For the fourth time this season and his third in as many races, Max Verstappen claimed pole position ahead of tomorrow’s Formula 1 Austrian Grand Prix.
Verstappen failed to improve on his initial Q3 lap, though his 1.04.249s was suffice to secure the number one spot on the grid.
“Q3 was pretty bad,” Verstappen said. “I am of course happy to be first but not the way we got it.
“Something to look into but to be twice on pole here is nevertheless very good and hopefully we can finish it off tomorrow.”
McLaren’s Lando Norris stole the headlines, however, by placing himself on the front row and snaring is best career qualifying result.
Norris was fastest of anyone in the first sector of his final lap; the same time Verstappen was struggling to find improvements.
Personal bests in the final two portions of the lap meant Norris finished a measly 0.048s off pole.
The Brit, always one to strive for the top, says he still felt slightly disappointed he couldn’t grab a maiden pole.
“[It was] probably one of the best laps I’ve done,” Norris said.
“I don’t know how far I was off pole – bit gutted I didn’t get pole.”
Sergio Perez sandwiched Norris between his Red Bull teammate and will start third.
Mercedes showed glimpses of promise in Free Practice over the weekend, but the champion team were lacklustre when it mattered.
Lewis Hamilton was fourth, nearly three-tenths slower than Verstappen while Valtteri Bottas starts fifth.
“We were just not any quicker,” Hamilton said.
“I don’t know if [Red Bull] have improved their car again this weekend but we haven’t and we just have to keep working.”
George Russell sneaked into Q3 for the first time this season.
The Williams driver qualified 11th at the Red Bull Ring last weekend, and it could have been the same fate this time around when Fernando Alonso had a quick lap upset by an ill-placed Sebastian Vettel.
Still, Russell sent a message to the paddock that he has the speed to drag an ailing car to the fringes of the points.
What made his lap to get into Q3 even sweeter was Russell did so on the slower medium tyres.
He will now start the race on the medium compound and puts him in a competitive place strategy-wise.
Ferrari had a shocking session as both drivers were eliminated in Q2. Carlos Sainz will start one spot ahead of teammate Charles Leclerc in 11th and 12th.
|11||Carlos Sainz Jr.|