Verstappen secures Austrian GP pole

Max Verstappen of the Netherlands seen at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg on July 03, 2021.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen once again secures pole position at Red Bull Ring, with McLaren’s Lando Norris and Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez in P2 and P3 in a sensational qualifying session.

Q1 saw most teams opting for the Soft compound, with some teams such as Aston Martin and AlphaTauri opting for Medium. AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly got his lap time deleted in Q1 for exceeding track limits, and so did McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo while exiting the final corner.

Fernando Alonso had set a blistering lap with 5 minutes to go in Q1, dragging his Alpine into the third position, while his teammate Esteban Ocon struggled to get out of the elimination zone, eventually ending his Saturday. There was a last-minute jump from Williams’ George Russell, who maintained his streak of qualifying to Q2 this season.

At the end of Q1, Raikkonen, Ocon, Latifi, and the Haas duo of Schumacher and Mazepin were knocked out. This was the second consecutive race where Ocon got eliminated in Q1. Lando Norris had much to be happy about as he secured P2 in Q1, nine hundredths behind the leader Max Verstappen.

In Q2 the teams switched tire compounds for strategic reasons, as they tried to push their cars into Q3 in a favorable position. Teams who had opted for Mediums now switched to Softs, a strategy that worked for Aston Martin as Sebastian Vettel shot up to P4 on Softs with Lance Stroll behind in P6.

Things got heated between Alonso and Vettel as the latter is under investigation from the stewards for allegedly blocking Alonso during a flying lap, coming out of turn 9. This incident led to Alonso abandoning his attempt to qualify ahead of his eventual 14th position.

AlphaTauri displayed amazing pace, arguably equally that of Mercedes as Gasly crossed the line at P3, just behind Verstappen and Bottas. In a sensational effort, Russell pushed his way into a last-minute jump into Q3 for the first time this season.

Ferrari had a dismal Q2 where both Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc were knocked out of Q2 at the very last moment. While the duo qualifying in P11 and P12, it was something the Maranello outfit did not hope for. Ricciardo had a similarly disappointing result where he only qualified P13.

Verstappen took an early provisional pole in Q3 with Norris and the two Mercedes behind him. Red Bull have gotten the upper hand over Mercedes, and so did McLaren, who have achieved excellent straight-line speeds.

Norris had an amazing last lap with a purple sector 1, but was narrowly beat to pole by Verstappen by four hundredths of a second. Closely following Norris was Perez, thus outqualifying the Mercedes cars once again in an otherwise uneventful Q3.

The qualifying result for the Austrian Grand Prix is as follows:

1Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing 1:03:720
2Lando NorrisMcLaren+0.048
3Sergio PerezRed Bull Racing +0.270
4Lewis HamiltonMercedes+0.294
5Valtteri Bottas Mercedes +0.329
6Pierre GaslyAlphaTauri +0.387
7Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri +0.553
8Sebastian VettelAston Martin +0.850
9George RussellWilliams +0.871
10Lance StrollAston Martin +0.898
11Carlos SainzFerrari1:04:559
12Charles LeclercFerrari1:04:600
13Daniel RicciardoMcLaren 1:04:719
14Fernando AlonsoAlpine 1:04:856
15Antonio GiovinazziAlfa Romeo Racing1:05:083
16Kimi RaikkonenAlfa Romeo Racing1:05:009
17Esteban OconAlpine 1:05:051
18Nicholas LatifiWilliams 1:05:195
19Mick SchumacherHaas 1:05:427
20Nikita MazepinHaas 1:05:951
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