In the ever-changing conditions of the Spa-Francorchamps track, nailing the timing of the final lap was crucial. Alpine’s Pierre Gasly was the first among four drivers to secure a provisional pole position, only to be usurped by Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, who narrowly surpassed McLaren’s young talent, Oscar Piastri.
Mercedes seemed to miscalculate the positioning of their drivers to start the ultimate lap, resulting in Russell obstructing Hamilton due to tyre lock-up at Turn 1.
Hamilton overtook Russell on the Kemmel straight, but not before having to reduce his throttle, thereby spoiling his and Russell’s final lap.
This resulted in Hamilton sliding down to the seventh position, with Russell terminating his lap and commencing Saturday’s sprint race from the 10th spot.
Following the incident, Russell attributed the near-collision with Hamilton to poor communication, also confessing to having underperformed during the entire session.
“The whole situation was a complete disaster, to be frank,” Russell commented on F1 TV.
“I was taken aback to reach Q3 due to my numerous errors and slight miscommunication towards the end. I was too close to the preceding car, and Lewis was too close to me.
“We assumed we wouldn’t complete the lap as time was running out. But there was certainly more time than we had anticipated, as Max was the last one to cross the finish line.
Photo by: Andy Hone / F1 Flow Images – George Russell, Mercedes-AMG
Russell added, “The weekend has been an utter shambles, failing to meet expectations. I hope we can salvage something.
“I have full confidence in our potential to be faster in the race, but the single-lap qualification has been dismal so far.”
Hamilton felt he could have achieved a front row qualification had Russell not impeded his path.
“Needless to say, I am not pleased,” Hamilton added. “Things were going well; my first lap put me in the lead.
“I believe I could have ended first or second in that session, but the communication was fairly inadequate. We reached the last corner with seven cars idling around.
“We were led to believe we were out of time, but it seems we had ample time left. As for the incident with George, it is what it is. It’s not really consequential.”
Hamilton was more optimistic about the overall performance of the Mercedes vehicle, with the seven-time world champion securing a third-place start for Sunday’s grand prix.
“I’m thoroughly enjoying the car in all weather conditions,” he explained.
“We are slightly slower than the Red Bulls in the middle sector, but none of us have tested on heavier fuel, so I’m thrilled about today’s dry conditions and look forward to a good race.”
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Mercedes’ Spa F1 sprint qualification
What happened during the Spa F1 sprint qualification with Mercedes?
George Russell and Lewis Hamilton from Mercedes faced issues during the Spa F1 sprint qualification due to poor communication and individual errors. Hamilton was obstructed by Russell, leading to both of them compromising their final laps. Hamilton ended up in seventh position and Russell in tenth.
Who was first in the Spa F1 sprint qualification?
Max Verstappen from Red Bull claimed the top spot in the Spa F1 sprint qualification.
What did George Russell say about his performance during the qualification?
George Russell referred to his performance and the entire situation as a “complete disaster”. He blamed poor communication and his own numerous errors. He was surprised to even reach Q3 and hoped for a better race performance.
What was Lewis Hamilton’s reaction to the situation?
Hamilton was displeased with the situation, stating that he could have potentially ended first or second had it not been for the poor communication and the incident with Russell. However, he remained optimistic about the overall performance of the Mercedes car and looked forward to the actual race.
Where will Lewis Hamilton start in the grand prix?
Lewis Hamilton, a seven-time world champion, will start in third place for the grand prix.