Starting Line-Up

Verstappen beats Ferraris to pole in Austria as both Mercedes crash out of Q3

Max Verstappen took pole position ahead of the Sprint in a dramatic Friday evening qualifying session – with both Mercedes drivers crashing out – at the Red Bull Ring.

Sunny skies welcomed the drivers after rain in the morning and a drenched lead-up to the Austrian Grand Prix, with qualifying setting the grid for Saturday’s Sprint – which in turn will set the grid for Sunday’s Grand Prix.

Mercedes entered Q3 perhaps hoping for pole seeing as Lewis Hamilton was third in the previous session, but the seven-time champion went into the barriers at Turn 7 to bring out a red flag in the middle of the top-10 shootout to leave him a provisional 10th.


Following the second stoppage of Q3 came a stunning fight for pole, Verstappen raising the proverbial roof off the Red Bull Ring with his final flying effort, leaving Leclerc second by just 0.029s and Carlos Sainz third by 0.082s.


Qualifying results

1  Max VERSTAPPEN Red Bull Racing 1:04.984
2  Charles LECLERC Ferrari 1:05.013
3  Carlos SAINZ Ferrari 1:05.066
13  Sergio PEREZ Red Bull Racing
4  George RUSSELL Mercedes 1:05.431

Sergio Perez took fourth for Red Bull by 0.420s on paper – although there would be a sting in the tail for the Mexican later on – with Russell fifth despite crashing out.

Next on the board was Alpine’s Esteban Ocon; his team mate Fernando Alonso was ninth. Between them were Kevin Magnussen in seventh and Mick Schumacher eighth in a stunning showing for Haas.

AlphaTauri suffered a double elimination in Q2, with Pierre Gasly missing out by under a hundredth of a second and Yuki Tsunoda furious to qualify a provisional 14th. Alex Albon took 12th for Williams ahead of Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas in P13, while Lando Norris was 15th for McLaren having had numerous Q2 laps delete for exceeding track limits.

Daniel Ricciardo will start behind his team mate in the Sprint having been eliminated in P16. Lance Stroll was next on the board, 17th for Aston Martin as he shares the penultimate row with Zhou Guanyu of Alfa Romeo on Saturday.

Williams’ Nicholas Latifi qualified 19th for the Sprint, with Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel last and 20th having also had a lap chalked for track limits.

After the session, meanwhile, it was announced that Perez would be stripped of his Q3 times, dropping him to P13 – and bumping up a swathe of drivers from Russell all the way down to Bottas.

Categories: Starting Line-Up

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