Verstappen takes pole at the Red Bull Ring

This was the perfect Saturday for Max Verstappen. Won the sprint race earlier and following that result, the triple champion achieved pole position for the Austrian Grand Prix.

Lining up on the front row is Lando Norris. Repeating the same result like the sprint qualifying with this front row. His McLaren teammate Oscar Piastri should’ve been third quickest but had the time deleted due to track limits. So George Russell got promoted to P3 for Mercedes.

After being put under much pressure from Norris and McLaren in sprint qualifying and Saturday’s first race of the weekend, Verstappen was in command throughout the qualifying session that sets the grid for the main event – particularly after he swept through Q2 with a time of one minute, 04.469 seconds that Norris could not get near.

In Q3, Verstappen led the leading pack around and went quicker still with a time of one minute, 04.426 seconds, with Norris chasing him at this stage 0.361 seconds slower but with an edge in the first sector.

On the second runs, Max still could not beat Lando’s session-leading sector one time and then did not better his personal best in the middle third of the lap, but a superb final sector improved the pole time to one minute, 04.314 seconds.

Norris shuffled his teammate Oscar Piastri back to claim second before the other McLaren had its best time deleted to running too wide at Turn 6 on the second Q3 runs.

Russell then moved into third with the final Q3 run, which was not spoiled by Charles Leclerc going off for Ferrari ahead.

The Scuderia’s post-sprint changes appeared to have made it much more competitive, with Carlos Sainz ending up fourth and one position better than he managed in sprint qualifying.

But Leclerc was its best hope in Q3 as he had been close to the McLaren drivers’ times despite being on used tyres in Q2 and then at the start of Q3, but on his single new tyre run Leclerc clipped the Turn 6 gravel and lost time, then went off dramatically at the final two corners.

Leclerc being able to drive through the runoff meant no yellow flags flew to interrupt the laps of the chasing Mercedes drivers, as Lewis Hamilton ended up fifth and Russell leapt up the order.

Leclerc finished sixth, promoted by Piastri’s fall to seventh, with Sergio Perez eighth after being left with no new softs to run in Q3 in the other Red Bull.

Nico Hulkenberg and Esteban Ocon rounded out the top ten for Haas and Alpine, as Hamilton too faces a post-session investigation for dragging a Mercedes jack out into the pitlane as he left his garage at the start of Q3.

At the end of Q2, several drivers set personal bests but failed to beat Ocon’s time – despite running behind him on the track that was still gripping up.

These were Daniel Ricciardo and Kevin Magnussen, while behind them Pierre Gasly lost his best time to track limits at Turn 6 that had the Alpine’s right-side wheels skating through the adjacent gravel trap.

Gasly losing his best time put him behind Magnussen, with Yuki Tsunoda P14 and Fernando Alonso P15 – the latter complaining he “nearly crashed” at Turns 7 and 10 on his run midway through Q2.

Also in that segment, Hulkenberg was clocked possibly joining the fast lane in the pits ahead of Sergio Perez, despite on having his front wheels over the white line as the regulations require, which followed the Haas driver being involved in a similar incident in Q1 and both instances will be investigated now qualifying had been completed.

In Q1, Alonso’s last-gasp improvement knocked out Alex Albon – despite the Williams driver doing a personal best on his last run in the opening segment, where he was the first to take the flag and so missed the last bits of track evolution.

Behind came Lance Stroll in the other Aston Martin, Valtteri Bottas – the only driver to fail to beat their personal best right at the end of the Q1 fallers – Logan Sargeant and Zhou Guanyu.

Austrian Grand Prix, qualifying results:
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1:04.314
2 Lando Norris McLaren 1:04.718
3 George Russell Mercedes 1:04.840
4 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 1:04.851
5 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:04.903
6 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:05.044
7 Oscar Piastri McLaren 1:05.048
8 Sergio Perez Red Bull 1:05.202
9 Nico Hulkenberg Haas 1:05.385
10 Esteban Ocon Alpine 1:05.883
11 Daniel Ricciardo RB 1:05.289
13 Pierre Gasly Alpine 1:05.359
14 Yuki Tsunoda RB 1:05.412
15 Fernando Alonso Aston Martin 1:05.639
16 Alexander Albon Williams 1:05.736
17 Lance Stroll Aston Martin 1:05.819
18 Valtteri Bottas Sauber 1:05.847
19 Logan Sargeant Williams 1:05.856
20 Zhou Guanyu Sauber 1:06.061

4 thoughts to “Verstappen takes pole at the Red Bull Ring”

  1. Max Verstappen secured pole position for the Austrian Grand Prix after a commanding performance in Saturday’s qualifying, beating closest challenger Lando Norris by four tenths of a second.

    Having set an impressive early benchmark in the initial laps of Q3, Verstappen bettered his time on his second effort to a record a lap of 1m 04.314s in the Red Bull. Norris was 0.404s back for McLaren in second, while George Russell slotted his Mercedes into third.

    The Ferrari of Carlos Sainz took fourth, ahead of Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes in fifth and the other Scuderia car of Charles Leclerc in sixth, who had an off-track moment on his final lap. Oscar Piastri, meanwhile, was dropped down to seventh after exceeding track limits in the McLaren.

    Sergio Perez claimed P8 for Red Bull, while Nico Hulkenberg went ninth fastest for Haas but will be investigated after the session for two separate pit lane incidents. Alpine’s Esteban Ocon rounds out the top 10.

  2. Amid ever-tightening margins at the front in Formula 1, Verstappen’s huge pole gap around Austria’s short lap left rivals scratching their heads.

    Max Verstappen’s advantage in Austrian Grand Prix qualifying was a “reality check for everyone”, admitted McLaren’s Oscar Piastri.

    After what looked like a finely poised weekend between Verstappen and the two McLarens, coming off the back of a competitive run of races where both cars looked fairly equal, Verstappen ran out a convincing pole winner at the Red Bull Ring by putting four tenths on Piastri’s team-mate Lando Norris.

    “A little bit, yeah. His lap in Q2 was a bit of a reality check for everyone,” the Australian said. “And he could repeat it in Q3.

    “The gap seemed to be a little bit bigger in that session for whatever reason and clearly they are still the force to beat.

    “Max looked to be a step ahead of everyone then. But it seems very tight between us Mercedes and Ferrari, I would say.”

  3. McLaren racer criticises decision to penalise his final qualifying lap after so much effort spent on trying to eradicate F1’s Red Bull Ring track limits issue.

    McLaren’s Oscar Piastri has slammed his track limits penalty in Austrian Grand Prix qualifying as “embarrassing” for Formula 1.

    Piastri set the third quickest time in qualifying for Sunday’s main race at the Red Bull Ring with his final lap in Q3 but lost it for running fractionally too wide at Turn 6.

    That dropped him to seventh in the final order, behind Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, who had an even wider moment at the same spot shortly afterwards before going off spectacularly at the final two corners.

    “For me, it’s embarrassing,” Piastri told Sky Sports F1.

    “We do all this work for track limits, put gravel in places, and I didn’t even go off the track. I stayed on the track and [it was] probably my best Turn 6 and it gets deleted.

    “I don’t know why they’ve spent hundreds of thousands, if not millions, trying to change the last two corners when you still have corners [where] you can go off.

    “But, anyway, everyone else kept it in the track – I didn’t. That’s how it goes.”

  4. Mercedes drivers George Russell and Lewis Hamilton shared contrasting emotions after qualifying for the Austrian Grand Prix, with the pair set to start the race from third and fifth on the grid respectively.

    Russell built on recent, encouraging performances – which included pole position in Canada – to round out the top three positions behind Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and McLaren’s Lando Norris in Saturday’s grid-deciding session.

    Reflecting on that showing, and if he was happy with his efforts, Russell said: “Yeah, absolutely. The car’s feeling really great at the moment, obviously the team have worked so hard bringing these upgrades.

    “It feels like we’ve got a real fight on our hands, especially with Ferrari. I think we’re still a little bit behind McLaren and Max and Red Bull were flying today, but it’s definitely going in the right direction for us.”

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