British GP: Max Verstappen admits he doesn’t know which F1 rival poses the biggest threat to Red Bull

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Max Verstappen claimed a fifth successive pole position by topping British Grand Prix qualifying on Saturday; McLaren took a surprise second and third behind the Red Bull; watch the British GP live on Sky Sports F1 and Sky Showcase at 3pm on Sunday, build-up from 1:30pm

Last Updated: 08/07/23 7:54pm

Max Verstappen was thrilled after picking up his fifth pole position in a row

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Max Verstappen was thrilled after picking up his fifth pole position in a row

Max Verstappen was thrilled after picking up his fifth pole position in a row

Max Verstappen has admitted he is unsure which of his Red Bull team’s Formula 1 rivals currently pose the biggest threat to his dominance.

Verstappen, who leads the world championship by 81 points from team-mate Sergio Perez, topped qualifying at the British Grand Prix on Saturday to claim a fifth successive pole position and will have the opportunity to seal a sixth-straight race victory on Sunday.

The Dutchman will also be looking to extend Red Bull’s streak of nine successive wins to start the season, with his victory at last year’s Abu Dhabi finale meaning a win at Silverstone will see them tie McLaren’s record of 11 straight triumphs.

Amid Red Bull’s early-season dominance, Mercedes, Ferrari and Aston Martin have competed fiercely for podium finishes, and McLaren now appear to have joined that battle after their upgraded car enabled Lando Norris and team-mate Oscar Piastri to claim second and third, respectively, behind Verstappen on Saturday.

We take a look back at the story of a dramatic qualifying session as Lando Norris secured a sensational P2 at Silverstone

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We take a look back at the story of a dramatic qualifying session as Lando Norris secured a sensational P2 at Silverstone

We take a look back at the story of a dramatic qualifying session as Lando Norris secured a sensational P2 at Silverstone

Asked by Sky Sports F1 who he considers to be the biggest threat, Verstappen said: “I don’t know.”

“I don’t mind, as long as they just keep shuffling around, they just keep stealing points from each other, so that’s great.”

The combination of Red Bull’s dominance and the inconsistency of the teams behind them has enabled the reigning constructors’ champions to build a 199-point lead over second-placed Mercedes.

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Aston Martin trail the Silver Arrows by just three points, with Ferrari only 21 points further back.

A torrid start to the season has seen McLaren score just 29 points, with the bulk of those coming when Norris took fourth in Austria last weekend.

Verstappen isn’t yet totally convinced McLaren will remain in the battle at the front, particularly given the damp conditions at Silverstone on Saturday, but was pleased to see another team move into contention.

McLaren's Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri joined Karun Chandhok at the SkyPad to reflect on qualifying second and third respectively for the British Grand Prix

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McLaren’s Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri joined Karun Chandhok at the SkyPad to reflect on qualifying second and third respectively for the British Grand Prix

McLaren’s Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri joined Karun Chandhok at the SkyPad to reflect on qualifying second and third respectively for the British Grand Prix

“Today, because of the weather, probably that shuffled around quite a bit,” Verstappen said.

“It’s really nice to see (McLaren do well). They had a really rough start to the year, but they kept on pushing, kept on bringing quite good upgrades, and I’m very happy for them that they had such a good qualifying.

“I think they needed it as well, and I can only imagine it’s a great boost for everyone within the team. You could see how happy everyone was in that garage. So great to see and nice for the drivers as well to finally have a competitive car, because I think also that will motivate you even more to do well.”

‘Five poles in a row is amazing’

Verstappen had claimed four consecutive poles during his intense 2021 title battle with Lewis Hamilton, but had never previously managed to string together five.

“To be on pole again is of course amazing,” he said. “I’m also not used to that, being on pole five times in a row, but it’s definitely a great feeling.”

It could have easily been different on this occasion with the wet conditions early in qualifying, along with a red flag that set up a one-lap shootout, left every driver in danger of being knocked out.

Max Verstappen drove his Red Bull into the pit wall during first qualifying at the British Grand Prix

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Max Verstappen drove his Red Bull into the pit wall during first qualifying at the British Grand Prix

Max Verstappen drove his Red Bull into the pit wall during first qualifying at the British Grand Prix

Verstappen’s challenge was heightened by the fact that during the red flag delay, in which the track dried out, he drove straight into the pit wall on his way out of the garage.

The contact resulted in heavy damage to his front wing, which meant the Dutchman was forced to head out last after his mechanics fitted a new nose.

“Luckily in the end Q1 all worked out even though I had my little pit lane incident,” Verstappen said.

“I just understeered into the wall, which was a bit odd. I just drove out and it didn’t grip, it just went straight.

“Then of course we had to put a new wing on that meant we were at the back of the line. So then my out lap was very crucial, I had to just push flat out, I had to pass a few cars and then still with a bit of traffic, managed to navigate my way through it.

“Luckily it worked out but it could have also easily been out in Q1.”

Sky Sports F1’s live British GP schedule (all F1 sessions on Sky Showcase)

Sunday July 9
8:10am: F3 Feature Race
9:50am: F2 Feature Race
11:50am: Porsche Supercup
1:30pm: Grand Prix Sunday – British GP build-up
3pm: The BRITISH GRAND PRIX
5pm: Chequered Flag: British GP reaction
6pm: Ted’s Notebook

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