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Lewis Hamilton secures pole position for British Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton secures pole position for British Grand Prix
© Reuters
The reigning world champion claimed the 91st pole of his career.

Lewis Hamilton lit up a spectator-less Silverstone to put his Mercedes on pole position for the British Grand Prix.

Hamilton delivered a track record at the Northamptonshire circuit to secure the 91st pole of his career and cement his status as the pre-race favourite to win here for a stunning seventh time.

Hamilton saw off team-mate Valtteri Bottas by an impressive 0.313 seconds, with the all-black machines continuing to crush their bewildered opposition.

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen finished third, but the Dutchman was a full second slower than Hamilton. Charles Leclerc was even further back in fourth for Ferrari. British driver Lando Norris finished fifth for McLaren.

Hamilton headed into the top-10 shootout at a windy Silverstone having failed to finish fastest in either of the three practice sessions, and with Bottas quickest in Q1 and Q2.

There was also the rare sight of a Hamilton spin, after the six-time world champion lost control of his Mercedes on the exit of Luffield.

Hamilton made it back to the pits as the session was halted for eight minutes to clear up the mess of gravel and stones he had left behind.

He recovered to ensure he progressed to the final stage of qualifying and then predictably delivered when it mattered most, to claim pole on his seemingly unstoppable march towards a record-equalling seventh world championship. It also marked his seventh pole at his home race.

"It was real struggle out there," said Hamilton. "We had that spin and qualifying is about confidence.

"I was down in the first sector, too, so I don't know how but I managed to compose myself for Q3.

"Q3 started off the right way, it was a clean first lap and the second one was even better. It never gets old qualifying on pole.

"Normally you have the sirens going off, the flags, the smoke and the atmosphere is buzzing. We miss the fans here but hopefully they are happy with my turnaround watching at home."

Sebastian Vettel finished 10th, an eye-watering two seconds slower than Hamilton while Alexander Albon's rocky campaign continued as he was unable to get his Red Bull through to Q3.

Red Bull are historically ruthless in axing drivers and the London-born Albon, who qualified only 12th here, faces a precarious future if his one-lap performances fail to improve.

Albon will line up one place ahead of Nico Hulkenberg. The German is deputising for Sergio Perez this weekend after the Mexican became the first Formula One driver to return a positive Covid-19 test result.

In Perez's absence, Lance Stroll, in the other Racing Point, sneaked through to Q3 before qualifying sixth.

George Russell made it out of the opening phase of qualifying for the third time in as many races, putting his Williams 15th on the grid.

Remarkably, the young British driver has beaten his team-mate over one lap in all 25 of his F1 appearances.

Russell whitewashed Robert Kubica in qualifying last term and is 4-0 up on rookie team-mate Nicholas Latifi this year.

However, he could face a grid penalty with the stewards investigating if he slowed sufficiently under waved yellow flags.

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Sebastian Vettel pictured on March 12, 2020
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Olympic medal table header
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ChinaChina34241674
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JapanJapan22101446
AustraliaAustralia1751941
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Great BritainGreat Britain16181852
Today's Olympic highlights header

Thursday's key events


ATHLETICS
· The women's heptathlon continues with the long jump, javelin and 800m, with Katarina Johnson-Thompson now out of contention following an injury (1.10am-1.40pm)
· Andrew Pozzi pursues his dream of an Olympic medal in the men's 110m hurdles final (3.55am)
· Tom Bosworth and Callum Wilkinson are among the British hopes in the men's 20km race walk (8.30am)
· Holly Bradshaw aims to improve on fifth in Rio to challenge Greece's Katerina Stefanidi and Anzhelika Sidorova of Russia for an unlikely medal in the women's pole vault (11am)
· London 2012 champion Kirani James goes up against current world champion Steven Gardiner in the men's 400m final (1pm)

MARATHON SWIMMING
· One of the toughest Olympic events takes place in Tokyo Bay as GB's Hector Pardoe takes on the men's 20km marathon swim (10.30pm Wed)

BOXING
· Galal Yafai takes on takes on Kazakhstan's Saken Bibossinov for a spot in the gold medal bout of the fly (48kg-52kg) class (6.48am)

DIVING
· Lois Toulson and Andrea Spendolini-Sirieix (daughter of First Dates' Fred Sirieix) line up for the women's 10m platform (semi-final 2am; final 7am)

HOCKEY
· Australia face Belgium in the men's final (11am)

> Today's schedule in full
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