SILVERSTONE, England — Lando Norris sailed across the finish line, setting the fastest time of the day and causing cheers from the British crowd, who rejoiced at the return of what was once a familiar sight: a British driver on pole at the British Grand Prix. And then Max Verstappen raced across the finish line just behind Norris and took the top spot away from him.
“It’s always Max,” Norris joked. “He always ruins everything for everyone.”
Will the smiles of Norris and teammate Oscar Piastri, who qualified third, last until Sunday afternoon? Verstappen will have a lot to say about that. He will start from pole position for the fifth consecutive year and has his sights set on his sixth straight win and eighth of the season. If he does, Red Bull will take his unbeaten start to 10 wins in 10 races.
This is how you watch
Time: The British Grand Prix begins at 10 a.m. Eastern Time. (Global start times are Here.)
TV: The race will be broadcast on ESPN2 in the United States. Streaming is available on ESPN+. Pre-race coverage begins at 8:30am. Not in the United States? A full list of Formula 1 broadcasters can be found here.
The starting lineup on Sunday
Not even handing over pole to Verstappen could spoil what was undoubtedly the best day of the McLaren season. Norris starts second, a row ahead of his teammate Piastri.
Directly behind the two McLarens are the Ferraris of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz as well as the two Mercedes drivers George Russell and Lewis Hamilton. So expect the relatively inexperienced Norris (23) and Piastri (22) to play defense almost immediately.
Struck by the star
The most fascinating driver at Silverstone this weekend, and one that teams and fans alike wanted to see, was a fictional driver: Sonny Hayes.
That’s the name of the character that actor Brad Pitt will play in a new Formula 1 movie, who will shoot scenes and meet people to gather information, advice and race footage.
The teams were striving to get closer to the project. Lewis Hamilton is part of the production team, Red Bull’s Christian Horner met with the filmmakers on Friday and Mercedes even helped design the fictional Apex racing team’s cars.
“We were pretty early on,” Mercedes’ Toto Wolff told reporters this week. “When we first started talking we sent Brad to a driving school in France where he went through Formula cars from Formula 4 to Formula 4 and we tried to be helpful with the narration. Lewis is executive producer so he wanted to make sure the film was as realistic as possible when it came out.”
Pitt and co-star Damson Idris were on the grid all week, and several windows were cut out of the tight race schedule to allow for filming at the track itself. To fully immerse the fake team in the real race, Silverstone officials even allowed the producers to set up a garage for the 11th team alongside Ferrari.
Race week in photos
This week’s storylines
Can anyone catch Verstappen? There is currently no reliable evidence to support this theory.
Can McLaren make money? Not even handing over the pole to Verstappen could spoil McLaren’s brilliant day on Saturday. But even Norris admitted he didn’t expect to stay on pole, even after setting the fastest time. “There are a lot of TV screens around the circuit,” he said. “I tried to see every single one possible. I was surprised how long I stayed in the top four. It just depended on when Max would cross the line. I guess I’m a bit surprised, I didn’t expect that we would be here and I didn’t expect that I would be here either.”
climate protests? Lewis Hamilton has said he will support “peaceful” protests by climate activists who have already disrupted matches at Wimbledon and the Ashes cricket series this summer. But a repeat of last year’s British Grand Prix, when protesters ran onto the track and sat down while cars were still moving, was unacceptable, he said. “We believe in what people are fighting for and we are making these changes as a sport,” Hamilton said Thursday. “But safety is key. We don’t want to be in danger and we don’t want to put anyone else in danger.”
What you say
“It was more because Max made a mistake than because we were faster than him.” — Norrisabout how he set the fastest time in qualifying and then waited for what he felt was the inevitable moment when Verstappen would beat her.
“I think it was a pretty good day for us.” — Verstappendaily.
“Nobody stops the other teams from getting better.” — Mohamed bin Sulayemthe President of the Automobile Racing Association when asked for suggestions that the rules should be changed to bring Red Bull’s dominant team back to the top.
“In Q1 and Q2 we were almost out, but in Q3 the car was like a rocket.” — Oscar Piastriafter driving his McLaren into the second row.
Last time: Austrian Grand Prix
Max Verstappen won his fifth straight race at the Austrian Grand Prix on July 2nd. Imagine being surprised by this revelation.
Drivers’ World Championship standings
At that point, Verstappen will maintain his points lead well into September, even if he no longer races.