Verstappen takes pole for sprint race in Austria, both Mercedes crash | NOW

Max Verstappen took pole position on Friday for the sprint race in Austria. The World Cup leader was narrowly faster than Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz. Both Mercedes drivers shot off the track in qualifying on the Red Bull Ring.

Verstappen took pole from Leclerc in the final seconds, with a time of 1.4.984. This made the Red Bull driver 0.029 seconds faster than the number three in the championship. Sainz was 0.082 short on the fastest time of the Limburger.

The fourth fastest time was for Verstappen’s teammate Sergio Pérez. The Mexican still has to fear a grid penalty, because he crossed the track limit in the second part of qualifying.

Lewis Hamilton impressed with good times in qualifying, but at the most important moment things went wrong for the Mercedes driver. The seven-time world champion lost control of his car entering Turn 7 and shot hard off the track into the tire stacks. His Mercedes was badly damaged, but Hamilton himself got out unharmed. The Brit is also facing a penalty for getting in the way of Leclerc.

Russell also shoots off the track

The pain got worse for Mercedes. Just after Hamilton’s car was towed away and qualifying resumed, George Russell also went off the track. In the last corner, the Briton, like his teammate, lost the rear of the car. The Mercedes then collapsed backwards into the tire stacks.

Russell still has fifth place on the grid, but has to fear a start from the pit lane. His Mercedes was also badly damaged. Hamilton starts tenth in the sprint race, unless too many parts have to be replaced on his car.

Esteban Ocon set a good sixth time in the Alpine. It was an excellent afternoon for the Haas team. Kevin Magnussen is now in seventh place on the grid, but may be moving up a few places. Mick Schumacher rode to eighth place. The ninth lap time was set by Fernando Alonso in the second Alpine.

Top ten qualification

  • 1. Max Verstappen (Red Bull): 1.04.984
  • 2. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari): +0.029
  • 3. Carlos Sainz (Ferrari): +0.082
  • 4. Sergio Perez (Red Bull): +0.420
  • 5. George Russell (Mercedes): +0.447
  • 6. Esteban Ocon (Alpine): +0.742
  • 7. Kevin Magnussen (Haas): +0.895
  • 8. Mick Schumacher (Haas): +1.027
  • 9. Fernando Alonso (Alpine): +1.119
  • 10. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes): +8,167

Difficult weekend for McLaren, Vettel quickly ready again

McLaren is having a difficult weekend in Spielberg. Daniel Ricciardo did not survive the first part of qualifying and finished sixteenth. Lando Norris continued, but was unable to clock a decent time in Q2. The Briton complained about his brakes and flew off the track several times.

There were also many problems with the team in free practice earlier on Friday. Norris fell silent having just gotten a new engine in his car. They were able to replace the mechanics with an older one just before qualifying.

Sebastian Vettel with the Aston Martin also failed to make it through Q1, which was already the fifth time this season. His closing attempt had been good for seventeenth time, but the four-time world champion went over the track limit. Therefore, his time was reduced, leaving Vettel last in qualifying.

Austria GP time schedule

  • Third free practice: Saturday 12.30 pm
  • Sprint race: Saturday 4.30 pm
  • Race: Sunday 3 p.m.