Verstappen on pole for Styrian GP ahead of Hamilton, Norris

Max Verstappen. Credits: Red Bull.

Verstappen will start the Styrian Grand Prix on pole position. The Red Bull driver will be placed under the great threat of Hamilton and Norris at the approach of the first corner, as teammate Perez qualified P5.

After 10 minutes in Q1, drivers concluded their first timed attempts with Verstappen, Bottas, and Norris setting comfortable lap times. Hamilton and Perez were a little behind as track conditions dangerously started to improve, making the teams doubt their ability to reserve themselves a place in Q2.

As usual in Austria, traffic management was key, especially in Q1, with up to 20 cars being on track at the same time. Several drivers had to abort attempts as the clock was ticking and things started to spice up for Sergio Perez that could not set a satisfying lap time until the very last seconds of the session. The Mexican was forced to use a second set of soft tires to secure a place in Q2.

With one minute left on the timer, 16 cars were on track simultaneously and in the same sector. Russell set an astonishing lap time and secured a place in Q2, just like Tsunoda, who finished ahead of Hamilton and Perez in Q1. The big and worrying surprise of the session was Esteban Ocon, who was flunked out of Q2, finishing the session behind both Williams.

An unflappable Verstappen set his time on top of the timesheet after his first Q2 attempt. The Dutch opted for a medium set of tires, just like Hamilton and Bottas. However, the medium compound seemed difficult to exploit as Verstappen and his Mercedes opponents had to make multiple attempts in the hope of setting a satisfying lap time. In the meantime, Gasly played it safe, opting for red-colored rubbers and putting his name on top of the rankings after every driver had completed at least one attempt.

This amazing performance allowed Gasly to stay in his garage when all the other competitors were not confident enough to do so. Ricciardo and Sainz had very disappointing performances, qualifying P14 and P12. Russell amazingly qualified P11, just eight thousandths away from Q3. Vettel also had a frustrating day, being unable to reach the final phase of qualifying. Verstappen, Hamilton, and Bottas will start tomorrow’s Grand Prix on medium tires.

Both Verstappen and Hamilton could not improve at the term of their last attempt, as the Dutchman secured the pole position. Norris confirmed his outstanding current pace, qualifying P4 but starting tomorrow’s race in P3, thanks to Bottas’ 3 place grid penalty for dangerous driving in FP2. The Finn however did not disappoint as he still outqualified teammate Hamilton by just 3 hundredths.

PositionTeamDriver+/- Time
1Red BullVerstappen1:03.841
5Red BullPerez+0.327
6Alpha TauriGasly+0.395
8Alpha TauriTsunoda+0.673
10Aston MartinStroll+0.867
14Aston MartinVettel1:04.875
15Alfa RomeoGiovinazzi1:04.913
18Alfa RomeoRaikkonen1:05.429
Formula One 2021 Styrian Grand Prix – Qualifying
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