Reigning double world champion Max Verstappen charged for pole position for the F1 Austrian Grand Prix with the Scuderia duo of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz taking second and third with the updated Ferrari SF23. F1Technical's senior writer Balázs Szabó reports from the Red Bull Ring paddock.
Q1 - Red flag thanks to Bottas
At the beginning of the qualifying session, two-time Austrian GP winner Valtteri Bottas spun at the exit of Turn 1, seemingly caught off-guard by the dirty air coming from Perez’s Red Bull ahead. The Alfa Romeo driver struggled to get the Alfa Romeo into neutral with the incident triggering a red flag period.
Bottas did get going again, meaning that he could take part in the remainder of the qualifying session.
Already being under huge pressure after the low-key start to his debut season, there was more disappointment for AlphaTauri’s Nyck de Vries as he will start Sunday’s grand prix last after ending up with the slowest time in qualifying. His team mate Yuki Tsunoda was similarly unable to progress into Q2, ending up 16th fastest.
At the end of the opening qualifying session, Yuki Tsunoda, Zhou Guanyu, Logan Sargeant, Kevin Magnussen and Nyck de Vries were eliminated.
Q2 - Perez endured a shocker
The middle part of the one-hour qualifying session saw drivers struggle with track limits. Hitting the track first at the start of Q2, Red Bull drivers were quick out of the box, but their lap times were deleted for track limit infringements. However, they stayed out on the track on the same set of red-walled soft compound with both of them posting encouraging lap times.
Perez had a shocker though as his second hot lap was also deleted for the same incident, leaving him with no time on the board with just several minutes left on the clock. The Mexican came out on fresh rubber for the final minutes of the session and set the then second fastest lap. However, he had that lap deleted too for exceeding track limits at the final turn.
Esteban Ocon was also quick enough for a Q3 progression, but his lap time was deleted for exceeding the track limits.
Mercedes driver George Russell struggled for pace all day long, and he could not lift up his game in the all-important one-hour Friday session. The one-time F1 race winner set only the 11th quickest time despite benefiting from the track limit infringements of several drivers, who were quicker than the Briton.
At the end of the second qualifying session, George Russell, Esteban Ocon, Oscar Piastri, Valtteri Bottas and Sergio Perez were eliminated.
Q3 - tight battle between Verstappen and Ferrari
In the last qualifying segment, it was clear that Verstappen had company in form of the Ferrari duo as both Leclerc and Sainz appeared to have the speed for the pole position.
Following the first run, Verstappen led the way and he could further raise the bar by setting a 1m04.391s on his second and final push lap. Ferrari's Monegasque driver matched Verstappen's time in Sector 1 and set the fastest time in Sector 2, but he could not beat the Dutchman and lost out by a tiny margin of 0.048s.
His team mate Carlos Sainz looked quick all day long and his best effort was enough for him to take third for Sunday's Austrian Grand Prix. Norris capitalized on the performance of his heavily updated McLaren MCL60, ending the session in an encouraging P4.
Despite his eye-catching performance in the afternoon's practice session, Hamilton only finished in P5 almost half a second adrift of Verstappen's pole time.
The Aston Martin duo finished sixth and seventh with Stroll beating Alonso by 18 thousands of a second. Displaying another impressive one-lap performance, Haas driver Nico Hulkenberg set the 8th fastest time, beating Alpine driver Gasly and Williams racer Albon.
|1||1||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing Honda Rbpt||1:05.116||1:04.951||1:04.391||24|
|4||4||Lando Norris||Mclaren Mercedes||1:05.617||1:05.038||1:04.658||23|
|6||18||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin Aramco Mercedes||1:05.710||1:05.121||1:04.893||25|
|7||14||Fernando Alonso||Aston Martin Aramco Mercedes||1:05.655||1:05.181||1:04.911||27|
|8||27||Nico Hulkenberg||Haas Ferrari||1:05.740||1:05.362||1:05.090||24|
|9||10||Pierre Gasly||Alpine Renault||1:05.515||1:05.308||1:05.170||21|
|10||23||Alexander Albon||Williams Mercedes||1:05.673||1:05.387||1:05.823||21|
|12||31||Esteban Ocon||Alpine Renault||1:05.729||1:05.453||15|
|13||81||Oscar Piastri||Mclaren Mercedes||1:05.683||1:05.605||19|
|14||77||Valtteri Bottas||Alfa Romeo Ferrari||1:05.763||1:05.680||14|
|15||11||Sergio Perez||Red Bull Racing Honda Rbpt||1:05.177||2:06.688||19|
|16||22||Yuki Tsunoda||Alphatauri Honda Rbpt||1:05.784||10|
|17||24||Zhou Guanyu||Alfa Romeo Ferrari||1:05.818||9|
|18||2||Logan Sargeant||Williams Mercedes||1:05.948||9|
|19||20||Kevin Magnussen||Haas Ferrari||1:05.971||10|
|20||21||Nyck De Vries||Alphatauri Honda Rbpt||1:05.974||10|