With its starting lineup set by qualifying on Friday evening, the 100km sprint decides the grid order for Sunday’s British GP.
Verstappen outdragged Hamilton away from the startline and repelled two attacks from his title rival on the opening lap. Verstappen’s victory officially gives him the British GP pole position accolade.
2021 British Grand Prix sprint results
How the British Grand Prix sprint unfolded
Although his brakes caught fire on the grid, Verstappen beat pole sitter Hamilton on the run to Turn 1.
Hamilton twice got alongside the Red Bull into Brooklands and Copse on the opening lap, but Verstappen held him off both times.
From third on the grid Valtteri Bottas started his Mercedes on soft tyres, unlike the majority on mediums, along with the Alpines of Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon and Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen.
Alonso used the extra grip to leap from 11th to fifth, after a stunning sequence of opening corners, to run behind Bottas and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.
Red Bull’s Sergio Perez lost track position to both McLarens but re-passed Daniel Ricciardo on the opening lap. Further back, George Russell (Williams) and Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) touched at Brooklands, sending Sainz back to 18th – while Nikita Mazepin hit his Haas team-mate Mick Schumacher and spun.
Verstappen pulled out of Hamilton’s DRS range out front, but his teammate Perez spun off at Becketts on lap five, dropping to 19th.
Norris passed Alonso for fifth on Lap 6 at Village, while Ricciardo did likewise at The Loop four tours later.
Verstappen cruised to victory over Hamilton by 1.4s, with Bottas a distant third ahead of Leclerc, Norris and Ricciardo.
Alonso fell back into the clutches of Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel, but the German couldn’t find a way past. Russell and Ocon rounded out the top 10.
Sainz recovered to finish 11th, while Perez retired his car from 18th place at the start of the final lap.