Pol on pole! Espargaro celebrates after qualifying 'victory' at Silverstone

By Sports Desk August 28, 2021

Pol Espargaro will hope to be celebrating at the end of Sunday's British Grand Prix, yet the Spaniard already feels like a winner after surprising even himself by claiming pole position.

Espargaro had arrived at Silverstone after struggling in the previous two rounds of the MotoGP season in Austria, failing to score any points by recording successive 16th-place finishes.

However, the 30-year-old belied his recent lack of form with a stunning qualifying performance, securing his first pole for Repsol Honda as he squeezed out Francesco Bagnaia by just 0.022 seconds.

Jorge Martin initially appeared to have set a new fastest lap in the closing stages of the final session, only for his time to be wiped out after it was discovered he had cut the Vale chicane. He will instead start from fourth position.

Championship leader Fabio Quartararo will begin from third, but this was a memorable day for Espargaro as he looks to get back scoring points again, having not gone three in a row without collecting something since he was at KTM in 2018.

"Yeah, it's a little bit shocking after how tough Austria was, how we've been able to come back here," Espargaro said in his post-qualifying interview.

"It's difficult to believe, but there are different ways to take these bad moments – in a sad way, or in an angry way. We opted to take the second option.

"I tried to be every day a little bit better. I’ve been working so much, but unluckily the results were not coming.

"Here, everything is coming much easier. Sure, the track, the weather is cold, the extra grip we have in this track gives me the feelings, I have to apply my riding style and maybe to forget a little the problems we have in the pit box with the bike.

"Also, this place has been good to Honda in the past years, so let's enjoy today. Today this pole felt like a victory."

Quartararo admitted the choice of soft tyres had initially caused him some issues on Saturday, though he was happy enough after a switch helped him achieve his target in qualifying.

"Today I've been struggling so much with the soft tyre," the Frenchman, who is the only MotoGP rider to claim points in every race so far this season, told the media. "I was not feeling great on the bike, but with the medium tyre I was immediately feeling better.

"I was struggling so much in acceleration. The main goal was to be on the front row, and we will not touch anymore the soft tyre. I’m happy about my pace – and also the tyres."

Marc Marquez and Aleix Espargaro join Martin on the second row, while Valentino Rossi, who has finished on the podium in four of his five most recent appearances at the British GP, ended up in eighth, sandwiched between Jack Miller and Johann Zarco.

Joan Mir, meanwhile, has work to do from 11th place. The reigning world champion sits level with Bagnaia in second place in the standings on 134 points, 47 adrift of leader Quartararo.

Related items

  • Hungarian Grand Prix: Brown suggests behind-the-scenes upheaval will eventually bite Red Bull Hungarian Grand Prix: Brown suggests behind-the-scenes upheaval will eventually bite Red Bull

    Red Bull's internal issues may hit their Formula One team down the line, so says McLaren chief Zak Brown.

    While Max Verstappen remains in control of the drivers' championship, and Red Bull lead the constructors' standings, their 2024 season has been far from ideal to date.

    Red Bull remain in pole on the track, but there have been issues off it as team boss Christian Horner's future appears uncertain, while lead designer Adrian Newey is leaving.

    Even if they are not caught this season, McLaren chief executive Brown feels the issues will eventually catch up with Red Bull if they do not find a resolution.

    And while Red Bull have scored points in each of the last 55 races, with Verstappen having seven wins this season, it was Mercedes who triumphed at the Austrian Grand Prix and Silverstone in the past two races, leaving Horner's outfit short of momentum.

    Ahead of this week's Hungarian Grand Prix, Brown said: "I think the turmoil will have more of a mid to longer-term impact.

    "Adrian Newey... this car was done last year, what they are racing now was done when everything was fine.

    "It's more 2026 when you've got a new engine coming, what's going on with the driver front? That's where you potentially are going to see the lack of stability that appears to be there maybe come through a little bit.

    "Winning holds things together and as that becomes more of a challenge for them, that's where you might see some more fractures in various relationships inside that camp."

    Brown's McLaren are enjoying a fine campaign. Lando Norris, with one race win under his belt and many other near misses, sits second to Verstappen in the standings, while the team are third in the constructors' championship, just seven points behind Ferrari.

    Indeed, six drivers have already tasted victory in 2024, which is the most in a single F1 season since 2012 (eight).

    And Brown feels next season will be an even more intriguing battle.

    "I think next year could be an epic season, right? You could have four teams fighting for the championship," he said.

    "It would be naive to rule out someone who's not in the top four right now, because we do see how quickly things can change.

    "Everyone has very similar technology, so there's no reason why others can't do what we've done the last year."

    This weekend's race will be the 39th edition of the Hungarian Grand Prix in F1. Since its appearance on the calendar in 1986, it is one of only four races that have been held each year without interruption, along with the British Grand Prix, Italian Grand Prix and Spanish Grand Prix.


    Max Verstappen - Red Bull

    Verstappen has won the last two editions of this race, and the Dutchman is aiming to become only the second driver in F1 history to win three in a row at the Hungarian Grand Prix, after Lewis Hamilton between 2018 and 2020.

    But the three-time reigning champion comes into the event after finishing fifth and second in his last two outings. He has not gone three successive races without a win since 2021 and on that occasion all three victories went to Mercedes, who have won the last two races.

    Is that a bad omen for Red Bull?

    Lewis Hamilton - Mercedes

    Hamilton celebrated his first victory since 2021 as he triumphed for Mercedes at Silverstone last time out.


    The Hungarian Grand Prix has always been one of his favourite races and no driver has won it more times (eight), had more pole positions (nine), reached more podiums (11) and scored more points (271) than Hamilton at the circuit.

    There is also a landmark in the offing.

    Hamilton has been on the podium 199 times in his F1 career (49 with McLaren and 150 with Mercedes). His next top-three finish will see him become the first driver to finish on the podium 200 times. 

    And even if Hamilton does not get a front-row placing in qualifying, do not rule him out. The last three Hungarian Grand Prix winners have not started from pole position. If this trend is repeated in 2024, it will be the second time that the winner has not started from pole position in four consecutive editions at the Hungaroring (four between 2008 and 2011).



    1. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) - 255
    2. Lando Norris (McLaren) - 171
    3. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) - 150
    4. Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) - 146
    5. Oscar Piastri (McLaren) - 124


    1. Red Bull - 373
    2. Ferrari - 302
    3. McLaren - 295
    4. Mercedes - 221
    5. Aston Martin - 68

  • Bearman hoping to learn from Hamilton ahead of Ferrari arrival Bearman hoping to learn from Hamilton ahead of Ferrari arrival

    Oliver Bearman is looking forward to learning from seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton when he arrives at Ferrari next season. 

    Bearman, who came through the Ferrari Driver Academy, secured his seat on the grid in 2025 after signing with Haas ahead of the British Grand Prix. 

    The 19-year-old impressed on his debut, finishing seventh for the Italian team at the Saudi Arabia Grand Prix after stepping in late for Carlos Sainz. 

    Hamilton secured his first victory of the season at Silverstone a week ago, ending a 945-day wait for a win, triumphing in the British Grand Prix for a record ninth time. 

    The triumph win the 104th of his career, and Bearman believes that experience will prove invaluable to Ferrari.

    "I think he'll bring a lot of experience to the team," Bearman told Sky Sports.

    "He's won seven world championships - that's something that not many people can say.

    "He'll bring a good mentality to the team, a winning mentality, but of course his talent is undeniable. He's one of the best to have ever done it."

    "It's great that in some way he can share his experience with me slightly," Bearman continued.

    Hamilton can set more records at this weekend's Hungarian Grand Prix. No driver has won more races (eight), more pole positions (nine), reached more podiums (11) and scored more points (271) at the Hungaroring than Hamilton in the history of Formula 1.

    The Brit is also a podium away from reaching 200 in his career (49 with McLaren and 150 with Mercedes) and would become the first driver in history to reach that milestone.

    While Ferrari's driver line-up is set for at least the next couple of seasons with Hamilton and Charles Leclerc signed to multi-year deals, Bearman says his ultimate ambition is to emulate the seven-time world champion. 

    "Of course, I want to win world championships, and to do that with Ferrari is my dream. They've been supporting me since 2021.

    "They've seen something from me early on. They decided to trust in me, and even just to put me behind the wheel in Jeddah was a big risk from Ferrari's side.

    "So that shows that they believe in me, that they trust in my capability, and of course one day I would love to win a championship, especially with Ferrari."

    Bearman will make his fourth of six Practice One appearances with Haas this year in Friday's opening practice session at the Hungarian Grand Prix.

  • Fraser McConnell and ASXE make podium in Round Three of the Hydro X Prix in Scotland Fraser McConnell and ASXE make podium in Round Three of the Hydro X Prix in Scotland

    The European leg of Extreme E Season 4 kickstarted in spectacular fashion at the Hydro X Prix in Scotland on July 13-14. The dramatic Round Three saw impressive performances, with Jamaica’s Fraser McConnell and his teammate Laia Sainz driving the ACCIONA | SAINZ XE Team (ASXE) to a commendable second place finish.

     McConnell was elated with their performance, sharing, “We managed to get second, amazing to be on the podium, so happy with the result, for the team, they worked so hard. The car was amazing. We had the pace in the final with the fastest lap to try and do something. Laia did an amazing job, incredible start and I’m so proud of her.”

     Sainz echoed McConnell’s sentiments, adding, “I think we can be really happy. Usually, the starts I’m not so good but today I think we did a good job for us, so happy tomorrow (Sunday). Let’s go.”

     In Heat 2, Timmy Hansen of Andretti Altawkilat led into turn one, closely followed by ASXE, NEOM McLaren XE, and RXR. RXR faced a setback after a spin and a dropped flag penalty, allowing NEOM McLaren XE to overtake ASXE for second place. However, a 10-second penalty for NEOM McLaren XE's Cristina Gutiérrez after a dropped Waypoint flag allowed ASXE to regain their position.

     Catie Munnings of Andretti Altawkilat held on to claim victory in Heat 2.

     In Heat 1 SUN Minimeal’s Timo Scheider made contact with E.ON Next Veloce’s Taylor while vying for the lead, resulting in an early 10-second penalty for SUN Minimeal. Despite leading at the Switch Zone, SUN Minimeal faced further challenges, including a puncture that sent Legacy M.C.'s Gray Leadbetter to the back of the pack.

     A fierce battle between E.ON Next Veloce’s Kevin Hansen and JBXE’s Andreas Bakkerud saw contact and subsequent spins, but Hansen eventually secured the overtake. SUN Minimeal’s Klara Andersson finished first but suffered a dramatic roll at the finish line and a time penalty, promoting E.ON Next Veloce to the top spot in the heat.


© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.