Verstappen pleases Dutch fans with pole for Austrian sprint race

By on

Max Verstappen secured a first place start for tomorrow's sprint race in Austria where he will line up aside of Charles Leclerc. Mercedes looked set for a strong result but saw both their drivers lose the rear and crash out.

The short track of Spielberg was soon filled with cars and of course traffic problems arose. At the same time, track limits were also a problem as Sainz was the first to get a laptime deleted for going over the white line with all four wheels in the final corner.

Along with orange smoke from the Dutch fans it set the scene of this qualifying session where Perez took the upper hand halfway into the session. Verstappen was actually marginally faster on his run but his laptime was deleted, also for going too wide on the exit of the final corner.

Fernando Alonso and both Ferraris seemed well in the mix while both Mercedes took their time and only arrived out on track when half of the session was finished.

When Hamilton finally managed to complete a lap there were 7 minutes left on the clock. Hamilton did well though and was fastest straight away, topping Perez by 0.064s.

After two cooldown laps, Verstappen made a second flying lap and shot up to the top of the timing sheet, only to be surpassed by Sainz and Leclerc in less than a minute.

The Astons on the other hand were nowhere to be found at the front and both got eliminated in the first part of qualifying. Vettel in fact ended up dead last after his best time (only good for 17th) got deleted.

The second part of qualifying saw Hamilton lead the times once again, this time 0.030s ahead of Verstappen who this time didn't make a mistake on his first effort. Russell followed in third ahead of the Ferrrari duo. Hamilton continued to further improve while Verstappen returned to the pits immediately.

As Leclerc took over the top spot near the end of the session, Perez had a single lap to secure a top 10 spot after getting his earlier times deleted. The Mexican did enough the closing stages to go 6th fastest but as he went very wide on the kerbs in Turns 7 and 8 this resulted in a steward's investigation, postponed until after the session. Both Alpines and both Haas drivers also made it through, dropping the Alpha Tauris, Bottas, Albon and the remaining McLaren of Lando Norris.

Esteban Ocon was the first to set a time in the final part of qualifying but the Alpine driver soon dropped down the order, ending up in 6th after the first flying laps. Verstappen was fastest on those outings ahead of Leclerc, Sainz, Perez and Russell.

As most returned to the pits, Hamilton ended up in the gravel after doing a fairly slow first lap. Much to the joy of unsportive Dutch fans, Hamilton crashed off and badly damaged the right hand side of his car after losing the rear in Turn 8. As he apologised to his team, surely it's a great opportunity lost for the Englishman.

The session was stopped with 5 minutes and 29 seconds left on the clock.

Fernando Alonso kicked off at the restart having not set a time yet in the session. As the Spaniard completed his lap to move up into 7th the big guns left the track as well. However, just when Verstappen was set to leave the pitlane, Russell also lost the rear of his Mercedes and ended up rearwards in the tyre barrier of the final corner. That was another red flag, this time with 2 minutes and 31 seconds remaining.

The last two minutes were of course a crazy dash of improvements where Leclerc seemed on his way to pole with a flashing final sector until Verstappen improved that by a mere 0.029s.


11Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing Rbpt1:05.8521:05.3741:04.98419
216Charles LeclercFerrari1:05.4191:05.2871:05.01326
355Carlos SainzFerrari1:05.6601:05.5761:05.06626
411Sergio PerezRed Bull Racing Rbpt1:06.1431:05.8051:05.40424
563George RussellMercedes1:06.2351:05.6971:05.43124
631Esteban OconAlpine Renault1:06.4681:05.9931:05.72627
720Kevin MagnussenHaas Ferrari1:06.3661:05.8941:05.87922
847Mick SchumacherHaas Ferrari1:06.4051:06.1511:06.01122
914Fernando AlonsoAlpine Renault1:06.0161:06.0821:06.10322
1044Lewis HamiltonMercedes1:06.0791:05.4751:13.15120
1110Pierre GaslyAlphatauri Rbpt1:06.5891:06.16020
1223Alexander AlbonWilliams Mercedes1:06.5161:06.23015
1377Valtteri BottasAlfa Romeo Ferrari1:06.4421:06.31914
1422Yuki TsunodaAlphatauri Rbpt1:06.4631:06.85119
154Lando NorrisMclaren Mercedes1:06.3301:25.84719
163Daniel RicciardoMclaren Mercedes1:06.61310
1718Lance StrollAston Martin Aramco Mercedes1:06.84712
1824Zhou GuanyuAlfa Romeo Ferrari1:06.9019
196Nicholas LatifiWilliams Mercedes1:07.0039
205Sebastian VettelAston Martin Aramco Mercedes1:07.08312