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Verstappen hails ‘statement’ Austrian GP pole after dominant qualifying display

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SPIELBERG, AUSTRIA - JUNE 29: Pole position qualifier Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle

Max Verstappen was all smiles after qualifying for the Austrian Grand Prix, having stormed to his first pole position in four weekends with a sublime performance at the Red Bull Ring.

Red Bull driver Verstappen posted two lap times that were quick enough for the top spot in the decisive Q3 phase, ultimately finishing four-tenths clear of McLaren’s Lando Norris, with Mercedes’ George Russell a tenth further back in third.

READ MORE: Verstappen storms to pole position in Austria as he heads Norris and Russell

Asked for his reflections on the session, and being in a league of his own, Verstappen said: “Yeah, the qualifying went really well. We tried to adjust the car a little bit after the things we learned this morning [in the Sprint]. I think it worked well.

“Of course, the track is a bit warmer than yesterday so it made it all a bit trickier to drive. But the car felt a lot better for me today, I could really attack the corners a bit more and it was just… Every run was just on point and it was very enjoyable out there.

2024 Austrian GP Qualifying: The moment Max Verstappen seals pole position at the Red Bull Ring

“It’s been a while [since] we’ve actually been on pole so it’s great. The team has been working really hard to try and make the car more competitive. I think this is a great statement and hopefully we can of course also show that tomorrow in the race.”

As for what might happen on race day, and if fans are set to be treated to another battle between himself and Norris, the Dutchman added: “Of course, it’s always nice to race. Hopefully it will be a tight battle again tomorrow, but we’ll see tomorrow.

AS IT HAPPENED: Follow all the action from qualifying for the Austrian Grand Prix

“I’m not thinking about that too much, I’m just very happy with how the car was performing today and hopefully it will translate also in race pace.”

SPIELBERG, AUSTRIA - JUNE 29: Sprint winner Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull

Verstappen and Norris have been scrapping it out all weekend in Austria

While Verstappen charged to pole, it was an underwhelming qualifying performance from his team mate, Sergio Perez, who was some eight-tenths slower en route to eighth position.

“Unfortunately, we were not… We didn’t have the margins early on in qualifying,” he said. “It was everything so tight that unfortunately we ended up using more tyres than we wanted and we arrived into Q3 without any [fresh] tyres.

HIGHLIGHTS: Catch the action from the Sprint in Austria as Verstappen takes victory from Piastri and Norris

“Given how the margins were, I think I was four-tenths from P2, and I was on a scrubbed tyre, so I think today we could have done a lot better. Unfortunately, I think we were not safe enough to save a set into qualifying.”

Asked what’s possible in the race, and whether he has the potential to recover to the podium, Perez signed off: “I think it’s going to be everything really close out there tomorrow, so it will be an interesting battle.”

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