Hamilton heads Mercedes front row at the Hungaroring

Lewis Hamilton heads up a Mercedes front row in qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix, with title rival Max Verstappen ending up in third position behind Valtteri Bottas.

The Mercedes and Red Bull cars will head into the race on split tyre strategies after Verstappen and teammate Sergio Perez – who missed setting a final Q3 lap at the back of the queue as the Red Bulls trailed behind the slowly touring Mercedes drivers on the final warm-up lap – used the soft tyres to set their best times in Q2, where Hamilton and Bottas got through on the mediums.

After Verstappen had topped Q1 and Q2, Hamilton led the way after the opening runs in Q3, with a one minute, 15.419 seconds, as his title rival was unable to match his best time from the middle of qualifying.

The 0.565 seconds gap Verstappen faced to Hamilton left Bottas with the chance to slot in ahead in second, which he did.

Ahead of the second and final Q3 runs, Verstappen emerged from his garage right behind Hamilton, who drove very slowly down the pitlane and early and then late in the final warm-up tour as he stayed ahead of the Red Bull.

With the clock ticking down as a result of the slow preparation-lap driving, Verstappen only just made it across the line to start a second Q3 flier, while Perez missed out but held onto to fourth in any case.

But the slow warm-up lap tactics backfired for Mercedes in terms of its drivers improving on their second goes, as Bottas, who led Hamilton around, did not go quicker and nor did the world champion.

But while Verstappen did improve to a one minute, 15.840 seconds, it wasn’t enough to get him ahead of either Mercedes car, with Hamilton’s pole secure ahead of his teammate.

Pierre Gasly beat Lando Norris and Charles Leclerc to fifth for AlphaTauri, with Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso eighth and ninth for Alpine.

Sebastian Vettel rounded out the top ten after running an off-set Q3 strategy, completing his one minute, 16.750 seconds on a single run in the middle of the final segment.

In Q2, where Verstappen went quickest after switching to the softs, Sebastian Vettel’s late improvement knocked out Daniel Ricciardo, who’s personal best on his final lap in the middle segment was not enough to get him through to Q3.

Lance Stroll took P12 for Aston Martin to finish ahead of Alfa Romeo pair Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi – who was given a reprimand for impeding Gasly in FP3, while his team was fined €5,000 for the incident where Giovinazzi clipped Stroll’s right-rear while exiting the pitlane in final practice.

The other driver eliminated in Q2 was Carlos Sainz, who lost the rear of his Ferrari running through the final corner on his first timed lap in the opening segment, with the car sliding sideways across the runoff area and hitting the barriers side-on.

He was able to drive away as the session was red flagged, but soon stopped after his front wing broke off and became trapped under the car.

Although Sainz did pull away again after sitting in his car for a few minutes, but he eventually turned the engine off and climbed out, ending Q2 in P15 without a time set, and after Sainz had appeared to impede Gasly late in Q1, with the Ferrari taking to the kerbs at Turn 1 in a bid to get out of the way of the rapidly approaching AlphaTauri.

In Q1, Yuki Tsunoda set a personal best on his final lap in the opening segment but could not improve enough and was eliminated, as was George Russell, who lost his perfect record of escaping Q1 at every race so far in 2021 for Williams.

Russell appeared to go deep at Turn 2 and then ran wide exiting the Turns 6/7 chicane, kicking up dust as he pushed on with his final Q1 lap, but wound up behind Tsunoda in P17, ending his run of Q3 appearances at two.

Nicholas Latifi also set a personal best on his final Q1 lap as he took P18 in the second Williams, with Nikita Mazepin P19 for Haas.

Mick Schumacher could not take part in qualifying as a result of his red-flag-causing FP3 crash, with Haas unable to repair the car in time after changing its gearbox to get the rookie out to set a time in Q1.

So congratulations to Lewis Hamilton in achieving his 101st career pole position in Formula 1. Starting on the front row is a bonus on this twisty circuit where overtaking is tricky. Can championship rival Max Verstappen fight back despite qualifying in third? Bring on the race.

Hungarian Grand Prix, qualifying results:

1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:15.419
2 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:15.734
3 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda 1:15.840
4 Sergio Perez Red Bull-Honda 1:16.421
5 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri-Honda 1:16.483
6 Lando Norris McLaren-Mercedes 1:16.489
7 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:16.496
8 Esteban Ocon Alpine-Renault 1:16.653
9 Fernando Alonso Alpine-Renault 1:16.715
10 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin-Mercedes 1:16.750
11 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren-Mercedes 1:16.871
12 Lance Stroll Aston Martin-Mercedes 1:16.893
13 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo Racing-Ferrari 1:17.564
14 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1:17.583
15 Carlos Sainz Jr. Ferrari –
16 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri-Honda 1:17.919
17 George Russell Williams-Mercedes 1:17.944
18 Nicholas Latifi Williams-Mercedes 1:18.036
19 Nikita Mazepin Haas-Ferrari 1:18.922
20 Mick Schumacher Haas-Ferrari –

Hamilton wins dramatic British Grand Prix despite clashing with Verstappen

Home crowd favourite Lewis Hamilton won a dramatic British Grand Prix from Charles Leclerc at Silverstone, following an opening lap clash with Max Verstappen which put the Red Bull driver out of the race.

Hamilton was penalised for the controversial incident at Copse corner, just after which Leclerc had surged into the lead before the race was red flagged.

Leclerc led the majority of the restarted race, including while managing an intermittent engine problem, but was unable to resist Hamilton’s late charge back to the front following his lengthy pitstop, where he had served his 10-second time penalty.

Unlike in the sprint race, Hamilton made the better getaway at the first start and was alongside polesitter Verstappen as they raced into Abbey, with the Red Bull hanging on around the outside – nearly going into the runoff area – to lead at the race’s first braking point – Village.

The battle continued, the pair running so closely side-by-side they appeared to touch, down the Wellington straight, at the end of which Hamilton surged ahead on the outside line, with Verstappen then skating over the inside kerbs and to stay ahead, even though it took him wide on the exit.

Verstappen’s tighter entry through Luffield meant Hamilton was able to surge into his slipstream on the national pit straight, diving to the inside and very close to the barriers after Verstappen had moved to cover the inside line for Copse.

There, with Hamilton a long way alongside, the pair collided as they ran through the rapid right-hander, with Hamilton’s left-front clipping Verstappen’s right-rear and popping it off the car, which was spun around at high-speed and sent into the barriers in the outside.

Verstappen hit the tyre wall side on, where he gingerly climbed from the wreckage after the race had been red flagged, from an initial safety car intervention. The Red Bull driver was later taken to a nearby hospital “for further precautionary checks”, per an FIA spokesperson.

Leclerc led at this point after the Ferrari had surged past Hamilton, who had lost speed in the clash with the Red Bull, exiting Copse.

The race was suspended for nearly half an hour, during which Red Bull and Mercedes presented their opposing viewpoints to race director Michael Masi, as the stewards investigated the incident.

At the standing restart on the race’s third lap of 52, Leclerc stayed ahead of Hamilton off the line, while Lando Norris passed Bottas identical fashion to Leclerc at the initial start to run third ahead of the second Mercedes.

Leclerc surged to a 1.2-second lead at the end of the first lap and he kept Hamilton – who had been told to push after being handed a 10s time addition for the incident with Verstappen – at arm’s length for the next phase of the race – where they traded fastest laps in the high one minute, 32 seconds.

Ferrari informed Leclerc that it was switching him to “Plan B” – a one-stopper with an elongated first stint – as Hamilton struggled to make progress following in the dirty air.

But the world champion was able to close in and run in DRS range approaching lap 20 after Leclerc suffered a series of engine power “cuts”, with Ferrari hurriedly having to tell him to alter the power unit’s settings.

The issue appeared to be rectified (although Leclerc reported the issue on an additional occasion before being told to avoiding upshifting if the cut occurred again) and so the Ferrari driver was able to pull out his advantage again as Hamilton reported blistering on both his front tyres, after he had pushed to try and take advantage of Leclerc’s power problem.

Leclerc’s pace was so strong that Ferrari kept him out until lap 29, two laps after Hamilton had stopped to switch his medium tyres for hards – and one lap after Carlos Sainz had lost over 10 seconds with a slow left-front change.

But Leclerc had no such problem and started his stint on the hards with a lead of 7.7 seconds over Bottas, which he quickly set about extending.

Hamilton ran behind Norris after his long stop, the McLaren having fallen behind Bottas as a result of his own pitstop delay as a result of a slow right-rear change that cost him around four second.

The Mercedes driver quickly closed in on Norris and passed him on the run to the inside of Copse on lap 31, at the end of which Leclerc led Bottas by nearly 10 seconds and was 13.5 seconds in front of Hamilton.

Over the next ten laps, as Leclerc managed his pace in the mid one minute, 31 seconds up front, Hamilton charged up to his teammate with a series of laps in the mid-high one minute, 29 seconds, with Mercedes ordering Bottas not to hold the world champion up and then let him by at Stowe on lap 40.

That left Leclerc with 7.6s lead to defend over the final 12 laps, with Ferrari ordering him to “full push to the end”, as Hamilton continued to eat into his advantage.

The Mercedes driver regularly took up to a second a lap from Leclerc, reaching DRS range with just over three laps remaining, where Leclerc was struggling with lapped traffic.

On lap 50, Hamilton once again looked to the inside at Copse, with Leclerc desperately trying to hang on around the outside.

But the Ferrari driver had to catch a snap of oversteer and went wide over the exit kerbs and ran off, rejoining just behind Hamilton, who surged clear to victory by 3.8s.

Bottas finished 11.1 seconds off the lead in third, with Norris fourth ahead of Daniel Ricciardo, who defied Sainz to the finish.

Fernando Alonso was another driver who suffered a slow pitstop, before which he had briefly battled Bottas when the Mercedes came out of the pits from its only stop, and he eventually came home seventh after passing Lance Stroll following the slow service.

Stroll took eighth ahead of Esteban Ocon in the second Alpine, with Yuki Tsunoda claiming the final point in 10th.

Pierre Gasly had to pit late on with a puncture and finished P11 ahead of George Russell.

Kimi Raikkonen and Sergio Perez clashed late on – an incident that will be investigated after the race.

So a dramatic British Grand Prix with the two title contenders colliding on lap 1 at Copse corner. Max Verstappen lost out with Lewis Hamilton receiving a time penalty but got the speed to win the race at Silverstone.

British Grand Prix, race results:

1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:58:23.284
2 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 3.871
3 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 11.125
4 Lando Norris McLaren-Mercedes 28.573
5 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren-Mercedes 42.624
6 Carlos Sainz Jr. Ferrari 43.454
7 Fernando Alonso Alpine-Renault  1:12.093
8 Lance Stroll Aston Martin-Mercedes 1:14.289
9 Esteban Ocon Alpine-Renault 1:16.162
10 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri-Honda 1:22.065
11 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri-Honda 1:25.327
12 George Russell Williams-Mercedes +1 lap
13 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo-Ferrari  +1 lap
14 Nicholas Latifi Williams-Mercedes  +1 lap
15 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo-Ferrari  +1 lap
16 Sergio Perez Red Bull-Honda   +1 lap
17 Nikita Mazepin Haas-Ferrari   +1 lap
18 Mick Schumacher Haas-Ferrari    +1 lap
– Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin-Mercedes   +1 lap
– Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda   +1 lap

Verstappen wins sprint to pole position

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen won Formula 1’s first sprint qualifying race at Silverstone, beating home favourite Lewis Hamilton after taking the lead from the Mercedes driver with a better start.

Valtteri Bottas finished in third position ahead of Charles Leclerc, while an early-race spin and then late retirement cost Sergio Perez badly in the other Red Bull.

When the five red lights went out for the 17-lap race, Verstappen made the better getaway – his initial movement putting out a fire on his left-front brake – and was immediately alongside Hamilton as they raced away from the grid.

Verstappen swept in Abbey in the lead and defend first place with a series of weaves down the Wellington straight and then rebuffed Hamilton’s attack around the outside of Copse.

That move cost Hamilton momentum and Verstappen opened up a 1.1-second at the end of the opening tour – on which Fernando Alonso used his soft tyres (Bottas, Esteban Ocon and Kimi Raikkonen were the only other drivers to start on the red-walled rubber, with the rest on mediums) to gain six places from 11th on the grid to run sixth.

The two leaders quickly opened up a gap over Bottas, who took a few laps to join them running in the 1m30s bracket, with Verstappen and Hamilton exchanging fastest laps during the early tours.

By the halfway point, Verstappen had built a two second advantage, as he and Hamilton lapped in the low 1m30s and continued to pull away from Bottas, who was being chased by Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.

Alonso had been holding up the pack behind, having steamed around the outside of several rivals at the race’s first corner, then taken advantage of the two McLarens and Perez battling on the opening lap, but was overtaken by Lando Norris on lap six and Daniel Ricciardo on lap nine – the first McLaren getting by with a dive to the inside of Village, while the other got by with a better exit from the tight right hander in their respective moves.

With Verstappen and Hamilton continuing to trade fastest laps up front, the gap between them fluctuated ever so slightly, as they both had to cope with their right front tyres blistering heavily.

Although the tyre issue did not have any major impact on their pace, Red Bull instructed Verstappen to avoid the kerbs in the closing laps – which dropped his lead from a maximum of 2.8 seconds to 1.4 seconds at the flag – where he sealed pole for Sunday’s British Grand Prix.

The decision to start Bottas on softs did not pay off for Mercedes, as he finished 7.5 seconds behind Verstappen, albeit solidly head of Leclerc, who was a further 3.7 seconds to maintain fourth on the grid for the main race.

Norris and Ricciardo chased the Ferrari home but were well behind after their battles with Alonso, who was given a warning for weaving down the straights as he held off Sebastian Vettel to the finish to take seventh – the Alpine driver having also been trying to break the tow when defending from the McLarens earlier on.

George Russell finished ninth for Williams ahead of Esteban Ocon, but Russell faces a post-race investigation into a lap one clash with Carlos Sainz at Brooklands.

The Williams driver locked up at the sweeping left-hander and ran into the side of the Ferrari, which was forced off and Sainz dropped to 18th before recovering back to 11th and 0.4s behind Ocon at the finish.

The race’s big loser was Perez, who will start tomorrow’s race from last place after retiring on the final lap.

The Red Bull driver had been running 18th after losing the rear of his RB16B running behind Alonso and Norris on lap five as they charged through Chapel – Perez going through a full 360-degree, high-speed spin and shooting through the grass and a gravel at the top of the Hanger straight.

He rejoined after just keeping his car from hitting the wall.

The race’s other major incident involved the Haas duo on the opening lap, with Nikita Mazepin spinning after glancing the right-hand sidepod of teammate Mick Schumacher’s car, which looped the Russian driver around, and he eventually came home 9.4 seconds behind Schumacher.

So congratulations to the championship leader with this ‘victory’ in this qualifying race to pole. Bonus three points is valuable to Max Verstappen in his quest for the 2021 championship. Bring on the main Silverstone race.

Sprint qualifying results, British Grand Prix:

1 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda 17 laps
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1.430
3 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 7.502
4 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 11.278
5 Lando Norris McLaren-Mercedes 24.111
6 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren-Mercedes 30.959
7 Fernando Alonso Alpine-Renault 43.527
8 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin-Mercedes 44.439
9 George Russell Williams-Mercedes 46.652
10 Esteban Ocon Alpine-Renault 47.395
11 Carlos Sainz Jr. Ferrari 47.798
12 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri-Honda 48.763
13 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 50.677
14 Lance Stroll Aston Martin-Mercedes 52.179
15 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 53.225
16 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri-Honda 53.567
17 Nicholas Latifi Williams-Mercedes 55.162
18 Mick Schumacher Haas-Ferrari 1:08.213
19 Nikita Mazepin Haas-Ferrari 1:17.648
20 Sergio Perez Red Bull-Honda Red Bull 16 laps

Home crowd favourite Hamilton in P1 in Friday qualifying

The British Grand Prix home crowd favourite Lewis Hamilton will start Formula 1’s first sprint qualifying race from first position ahead of title rival Max Verstappen.

The Mercedes driver led the pack after the first runs in Q3 with a one minute, 26.134 seconds, with Verstappen – who had commandingly led the sole practice session on Friday – trailing and unhappy with his Red Bull understeering around Silverstone.

On the final runs, Hamilton looked set to improve the fastest time with purple sectors in the opening two thirds of the lap, but a lurid slide exiting the first part of the final sequence of Turns at Club cost him, and he did not go quicker.

But although Verstappen cut the gap to his title rival to 0.075-seconds from 0.172 seconds after the first runs, the championship leader ended up second – to the delight of the packed Silverstone crowd.

Valtteri Bottas took third, with Charles Leclerc fourth after Sergio Perez lost his best and final lap in Q3 for running too wide out of Stowe, which shuffled the Red Bull driver behind the Ferrari.

Lando Norris pipped Daniel Ricciardo to sixth, reversing the order between the McLaren teammates through Q1 and Q2.

George Russell ran an offset Q3 programme after sensationally making it through to the final segment, running solo with over four minutes on his sole run in the third part of qualifying.

His one minute, 26.971 seconds was cheered all the way around by his home fans, with that time putting him ahead of Carlos Sainz and Sebastian Vettel, who lost his first Q3 time for a track limits infringement at Stowe, at the end of the top ten.

In Q2, Russell’s lap jump to reach Q3 for the second race in a row knocked out Alonso, as Norris also slotted in just ahead of the Alpine driver late on and left him P11.

Pierre Gasly took 12th ahead of Esteban Ocon, who was the only eliminated driver not to set a personal best on their final laps in the middle segment.

Antonio Giovinazzi could not reproduce his fastest time from Q1, where he was P12, as he finished Q2 in P14 for Alfa Romeo, ahead of Lance Stroll, who did find time compared to his best lap in the opening part of the session, but not enough to gain him any places for the sprint qualifying race grid.

In Q1, Yuki Tsunoda could not set a personal best time on his final lap in the opening segment as he wound up P16 and eliminated in the second AlphaTauri.

Kimi Raikkonen and Nicholas Latifi did set their best times on their last laps but could not find enough time for Alfa Romeo and Williams respectively, as they ended up P17 and P18.

The Haas pair took the final two places, with Mick Schumacher leading Nikita Mazepin, who half-spun late-on in Q1 after losing the rear of his car putting the power down exiting Turn 3, Village.

All the running on Friday night took place on the soft tyres – per the rules of the sprint qualifying race weekend format – with no need to take the rubber used in Q2 to start the British Grand Prix on Sunday.

All teams will therefore be free to pick the tyres they want to start on for both the sprint qualifying race and the main race.

Qualifying times, British Grand Prix:
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:26.134
2 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda 1:26.209
3 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:26.328
4 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:26.828
5 Sergio Perez Red Bull-Honda 1:26.844
6 Lando Norris McLaren-Mercedes 1:26.897
7 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren-Mercedes 1:26.899
8 George Russell Williams-Mercedes 1:26.971
9 Carlos Sainz Jr. Ferrari 1:27.007
10 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin-Mercedes 1:27.179
11 Fernando Alonso Alpine-Renault 1:27.245
12 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri-Honda 1:27.273
13 Esteban Ocon Alpine-Renaul 1:27.340
14 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1:27.617
15 Lance Stroll Aston Martin-Mercedes 1:27.665
16 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri-Honda 1:28.043
17 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1:28.062
18 Nicholas Latifi Williams-Mercedes 1:28.254
19 Mick Schumacher Haas-Ferrari 1:28.738
20 Nikita Mazepin Haas-Ferrari 1:29.051

Dominant Verstappen victorious again at the Red Bull Ring

Max Verstappen produced a dominant display in the Red Bull by winning the Austrian Grand Prix with a solid drive in the RB16B. The championship leader finished ahead of Valtteri Bottas and Lando Norris, while Lewis Hamilton dropped back after picking up damage.

Verstappen’s advantage was so great that he had enough time to pit for a second time and put the fastest lap bonus point target out of sight for the rest, while Bottas benefitted from being allowed by Hamilton in a Mercedes team order and Norris got by too to claim a podium despite picking up a penalty for an early incident with Sergio Perez.

At the start, Norris got a slightly better getaway, which forced Verstappen to swing across from pole and cover the run to the uphill right of Turn 1, where he consolidated first place and shot clear.

In the pack behind, Hamilton pressured Perez for third position at the long, downhill right of Turn 4, shortly before racing was suspended as the safety car was called out due to Esteban Ocon stopping with a broken right front on the run between Turns 3 and 4 after he was caught between Mick Schumacher’s Haas and Alfa Romeo driver Antonio Giovinazzi at the tight uphill right of Turn 3.

The race restarted on lap four of 71, where Verstappen waiting until he was well clear of the final corner before firing back up to full speed allowed Perez to get a run on Norris of the outside of the first corner.

The Mexican driver took to the run-off exiting the turn and dropped back behind Norris, with the Mercedes cars swarming as they shot back up to Turn 3.

Perez attacked Norris around the outside of Turn 4 but was edged out wide and into the gravel, for which the McLaren driver was later given a five second time addition, as the Red Bull fell to 10th and Hamilton and Bottas powered by.

Verstappen was 1.9 seconds clear at the end of the first full lap of racing and he quickly extended his lead to almost 10s with a string of fastest laps in the low 1m09s, as Norris repelled Hamilton’s attentions until lap 20.

The Mercedes driver had closed in again after Norris initially kept him at bay despite McLaren’s concerns that his pace in the mid one minute, 09 seconds was hurting his left rear tyre, and Hamilton got by using DRS to blast ahead on the run down to Turn 4, after initially attacking at the outside of Turn 3.

Verstappen continued to extend his lead to over 12 seconds by the time Hamilton pitted at the end of lap 31, where the Mercedes switched from the mediums to the hards, which Red Bull did for Verstappen the next time by.

After emerging comfortably in the lead, Verstappen continued to build his gap at the start of the second stint, which quickly became a considerable advantage as Hamilton began to struggle for rear grip as a result of damaged sustained to the left-rear aerodynamic surfaces of his car, which Mercedes suggested to Bottas was due to running over the kerbs exiting the final corner.

As Verstappen stroked clear to a lead of over 23 seconds, Hamilton came under pressure from Bottas, who had jumped ahead of Norris when the McLaren driver served his time penalty when the pair stopped for hards the lap before Hamilton.

Mercedes initially ordered Bottas not to attack his teammate while the situation was reviewed, but as the final 20 laps began, Valterri was told he was free to race, with Norris looming just over a second behind.

Then Mercedes decided it would swap the order of its cars, with Hamilton allowing Bottas to the inside of Turn 3 on lap 52, while Norris closing on the world champion as Bottas ran clear.

Norris attacked Hamilton two laps later with a look to the outside of Turn 4, but was repulsed there before he nipped ahead at the inside of the fast, sweeping left of Turn 6 to rise back to a podium position, with Hamilton then pitting for a second time at the end of that tour.

Red Bull called Verstappen in for a second stop at the end of lap 60, with the Dutchman taking them to the fastest lap on a 1m06.200s, having already held the accolade even before his second stop during a brief exchange of times with Carlos Sainz and Hamilton just before coming in for his second set of hards.

Norris chased Bottas to the end, but wound up 2.0 seconds behind, with Verstappen enjoying a final winning margin of 17.9 seconds.

Hamilton came only a lonely fourth, ahead of Perez, who took fifth on the road but ended up sixth after picking up a pair of 5 seconds penalties for twice clashing with Charles Leclerc in similar circumstances, and on the first occasion at the same place, as his incident with Norris.

The second incident between Perez and Leclerc happened with the Ferrari attempting to go by around the outside of Turn 6 before he was edged into the gravel, after which Perez ran clear and passed Daniel Ricciardo.

Perez tried to build enough of a gap to hold onto fifth despite his time additions come, running reasonably close to Hamilton by the finish, but Carlos Sainz’s late charge after running long on the hards from P10 of the grid meant he was just within the 10s margin to claim fifth at the flag.

Sainz had been allowed past Leclerc after the Monegasque driver had failed in several bids to pass Ricciardo, with the McLaren driver taking seventh and Leclerc eighth.

Pierre Gasly was the lead two-stop runner in ninth, while Fernando Alonso took the final point to deny George Russell, who had lost several places on the opening lap having started eighth.

Russell resisted for several laps in a thrilling duel before Alonso got by with three laps left – using DRS to get the inside of Turn 4 after going deep defending at Turn 3.

On the final lap, Russell’s 11th place was also under threat from Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel, who was also charging on a two-stopper.

When Russell and Raikkonen locked up at Turn 4, Vettel brought his Aston Martin alongside and ahead of his former teammate, who ran into the German’s left-hand side as Russell ran clear.

Both Raikkonen and Vettel speared off into the gravel behind Turn 5, where they retired.

So congratulations to Max Verstappen with this commanding victory at the team’s home track. Red Bull Racing are on a roll with wins and leading both championship is a bonus. Silversone is next and it will be interesting if Mercedes can strike back.

Austrian Grand Prix, race results:
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda 1:23:54.543
2 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 17.973
3 Lando Norris McLaren-Mercedes 20.019
4 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 46.452
5 Carlos Sainz Jr. Ferrari 57.144
6 Sergio Perez Red Bull-Honda 57.915
7 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren-Mercedes 1:00.395
8 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:01.195
9 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri-Honda 1:01.844
10 Fernando Alonso Alpine-Renault +1 lap
11 George Russell Williams-Mercedes +1 lap
12 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri-Honda +1 lap
13 Lance Stroll Aston Martin-Mercedes +1 lap
14 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo-Ferrari +1 lap
15 Nicholas Latifi Williams-Mercedes +1 lap
16 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo-Ferrari +1 lap
17 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin-Mercedes DNF
18 Mick Schumacher Haas-Ferrari +2 laps
19 Nikita Mazepin Haas-Ferrari +2 laps
– Esteban Ocon Alpine-Renault DNF

Verstappen scores pole position with Norris taking an excellent second

Championship leader Max Verstappen achieved his third successive pole position, beating Lando Norris in the McLaren to take P1 at the Austrian Grand Prix.

Sergio Perez slotted into third for Red Bull Racing, while the Mercedes drivers trailing in fourth and fifth position after they were unable to improve on their final Q3 laps.

As was the case in last weekend’s Styrian Grand Prix, Verstappen set pole on his first run in the final part of qualifying with a time of one minute, 03.720 seconds.

Max led the pack for the final fliers but was down throughout the opening two sectors and despite setting a purple third sector Verstappen ended up fractionally down on his best time.

Norris had been second after the opening Q3 runs and held onto to take his best Formula 1 career qualifying spot, just 0.048 seconds down on Verstappen after recording the fastest time in the first sector on his final flying lap.

Perez jumped to third with his final lap, which bumped Hamilton and Bottas down, as neither Black Arrows driver went faster on their second attempts in Q3.

They were followed by AlphaTauri pair Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda, with birthday boy Sebastian Vettel taking eighth but now faces a post-qualifying investigation for appearing to impede Fernando Alonso at the end of Q2.

George Russell took a sensational ninth for Williams in his first Q3 appearance for the team, which got a car through to the final part of qualifying for the first time since the 2018 Italian Grand Prix.

Russell only had one attempt in Q3, but managed to beat Lance Stroll to ninth position.

The Ferrari duo stayed on the medium tyres throughout Q2 but were knocked out by Russell’s final effort, as the Williams driver made it through to the final segment on the yellow-walled tyre along with the Red Bull and Mercedes drivers and Norris.

Carlos Sainz led Charles Leclerc in P11 and P12, with Daniel Ricciardo unable to find enough time on his final run after switching from the mediums to the softs to avoid elimination in P13.

Alonso ended up P14 after his final Q2 lap was spoiled by encountering Vettel going slowly on the racing line ahead of the last corner as the Alpine approached at high speed.

Vettel appeared to step on the gas when Alonso came up behind him but the damage to the two-time champion’s lap was done as he had to lift off heading through the fast right-hander.

The drivers had been warned ahead of FP3 not to drive slowly between the final two corners via an update to race director Michael Masi’s event notes, with Vettel therefore likely to take a penalty over the incident, which infuriated Alonso, who gestured angrily at the Aston Martin driver after passing by on the pit straight, with Vettel – who was left without enough time to start a final flying lap in Q2 – waving back in apology as they went through Turn 1.

Antonio Giovinazzi could not replicate his strong FP3 form and finished P15 after progressing through from Q1.

In the opening segment, Russell’s last-gasp improvement to continue his impressive record of progressing to Q2 in 2021 knocked out Kimi Raikkonen, who set his personal best lap on his final lap but did not improve enough to go through.

Esteban Ocon had been at risk of elimination throughout the first phase of qualifying and while the Alpine driver did find time on his final Q1 run he was shuffled down the order as others improved at the end and the Alpine driver ended up P17.

Nicholas Latifi took P18 for Williams, ahead of Haas pair Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin.

So an excellent qualifying session for the orange crowd with Verstappen taking pole position and McLaren grabbing a front row start thanks to Norris. Bring on the race!

Austrian Grand Prix, qualifying results:
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda 1:03.720
2 Lando Norris McLaren-Mercedes 1:03.768
3 Sergio Perez Red Bull-Honda 1:03.990
4 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:04.014
5 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:04.049
6 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri-Honda 1:04.107
7 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri-Honda 1:04.273
8 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin-Mercedes 1:04.570
9 George Russell Williams-Mercedes 1:04.591
10 Lance Stroll Aston Martin-Mercedes 1:04.618
11 Carlos Sainz Jr. Ferrari 1:04.559
12 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:04.600
13 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren-Mercedes 1:04.719
14 Fernando Alonso Alpine-Renault 1:04.856
15 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1:05.083
16 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1:05.009
17 Esteban Ocon Alpine-Renault 1:05.051
18 Nicholas Latifi Williams-Mercedes 1:05.195
19 Mick Schumacher Haas-Ferrari 1:05.427
20 Nikita Mazepin Haas-Ferrari 1:05.951