Styrian Grand Prix: Max Verstappen on pole as Lewis Hamilton makes mistake

Max Verstappen will be lined up on pole position in tomorrows Styrian Grand Prix as Lewis Hamilton was unable to challenge the Dutchman’s blistering fast lap.

Qualifying One

Williams’ Nicholas Latifi was the first driver to venture out onto the Red Bull Ring, a minute after qualifying one started. He was then followed by Haas duo, Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin.

The Williams Canadian, Latifi, was the first to set the target time for the rest of the field as he completed his first flying lap: 1:05.963. However, it wasn’t long before it was beaten.

As the title contenders got their fast laps underway, Verstappen soon topped the timing table as he put in a lap of 1:04.489, followed by Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas (second), Lewis Hamilton (fourth) and McLaren’s Lando Norris (third).

Halfway through the first qualifying session, Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen seemed to ruin his soft compound tyres as he ventured out onto the gravel trap on the exit of turn four.

Eliminated in Q1:

16. Nicholas Latifi (1:05.175)

17. Esteban Ocon (1:05.217)

18. Kimi Raikkonen (1:05.429)

19. Mick Schumacher (1:06.041)

20. Nikita Mazepin (1:06.192)

Qualifying Two

Bottas was the first driver to get qualifying action back underway, followed by Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi. The Finn soon set the benchmark to beat with a time of 1:04.724.

Red Bull looked to split strategies for the beginning of tomorrows race as Verstappen ventured out onto the Red Bull Ring with the medium compound tyres and, teammate, Sergio Perez drove out with the soft compound. For a brief time, the Milton Keynes outfit had secured a one-two position with Verstappen on top.

However, Red Bull’s sister team, Alpha Tauri came in to ruin the fun as Pierre Gasly topped the table with a 1:04.429 lap. While the Frenchman’s teammate, Yuki Tsunoda, only managed to secure P7.

With just under two tenths between Hamilton and the elimination zone, the leading Silver Arrow drove out with four and a half minutes to go and a clear track, with fresh-looking mediums tyres.

Despite his best efforts, Williams’ George Russell finished P11 at the end of the second qualifying session with only 0.008 seconds separating him from Q3.

Eliminated out of Q2:

11th. George Russell (1:04.671)

12th. Carlos Sainz (1:04.800)

13th. Daniel Ricciardo (1:04.808)

14th. Sebastian Vettel (1:04.875)

15th. Antonio Giovinazzi (1:04.913)

Qualifying Three

Hamilton was the first and only driver to go out onto the track at the beginning of the final shootout of the Styrian Grand Prix qualifying session. He remained the only driver on track as he completed his out lap and set the first lap time of Q3, with a time of: 1:04.205.

However, as Verstappen came out to put in his first lap of Q3, he topped the timing board with a blistering lap time of 1:03.841. The only driver to breach the one minute, three second mark.

Although Bottas went into the qualifying session, knowing he was to serve a three-place grid penalty, the Finn only managed to secure P4 as Q3 ventured into showdown territory. However, the second Mercedes driver claimed Tsunoda had impeded his run.

After the session, Tsunoda was issued with a three-place grid penalty for impeding the Silver Arrow.

Despite Hamilton’s best efforts, on his final flying lap, the defending champion couldn’t improve on his previous lap time. However, it wouldn’t have mattered as the seven-time world champion ran wide at turn nine – an area monitored by race control for track limits, and his time didn’t count.

Top 10:

1st. Max Verstappen (1:03.841)

2nd. Valtteri Bottas (1:04.035) – Three-place grid penalty

3rd. Lewis Hamilton (1:04.067)

4th. Lando Norris (1:04.120)

5th. Sergio Perez (1:04.168)

6th. Pierre Gasly (1:04.236)

7th. Charles Leclerc (1:04.472)

8th. Yuki Tsunoda (1:04.514) – Three-place grid penalty

9th. Fernando Alonso (1:04.574)

10th. Lance Stroll (1:04.708)

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