The seven-time world champion had faced a huge deficit to Verstappen’s Red Bull in Friday’s sole practice session but turned in a stunning performance to top qualifying and line-up first for F1’s new sprint race.

Hamilton, who benefitted from getting a slipstream from Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas, posted a 1m26.134s to beat his main title rival Verstappen by just 0.075s and send a packed Silverstone crowd into raptures.

Hamilton had been going even faster on his second run until a mistake at Vale ruined his lap, but with Verstappen also unable to improve significantly, it was Hamilton who held on.

With a maximum of three points and pole position on offer for the British GP in Saturday’s 100km sprint race, Hamilton will be looking to beat Verstappen and claw back some of the Dutchman’s 32-point championship advantage.

Bottas took third in the second Mercedes and was just 0.194s adrift of Hamilton’s benchmark.

Charles Leclerc produced a brilliant lap to claim fourth place for Ferrari, almost seven-tenths down on the front-running trio.

The Monegasque outpaced Red Bull’s Sergio Perez, who never featured in the battle to top qualifying and will line up a disappointing fifth ahead of the McLaren pair of Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo.

A sensational lap from George Russell sealed eighth place on the grid ahead of Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz and Aston Martin driver Sebastian Vettel as he made it back-to-back Q3 appearances for Williams.

Two-time F1 world champion Fernando Alonso narrowly missed out on a spot in Q3 as he outpaced AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly and Alpine teammate Esteban Ocon to take 11th.

Antonio Giovinazzi again out-qualified experienced Alfa Romeo teammate Kimi Raikkonen to secure 14th on the grid, having set a time one-tenth quicker than Lance Stroll managed.

The Aston Martin driver was lacking confidence and unhappy with his set-up in Friday’s sole practice session and his struggles continued in qualifying on his way to a lowly 15th.

AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda was eliminated in the first segment of qualifying along with Raikkonen and Nicholas Latifi’s Williams.

As has become the norm in 2021, both Haas drivers were also knocked out in Q1 as they formed the last row of the grid.

Mick Schumacher once again outpaced his fellow rookie teammate Nikita Mazepin, who will start F1’s first-ever sprint race from the very back.

Full results from qualifying for the 2021 F1 British Grand Prix.