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Max qualifies fourth for British GP despite damage: 'Holes in the floor'

Published on 06 July 2024 by Stefan Meens

Max Verstappen will start the British Grand Prix from fourth place on the grid. The Oracle Red Bull Racing driver managed to claim a spot on the second row despite contesting the majority of qualifying with floor damage, following an excursion through the gravel traps in Q1. George Russell took pole position ahead of Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton. Lando Norris (McLaren) completed an all British top three, delighting the thousands of fans present at Silverstone.

“After I went through the gravel in Q1, I lost 100 points of downforce”, explained Max after an eventful qualifying. “Throughout the session the team kept improving the floor, but if you look at it, it doesn’t look good. It’s full of holes, so in that sense I’m happy to be fourth.”

Regarding going wide at Copse corner, the reigning champion said: “We were one of the last to head out as we didn’t expect the rain during Q1. When I got to turn seven, I couldn’t do anything. I already had rain on my visor so I braked, but the car stepped out so I tried everything to keep the car out of the wall. It did mean the rest of qualifying was ruined.”

Nevertheless, Max remains keen to make the most of tomorrow’s race. “Of course it’s not fun when this happens, but you can’t control everything – like the weather. We have to just accept it. I think we could’ve fought for pole, but everything is possible from P4. We’ll have to drive a more attacking race, but that’s fun too.”

As the rain clouds hover over Northamptonshire, Q1 starts dry but on a damp track, prompting the drivers to start on the intermediate Pirellis. Max enjoys a competitive opening flying lap, with only Norris quicker. As the track dries, Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) and Valtteri Bottas (Stake) switch to slicks. Both drivers are unable to set a time due to a red flag caused by Sergio Perez. The Mexican has lost control at Copse corner and has beached his RB20.

After the session is resumed, it is busy on track as rain appears imminent. The slick tyre is the fastest options with the lap times dropping by several seconds. When Max looks to take advantage of the superior grip of the slicks, he runs wide at Copse. Like his team mate, his RB20 ploughs through the gravel traps, but unlike Perez, Max manages to emerge from the gravel and lives to fight another day, despite damage to the underfloor of the car.

In a nail biting final few minutes, Max is close to being eliminated in Q1, but his final timed effort propels him to eleventh, thus granting him the right to contest Q2. Perez joins Pierre Gasly, Esteban Ocon, Kevin Magnussen and Valtteri Bottas in the bottom five, for whom Q1 marks the end of their Saturday.

In the following part of qualifying, the track is fully dry with all fifteen drivers opting for slicks. Max starts with a sixth fastest time. With the circuit and times continuing to improve, the Red Bull racer slowly drops to the elimination zone, but his final effort guarantees him a place in the top ten shoot-out. Daniel Ricciardo, Zhou Guanyu, Yuki Tsunoda and Charles Leclerc strand in the second part of qualifying.

In Q3, Max is the first to head out on track. After a banker lap of 1:26.3, the Dutchman is soon usurped by both McLarens and the two Mercedes. On his second and final timed lap, Max manages to improve his time to climb up to fourth, but the battle for pole is a solely British affair with Russell pipping Hamilton and Norris.

On his cool down lap, Max thanks his mechanics for their hard work during the session: “I gave it all. Thank you guys for repairing the damage, great work. It’s unlucky we went off in the rain, but we’re going for it tomorrow.”

Contest British GP: win a by Max Verstappen signed Racing cap!

Results qualifying Great Britain:

1George RussellRUSMercedes1:30.1061:26.7231:25.819
2Lewis HamiltonHAMMercedes1:29.5471:26.7701:25.990
3Lando NorrisNORMcLaren Mercedes1:31.5961:26.5591:26.030
4Max VerstappenVERRed Bull Racing Honda RBPT1:31.3421:26.7961:26.203
5Oscar PiastriPIAMcLaren Mercedes1:30.8951:26.7331:26.237
6Nico HulkenbergHULHaas Ferrari1:31.9291:26.8471:26.338
7Carlos SainzSAIFerrari1:30.5571:26.8431:26.509
8Lance StrollSTRAston Martin Mercedes1:31.4101:26.9381:26.585
9Alexander AlbonALBWilliams Mercedes1:31.1351:26.9331:26.640
10Fernando AlonsoALOAston Martin Mercedes1:31.2641:26.7301:26.917
11Charles LeclercLECFerrari1:30.4961:27.097
12Logan SargeantSARWilliams Mercedes1:31.6081:27.175
13Yuki TsunodaTSURB Honda RBPT1:30.9941:27.269
14Zhou GuanyuZHOKick Sauber Ferrari1:31.1901:27.867
15Daniel RicciardoRICRB Honda RBPT1:31.2911:27.949
16Valtteri BottasBOTKick Sauber Ferrari1:32.431
17Kevin MagnussenMAGHaas Ferrari1:32.905
18Esteban OconOCOAlpine Renault1:34.557
19Sergio PerezPERRed Bull Racing Honda RBPT1:38.348
20Pierre GaslyGASAlpine Renault1:39.804