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British Grand Prix, qualifying, results, grid, Jack Miller, Pol Espargaro, how to watch

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Australian Jack Miller was lost for answers as he tried to explain his disappointing qualifying performance for the MotoGP British Grand Prix.

Miller posted the fastest lap to top the third practice time sheets and had impressed all weekend but ended up finishing seventh in qualifying, 0.479 seconds off Pol Espargaro who took pole.

The Aussie suggested new tyres may have been to blame for the drop in form.

“It definitely pisses you off,” he told Motorsport.com.

“I had two new tyres, the fact is they didn’t work as good as the other one.”

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Ducati’s Jack Miller struggled to explain the result. (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP)
Ducati’s Jack Miller struggled to explain the result. (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP)Source: AFP

Miller was tipped to be a top contender for pole position but instead it was Espargaro who came out on top.

Espargaro was made to wait just a little bit longer for the pole position that could revive his disastrous first season at Honda at Silverstone on Saturday.

The Spaniard had recorded the fastest time of 1min 58.889sec when compatriot Jorge Martin was credited with an astonishing 1:58 right at the end of qualifying for the British Grand Prix.

As both riders circled the track gesturing in disbelief, it took the timekeepers a few minutes to realise that the Pramac Ducati rider had cut across the chicane on his lap.

That left Italian Francesco Bagnaia of the factory Ducati team second fastest with 1.58.911. French championship leader Fabio Quartararo completed the front row of the grid for Yamaha.

Martin ended up fourth fastest after an earlier time. He is joined on the second row by the second Honda of Spaniard Marc Marquez and Pol’s older brother Aleix Espargaro of Aprilia.

Valentino Rossi, in his last British Grand Prix before retirement, was eighth fastest and will start on the third row.

Pol Espargaro, who has never won a MotoGP race, moved to Honda this season and had not recorded a pole position or a podium finish in the first 11 races at his new team.

“We were just celebrating like if I won the race,” he said.

“For me it’s more than that. OK, tomorrow is the race as well for points, but this is a huge step for me, not just this year but in my whole career to take a pole position is already a winning weekend after this tough season.”

“I’ve been struggling so much. Psychologically it’s a big bubble of oxygen. Sometimes the hard work doesn’t pay off, but in the end this happens.”

After two races in the summer heat in Austria, the cooler weather and grippier surface at Silverstone helped Espargaro but caused problems for other riders in the one-lap ‘time attack’ on new tyres.

“I don’t feel good on the bike,” said Quartararo after battling onto the front row.

“On the pace, I feel great but the bike is shaking everywhere on one lap. We need to see why.”

“I’m on the front row but really not happy because I felt like I’m not feeling comfortable on the time attack.”

‘It’s amazing! The more the merrier!’ | 02:50

“But we are fast on the pace and that’s the most important.”

Quartararo injured an ankle in a crash in practice on Friday but was fine as long as he stayed on his bike.

“My ankle is fine,” he said.

“It is not painful on the bike, which is the most important thing. I’m just struggling to walk. In the race it will be fine.”

Bagnaia, whose consistency has lifted him to second in the championship even though he is yet to win a MotoGP race, echoed the sentiment.

“The qualifying was not easy because in this track we are suffering a bit more with new tyres,” he said.

“But when I saw that everything was coming to me I was happy.”

Silverstone, one of the longest and fastest circuits on the calendar, was not on the programme in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic but returns this year to a sell-out crowd.

Starting grid for Sunday’s British Grand Prix, at Silverstone:

Front row: 1. Pol Espargaro (ESP/Honda) 1min 58.889sec, 2. Francesco Bagnaia (ITA/Ducati) 1:58.911, 3. Fabio Quartararo (FRA/Yamaha) 1:58.925

2nd row: 4. Jorge Martin (ESP/Ducati-Pramac) 1:59.074, 5. Marc Marquez (ESP/Honda) 1:59.086, 6. Aleix Espargaro (ESP/Aprilia) 1:59.273

3rd row: 7. Jack Miller (AUS/Ducati) 1:59.368, 8. Valentino Rossi (ITA/Yamaha-SRT) 1:59.531, 9. Johann Zarco (FRA/Ducati-Pramac) 1:59.579

4th row: 10. Alex Rins (ESP/Suzuki) 1:59.639, 11. Joan Mir (ESP/Suzuki) 1:59.763, 12. Brad Binder (RSA/KTM) 1:59.977

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McLaren boss Zak Brown ‘wouldn’t be shocked’ if Lewis Hamilton quits before 2022 season

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McLaren CEO Zak Brown says he “wouldn’t be shocked” if Lewis Hamilton chose to quit Formula One before the start of the 2022 season.

The seven-time world champion has kept his cards close to his chest since he missed out on last year’s title to Max Verstappen, who overtook him on the last lap of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in controversial circumstances.

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Speculation has been rife about Hamilton’s future after he was beaten to the world championship for the first time since 2016.

The 36-year-old and Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff snubbed the end-of-season F1 gala, even though they were required to attend.

Hamilton, who is contracted with Mercedes to the end of 2023, is yet to publicly confirm whether he will race on this year, but Wolff is hopeful his charge will return to the grid.

Brown, who is the boss of Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris, said he wouldn’t be surprised if Hamilton called it quits and walked away from F1.

“I wouldn’t be shocked if he stopped, so I don’t think anyone should take for granted he’s coming back,” he said.

“My personal opinion is he’s going to (continue racing), but I don’t think we should discount or not recognise his frustration and his anger.

Lewis Hamilton’s F1 future is up in the air. (Photo by Kamran Jebreili – Pool/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

“Maybe he hasn’t made a decision and maybe what he’s doing is taking time to make that decision to make sure, because once that decision is made, that decision is made.

“So, I don’t think we should rule it out or make light of it. I just personally think he still has a burning desire to race and that will ultimately drive his decision.”

Ultimately Brown believes Hamilton will continue to race in F1, driven by the desire to win a record-breaking eighth world championship.

“I think he’ll be back,” he said.

“He’s a racing driver. I think he’s at the top of his game.

“I’m sure he’s very angry, but I think race car drivers want to race and I think he’s a fighter, and he’ll want to come back and try to win an eighth championship.

“I don’t think he’s ready to retire; this is my own personal opinion, I’ve not talked to him, because once you hang it up, you hang it up.

“I guess you could come back as some have done, but I don’t think he’s ready to hang it up and I don’t think he’s going to let an incident put him into retirement.”

Hamilton lost the 2021 world championship to Max Verstappen in controversial circumstances. (Photo by ANDREJ ISAKOVIC / AFP)Source: AFP

Brown’s comments come after former F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone predicted Hamilton will retire before the 2022 season, which begins with the Bahrain Grand Prix on March 20.

The Brit reportedly also reportedly ignored messages from newly-elected FIA president Mahamaaed Ben Sulayem as time ticks on towards the start of the 2022 season.

Hamilton is expected to attend the virtual launch of Mercedes’ 2022 car on February 18.

Meanwhile, the fallout from the dramatic season finale in Abu Dhabi has continued.

The FIA, F1’s governing body, will reveal the results of their investigation into the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on March 18, just two days before the season gets underway in Bahrain.

There have been calls for the FIA to sack Australian race director Michael Masi, after he came under fire for his use of the safety car in the dying stages of the race.

Many F1 fans criticised Masi for his decision to move only the lapped cars between Hamilton and Verstappen to set up a final lap shootout between the two rivals.

Verstappen, on fresh tyres, overtook Hamilton to win the world title.

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F1 news 2022, Lewis Hamilton, Max Verstappen, 2021 title, appeal, decision date, new season calendar, full race schedule

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Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton must wait two more months for motorsport chiefs to reveal the results of their inquiry into the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix where the Dutchman clinched the 2021 world title.

Governing body, the FIA, said Thursday that the outcome will not be revealed until March 18, just two days before the 2022 season gets underway in Bahrain.

Hamilton was poised to capture a record-breaking eighth world title at the Abu Dhabi finale in December before a controversial safety car restart allowed Verstappen to pass the British driver on the last lap.

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(Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)
(Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

The incident has led to speculation that a disillusioned 37-year-old Hamilton may be prepared to turn his back on Formula One.

On Thursday, the FIA said that team chiefs as well as representatives of the ruling body will meet on January 19 to discuss the use of the safety car.

Drivers will also be brought into the discussions, it said.

“The outcome of the detailed analysis will be presented to the F1 Commission in February, and final decisions will be announced at the World Motor Sport Council in Bahrain on 18 March,” added the FIA.

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F1 news 2022, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, retirement, quit, latest, new contract, 2022 calendar, season

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Lewis Hamilton’s F1 future still remains unclear with just 69 days to go until the 2022 season begins as the FIA’s investigation into the how the 2021 season ended now thought to be key in his decision making.

The FIA has pledged to investigate the controversial circumstances around the final lap of the 2021 season which saw Max Verstappen pip Hamilton to the world title in Abu Dhabi.

Mercedes withdrew their appeal against the result after the FIA announced they would launch an investigation into the events surrounding the safety car procedures.

Hamilton made a cryptic reference to his future in his post-race interview with former teammate Jenson Button.

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(Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)
(Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

“We gave it everything and never gave up and that’s the most important thing. We’ll see about next year,” he said.

This pledge is now reportedly crucial in whether Hamilton decides to get into a Formula 1 car again, according to Sky Sports, and the delay in its findings are seemingly impacting the delay in the seven-time world champion’s decision.

Sky Sports News’ Craig Slater reported: “With 69 days to go until the first Grand Prix in Bahrain, it is still unclear whether Lewis Hamilton will be on the grid.

“In terms of Hamilton coming back to Formula 1, having the appetite to do so and getting over the ‘disillusionment’ that his team boss Toto Wolff said he felt after Abu Dhabi, the onus is on the FIA to deliver on the pledge they made before Christmas to investigate the happenings on that final lap and to come up with some findings.

“It is understood that Mercedes want to see something tangible. It’s been put to me like this: the longer this drags on then the worse the Lewis Hamilton situation is, and that is from a senior source.”

The 23-race 2022 season begins on March 18 with winter testing for the all-new generation of cars beginning on February 23.

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