Max Verstappen has bagged another pole position and will start the 2021 Austrian Grand Prix. It is his third pole position in a row this year as he leads the driver’s championship. McLaren’s Lando Norris was just +0.048 slower but claims the first front-row start of his career to be P2 on the grid. Sergio Perez in the other Red Bull was the third fastest in the final session of qualifying. Mercedes couldn’t match the pace of the front runners. But George Russell made it through to Q3 for the first time for Williams.
With a time of 1min 04.249, Max Verstappen set the bar in Q1 around the Red Bull Ring. But the bottom five drivers included Kimi Raikkonen, Esteban Ocon, Nicolas Latifi, Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin who will start from P16 to P20 respectively.
The second session again saw Verstappen top the timing sheets. But both Ferrari were out in Q2 with Sainz only 11th fastest and Leclerc behind in 12th. But a silver lining does remain for Ferrari. On Alonso’s flying lap, Sebastian Vettel impeded the Spaniard. The Aston Martin driver is now subject to a grid-drop penalty, even though the German driver made it through to Q3. Because of the impediment, Alonso was unable to qualify into Q3 and will start from P13. Daniel Ricciardo and Antonio Giovinazzi will start 14th and 15th in the race.
Yet again, it was Verstappen on his first run who made it into the 1min 03.720 on a set of soft tyres. Norris was second fastest ahead of the two Mercedes cars while Perez failed to match teammate Verstappen’s pace on his first run. On their second and final outings in the session, Verstappen failed to improve on his time but Norris set a purple first sector. He then went on to improve his time again in the second and third sector as Verstappen began sweating in his Red Bull racecar. However, in the end, Norris’ time was just +0.048 slower and the young Brit had to settle for P2, his best career start and his first front row start in Formula 1.
Behind him, Sergio Perez improved his time and was just two-tenths off of Verstappen’s pace. But he pipped Lewis Hamilton for third on the grid. Hamilton will start from fourth ahead of teammate Valtteri Bottas in P5. The two AlphaTauri cars were close behind with Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda who will start P6 and P7 respectively. Sebastian Vettel in the Aston Martin although was eighth fastest, he is onset for a 3-place grid penalty. That means George Russel on his Q3 debut for Williams will start P8, Lance Stroll in P9 and Carlos Sainz will move up to P10 with free tyre choice for the start. Vettel is likely to start from P11.
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