George Russell hatches Silverstone plan as Lewis Hamilton warns Mercedes team-mate

“Race to win.”

The three words from George Russell which showed how desperate he is to deliver a home victory for the Silverstone fans today.

George Russell was thrilled after qualifying on pole

On a drying track, he snatched pole position from Lewis Hamilton who will start on the front row for the first time this year at his home race. And Lando Norris made sure the top three grid slots were filled by Britons to send the Silverstone crowd wild. All of them got the better of Max Verstappen who picked up floor damage early in the session and had to settle for fourth.

“This is one of the best feelings I’ve ever had,” beamed the delighted Russell. “The car was just insane – it just really came alive. Crossing the line and seeing my name P1, and then seeing we were both on the front row… we couldn’t have even dreamt of that after the first three or four races.”

Russell won for the second time in his F1 career last Sunday in Austria and is now dreaming of back-to-back wins. But he knows he may need more rain to hold off those behind, adding: “We’ve got a good fight on our hands and the weather is going to play a huge part in that.

“It’s been raining and drying over the last couple of days. We’re riding this wave right now but it doesn’t mean anything because tomorrow is when the points are scored. But we’re obviously in a great position to fight for victory.”

The summer rain has made it difficult for teams to gauge how quick their race pace is expected to be on this track. But Hamilton’s prowess in the wet is legendary and the seven-time F1 champion would be happy to see more rain clouds today. And he warned team-mate Russell that he will be a force to be reckoned with as he admitted he set up his Mercedes with the main event in mind.

He said: “I was cautious with my set up, thinking about having a nice balance in the race, rather than just for one lap. I do think the car will be good for tomorrow. When it’s wet, those are the conditions I’m most comfortable in.”

Lewis Hamilton, George Russell and Lando Norris made it a clean sweep of Britons in the top three
Lewis Hamilton, George Russell and Lando Norris made it a clean sweep of Britons in the top three 
Image:
Formula 1 via Getty Images)

A year ago, second on the grid had Norris so delighted that he was close to tears. Such results were still a novelty then but McLaren have been in the fight for pole positions and race wins for several races now this year – and he cut a rather frustrated figure as he reacted to losing out to his fellow Brits.

But he wants to set the record straight today and declared: “I can bring the fight to George, and I can bring the fight to Lewis.” Red Bull almost saw both drivers suffer the indignity of a Q1 exit. Sergio Perez was only 19th fastest because he span after putting on slick tyres while it was still wet at Copse and beached his car in the gravel.

Verstappen avoided getting stuck when he went off at the same corner but picked up floor damage which proved costly. The Dutchman said: “We didn’t expect it to rain in Q1… I skated through the gravel to not hit the wall, but that unfortunately destroyed the floor. I was happy to get into Q3 – to be P4, I’m quite happy with that.”

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