Max Verstappen delivered a knockout blow to Mercedes in qualifying for the Formula 1 Styrian Grand Prix as the championship leader claimed another pole position.
The Dutchman set a blistering lap in the early minutes of the session at the Red Bull Ring, which proved unconquerable for his nearest competitors.
“It was not easy to deal with the traffic in the last few corners to get a clean run but I think that first lap in Q3 was good enough in the end,” Verstappen said.
“Super happy to be on pole here at home. It’s always nice to see a Red Bull car first here.”
Lewis Hamilton was on the provisional front row after his first timed run, but a sloppy final effort meant he didn’t improve his best time, whereas teammate Valtteri Bottas did.
Bottas pipped Hamilton to second. However, the Finn will start fifth after incurring a three-place grid penalty in Free Practice on Friday for spinning in the pits.
It means that the front row for tomorrow’s race reflects the look of the driver’s championship.
Verstappen comes into the weekend with a 12 point advantage over the seven-time world champion.
“They have been so fast this weekend,” Hamilton said. “Been giving it absolutely everything.
“It wasn’t the greatest of sessions but still on the front row after the penalty. I did everything I could, and we go into the race tomorrow for a fight.”
That puts Lando Norris, who qualified fourth, one spot up to third.
The sister Red Bull of Sergio Perez will start next to the McLaren on the second row.
Pierre Gasly was sixth in the AlphaTauri, one place above Charles Leclerc in the lone Ferrari, who made it into Q3.
Yuki Tsunoda made into the pole position shootout for the second time in three grands prix. Still, he will start the race in 11th after a three-place penalty for impeding Bottas.
Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll rounded out the top ten in qualifying.
George Russell was a measly 0.008s from breaking into Q3 for the first time in his career.
|12||Carlos Sainz Jr.|