilton
F1's championship leader overturns Lewis Hamilton's qualifying victory after fast start to F1 Sprint at Silverstone; Verstappen secures pole position for Sunday's race and extends title lead to 33 points; Sergio Perez spins off in the other Red Bull and to start last
By James Galloway
Last Updated: 18/07/21 7:19am
Max Verstappen blasted past Lewis Hamilton at the start and won the inaugural F1 Sprint, securing pole position for Sunday's British GP and increasing his title lead by a point.
Hamilton had beaten Verstappen to the front of the grid for the new-look mini race with a sensational Silverstone performance in qualifying on Friday night, but his starting advantage over the title leader quickly disappeared at the start of the new sprint.
Verstappen's Red Bull outdragged Hamilton's Mercedes within a matter of metres and, although the Briton battled back later around the opening lap to go wheel-to-wheel towards Copse, the Red Bull held position and then steadily pulled away over the next 16 laps to win by 1.4 seconds.
Valtteri Bottas held his grid position of third but Sergio Perez plummeted down the order after a spin in the second Red Bull and will start Sunday's race from 20th and last.
- Full results from F1 Sprint and Sunday grid positions
- When to watch Sunday's British Grand Prix live on Sky F1?
- Q&A: What do Sprint results mean for the race? All explained
Taking the three points for victory, one more than Hamilton claimed for second, Verstappen now leads the world championship by 33 points and secures his fourth pole position in a row for Sunday's race - ending Mercedes' nine-year stranglehold on Silverstone pole.
"You could see we were pushing each other hard, because at the end of the race the tyres were blistering a lot," said Verstappen. "We had to manage that to the end. In the end I'm happy to add the three points - it sounds a bit funny to hear you scored a pole position!"
The finishing order of the sprint sets the grid for the Grand Prix, which starts at 3pm on Sunday live on Sky Sports F1.
"I hit the target on my start, it's just not good when you lose from P1. We'll try to turn the negative into a positive tomorrow. Every point counts, but I'm grateful to have finished. Tomorrow we'll fight again," said Hamilton.
Valtteri Bottas started on the soft tyres compared to the mediums of the two ahead but made no impression on the front, finishing in the third place he qualified.
But there was weekend-changing disaster for Perez in the second Red Bull, who lost ground at the start before spinning off following in the turbulent air of cars before the Hangar Straight and plummeting down the order.
With Red Bull retiring his car on the final lap, Perez will now start 20th and last on Sunday, underlining the jeopardy of the F1 Sprint format.
Charles Leclerc also held grid position, finishing fourth for Ferrari to lock in the same grid position for Sunday, with McLaren pair Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo moving up a net place apiece after initially falling behind a fast-starting Fernando Alonso.
Alonso, who also started on the more aggressive but brittler softs, stormed from 11th to run fifth at the end of the opening lap. And although he was eventually overtaken in quick succession by the faster McLarens, the Alpine will still start fourth places higher than he qualified with seventh.
Indeed the sprint format worked well for Alpine; Esteban Ocon gaining three places to secure a top-10 starting place.
Williams' George Russell dropped a place to ninth and is under investigation for a lap-one clash with Carlos Sainz. As the Williams braked at the end of the Wellington Straight, the two cars touched wheels with the Ferrari running off track. Sainz lost positions and finished 11th.
British GP: F1 Sprint result
1) Max Verstappen, Red Bull
2) Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes
3) Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes
4) Charles Leclerc, Ferrari
5) Lando Norris, McLaren
6) Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren
7) Fernando Alonso, Alpine
8) Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin
9) George Russell, Williams
10) Esteban Ocon, Alpine
The winners and losers from F1's first Sprint
The new trial format, given its debut at Silverstone and next expected to return at Monza in September, is designed to add extra variables and unpredictability into the select weekends it is run at.
With a free choice of tyres and no mandatory pit stops, the intention is for drivers to push flat-out without having to worry about strategy - and that is how the maiden race appeared to play out.
Only four of the 20 drivers finished in the same position they qualified.
While Verstappen was the day's clear big winner with his sprint win, Alonso and Alfa Romeo's Kimi Raikkonen (13th) gained the most positions - each improving their starting berth by four places apiece for Sunday.