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Qualifying in Spielberg: Verstappen secures pole, four-tenths ahead of Norris

Written by Maria Fashchevskaya

Max Verstappen sped to yet another pole in action-filled qualifying around the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg. McLaren's Norris followed the Dutchman around four tenths behind, while George Russell gained third position after Oscar Piastri's final time was deleted.

Max Verstappen comfortably drove to pole, while Lando Norris and George Russell trailed behind, almost half a second off of the Dutchman's pace. Due to track limits, Oscar Piastri would start from P7 tomorrow, while Lewis Hamilton secured P5. In fourth and sixth place would start Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc, respectively, the latter going wide and failing to finish last stint in Q3. Sergio Perez, Nico Hulkenberg and Esteban Ocon would complete the top ten for the grid of the Austrian Grand Prix tomorrow.

It has been around 30 degrees Celsius in Spielberg today, as drivers have been trying to manage their own temperatures, while the teams try to find and match the temperature of the machines and, crucially, tyres.


As the first part of qualifying was about to unfold, traffic jam ensued on the pit exit, as Red Bulls were the first cars to exit the pits for a lap in Q1. RB has needed to change the set-up on Yuki Tsunoda's car, causing it to be ready just as qualifying started. Meanwhile, Max Verstappen started his flying lap, clocking a time of 1:06.054s, while teammate Sergio Perez followed, with two-tenths behind.

With 12 minutes to go, the Mercedes drivers were still not out. Charles Leclerc went first on the time board with a 1:05.901s, followed by McLaren's Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri. After the first try of flying laps, everyone in the pits, as the Mercedes went out to have a track for themselves. There came Russell, clocking a 1:05.614s, beating Ferrari's Leclerc, while teammate Lewis Hamilton finished seventh in his first stint. Russell probably was on new soft tyres.

On the second try in Q1, everyone seemed to be out on new softs, as Carlos Sainz soared Max Verstappen by 0.073s on his second flying lap.

With seven minutes to go, Stroll, Hulkenberg, Sargeant, Zhou and Bottas were in the elimination zone. Meanwhile, Ferrari, Red Bull and McLaren were duelling for first places. Valtteri Bottas improved to 13th, pushing out Mercedes' Hamilton into the elimination zone. As Spielberg ensued one of the shortest tracks of the season, everyone dived into pits to give a third try in Q3, with five minutes to go.

No one seemed to be safe, as McLaren called Lando Norris in fourth out on track again: “Lando, we need to do another one please, we need to do another one.”

All eyes on Hamilton, as he tried to escape elimination on another flying lap. He finished – and was through to sixth place, followed by teammate Russell in seventh, for now. Last try for those in the danger zone: Bottas, Tsunoda, Stroll, Sargeant, Zhou. Meanwhile, Hulkenberg escaped elimination to be safe in 11th, for now.

The chequered flag was waved as the top four – Sainz. Piastri, Verstappen, Norris – were in the pits. There was Alexander Albon on a flying lap, but he could not improve, as well as Lance Stroll and Logan Sargeant.

Knocked out: Albon, Stroll, Bottas, Sargeant, Zhou.


At the start of Q2, race control said that Hulkenberg was under investigation for not following race director's instructions, as he had cut the traffic in the pit lane in Q1. With the start of the second part of qualifying, Alpines were the first ones on track, followed by the Ferraris. All the other cars only started to get out of the garages with 11 minutes to go in Q2.

Meanwhile, Charles Leclerc finished his first try with 1:05.532s, while Esteban Ocon, his teammate Pierre Gasly and Carlos Sainz followed behind. The second part of the grid, going out on track, was led by Max Verstappen – first on a flying lap there. He finished his first stint in Q2 with a 1:04.577, usurping the Monégasque by almost a second. The Mercedes' followed, trailing the Dutchman by half a second, while McLaren's Piastri and Norris got in between of the Mercedes, still half a second off of Verstappen's pace.

Nico Hulkenberg has been noted by race control for a same incident in the pit lane as in Q1. With two minutes to go in Q2, everyone was on out on track for a last try in the second part of the session, while only Ferrari's Sainz was in the pits.

As the chequered flag was waved, Ricciardo, Magnussen, Gasly, Tsunoda and Alonso were at risk. Pierre Gasly tried to improve, but his time was deleted due to track limits, as he would start in P13. Alonso and Ricciardo could not improve on their final flying laps, as Tsunoda and Magnussen dived into the pits.

Knocked out: Ricciardo, Magnussen, Gasly, Tsunoda, Alonso.


Marshals needed to clear the track post-Q2, as Pierre Gasly went wide beforehand and put out gravel on the track. However, Esteban Ocon was more lucky than his teammate, coming through into Q3 alongside Haas' Nico Hulkenberg.

It was time for the last part of qualifying, as cars started to leave the pits, with ten minutes to go. Thee first stint led Max Verstappen with a time of 1:04.426s, followed by Lando Norris, 0.361s behind. George Russell finished his first flying lap half a second to the Dutchman, settling in after Norris.

Meanwhile, Lewis Hamilton would be investigated after the session for an unsafe release. Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz were not on the best pace, with 0.6s and 0.8s to the Dutch leader after their first lap.

With two minutes to go, all cars were out on track for a last try to grab a better position for tomorrow's race. Max Verstappen finished his second stint in Q3, grabbing provisional pole with an absolute best in third sector.

The chequered flag was waved, as Piastri and Sainz went through to third and fourth, temporarily. Norris chased the Dutchman for pole, however, was almost half a second slower. Only Leclerc was left on a flying lap.

Could Charles Leclerc catch Max Verstappen? He went into the gravel and grass on the last turns and aborted the lap! He would start from P7 tomorrow. George Russell finished, starting from fourth place tomorrow. He was followed by Carlos Sainz and teammate Lewis Hamilton. Sergio Perez would start in P8, with Nico Hulkenberg and Esteban Ocon behind.

As the drivers got ready for interviews, Piastri's time got deleted, and he would start from P7, while Russell took his place in third position.

Who will win the 2024 Austrian Grand Prix? Let’s watch and see tomorrow at 2 p.m. BST (3 p.m. track time).


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