Verstappen beats Ferraris to pole in Austria GP

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Verstappen beats Ferraris to pole in Austria GP

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.

Team mate George Russell (P5) followed suit minutes later with a spin then crash at the final corner, capping off a miserable afternoon for the Silver Arrows.

Verstappen Austrian GP
Verstappen Austrian GP

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.

FORMULA 1 ROLEX GROSSER PREIS VON ÖSTERREICH 2022 – Qualifying results

POSITION TIME
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, 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.

Key quote

Max Verstappen: “It was a very long wait between the two runs and that’s never great, once you’re in the rhythm, it’s nice to just keep on going. Also, you know the track temperatures were dropping, the wind was changing a little bit, but at the end, it was a very tight qualifying, and it’s a really challenging track as well to get everything right. There aren’t that many corners, but the corners you have are quite tricky, it’s really easy to make a mistake. But of course very happy with pole; but I also know that tomorrow and Sunday, you can get the points.

“I think we have a great car. Normally… qualifying is not our strongest point, so I just hope of course to have a clean Turn 1, a good getaway. From then on, anything can happen but I feel confident with the car we have.

“It’s incredible to see the crowd here and see so much orange and the support I get now for a few years already here. It definitely brings a smile on my face and I hope we can make it a great weekend.”

What’s next?

The second Sprint of 2022 takes place on Saturday at 1630 local time – after FP2 at 1230 local time – with Verstappen to lead the field in the 100km dash. Head here to see how you can catch the action on F1 TV.

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