Max Verstappen snatching poll ‘ruins everything’ for Lando Norris at Silverstone

Max Verstappen snatching poll ‘ruins everything’ for Lando Norris at Silverstone

Lando Norris accused Max Verstappen of “ruining everything” after he was denied a shock pole position at the British Grand Prix by Formula One’s dominant Dutchman.

For a dozen seconds, Norris sat at qualifying’s summit in front of a sell-out Silverstone crowd only to watch Verstappen – the second-but-last man over the line – knock him off his perch.

Verstappen snatched top spot from Norris by 0.241 seconds, with Oscar Piastri third on an excellent day for McLaren.

Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz finished fourth and fifth for Ferrari, with Mercedes’ George Russell and Lewis Hamilton only sixth and seventh on another sub-par afternoon for the grid’s once dominant team.

Norris, 23, has endured a poor season in his under-performing McLaren machine, but the British team’s first major upgrade of the season worked wonders on home turf.

Norris threatened throughout qualifying – sitting at the top of the timings at various stages in Q1, Q2 and Q3 – before a knockout blow from Verstappen stopped him landing only his second career pole.

“I was so close,” said Norris. He added with a smile: “Max ruins everything for everyone.

“I was watching the TV screens and I was surprised how long I stayed up there for. I did not make a mistake. It was all about when Max crossed the line and if he made a mistake, not if we could beat him.”

McLaren CEO Zak Brown celebrated wildly, hugging and high-fiving anyone he could find dressed in the team’s papaya colours.

Norris added: “I could hear Zak on the radio during the in-lap, which was the best thing ever. To be second and third was amazing for the whole team.”

Norris will have his work cut out to claim what would be a maiden win in his 92nd start, with Verstappen in a class of one this year.

The 25-year-old Dutchman will be bidding to take his eighth win from the 10 rounds so far on his unrelenting march to a third straight world championship.

“I have some reason to believe we can do OK but not enough to beat this guy,” added Norris, pointing towards the Red Bull man.

“It is clear we have made some progress and we have made a decent step forward. It is payback for the work that has been done by the team.

“Max and I are very good friends. We grew up at a similar time, and we share the same mentality because we love it.

“But as soon as we put the helmet on, all the respect we have off the track, we forget that. It makes no difference about us being friends.”

No driver has won the British Grand Prix on more occasions than Hamilton, with the 38-year-old winning seven of the last 10 races staged here.

Lewis Hamilton
It was a disappointing afternoon for Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton (David Davies/PA)

But the Mercedes driver will be deeply frustrated to start only seventh, half-a-second off the pace, in front of his home fans.

Sergio Perez’s dismal run of form continued after he was eliminated from the opening phase of qualifying.

The Mexican was first out of the pits when the action resumed following a red flag to clear Kevin Magnussen’s Haas.

Perez momentarily headed to the top of the order, but the evolution of a drying track saw him tumble all the way down to 16th when Q1 came to an end.

It marked the fifth consecutive grand prix in which Perez has failed to make it into Q3 in a machine Hamilton described as the fastest the sport has ever seen.

Despite the threat of action from Just Stop Oil protesters, qualifying passed off without incident.

However, F1 bosses, Silverstone and Northamptonshire Police remain on high alert that a protest could yet disrupt Sunday’s 52-lap race where 150,000 spectators are expected to attend.

Security has been beefed up, with facial recognition cameras posted around the 3.66 mile track in a move to foil a potential plot.