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British top three as Russell takes pole at Silverstone

George Russell led a home one-two-three in British Grand Prix qualifying from Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton and McLaren’s Lando Norris.

Russell beat Hamilton to pole position by 0.171 seconds with Norris, second to Russell after the first laps in the final session, 0.211secs off the pace after failing to complete his second lap.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen was fourth fastest, struggling with a car damaged by a run through the Copse gravel trap in the wet first session.

It is the first time three British drivers have been at the front of the grid at their home grand prix since 1962, when Jim Clark was on pole from John Surtees and Innes Ireland.

The session started in the rain, and more or less dried progressively throughout despite light rain returning at one point, but Russell, Hamilton and Norris have looked quick all weekend.

The result, despite the mixed conditions and unusually cold conditions of just 14C, is also further confirmation of a Mercedes revival in recent races following a series of upgrades to their car.

Russell, winner in Austria last weekend after Norris and Verstappen collided while fighting for the lead, said: “What a feeling. At the start of this year, I don’t think we could even have dreamt of being on pole there. On pole with Lewis and Lando top three, it’s just mega.”

Hamilton said: “Three Brits in the top three is incredible. George did such a great job. We didn’t expect to be on the front row this weekend. This is huge for our team.

“The car felt great, it was just about getting a tyre temperatures in the right place.

“There was still time left on the table, which George managed to find, but with the conditions we can work together to keep Lando behind.”

Norris admitted he had made a mistake which forced him to abort his final lap – he was in the pits when Russell and Hamilton secured the front row.

Norris said: “I’m happy with P3. Three Brits lock out the top three, so pretty cool here. Good laps by George and Lewis both. They did an excellent job.

“A little mistake on my part at the end but P3 is still good.”

A British win – or Verstappen revival?

The session started on a wet track, but Hamilton and Russell set out their stall quickly by going first and second fastest, while Verstappen was only 11th, after his off at Copse.

His team-mate Sergio Perez had another desperate day in a poor run of form, spinning at Copse after his first lap and beaching his car in the gravel. The Mexican will start 18th.

Red Bull’s mechanics tried desperately to repair Verstappen’s car as much as they could in the breaks between the three sessions but it remained in far from optimum condition and he was unable to challenge the flying British drivers.

Ferrari also had a difficult day. The Italian team abandoned their Spanish Grand Prix aerodynamic upgrade over night on Friday after struggling with aerodynamic bouncing.

But Charles Leclerc was still struggling with his car’s handling and did not make it out of the second session, qualifying 11th. Team-mate Carlos Sainz did make it through was was only seventh fastest.

Fernando Alonso was another to fall flat in the final session.

The Aston Martin driver was third fastest in the second session but after an initial lap on used tyres, he was late out of the pits and had his out lap compromised by other cars.

The result was that he aborted his final run on new tyres in the top 10 shoot-out and will start 10th, two places behind team-mate Lance Stroll, with Haas’ Nico Hulkenberg between them.

Both Aston Martin drivers faced investigations from the stewards – Alonso for his mechanics working on the car in the fast lane of the pit lane; Stroll for leaving the pits when the exit light was red.

Alonso escaped penalty, while Stroll was given a reprimand.

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