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

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SPIELBERG, AUSTRIA - JUNE 29: Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (1) Oracle Red Bull

Max Verstappen secured pole position for the Austrian Grand Prix after a commanding performance in Saturday’s qualifying, beating closest challenger Lando Norris by four tenths of a second.

Having set an impressive early benchmark in the initial laps of Q3, Verstappen bettered his time on his second effort to a record a lap of 1m 04.314s in the Red Bull. Norris was 0.404s back for McLaren in second, while George Russell slotted his Mercedes into third.

The Ferrari of Carlos Sainz took fourth, ahead of Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes in fifth and the other Scuderia car of Charles Leclerc in sixth, who had an off-track moment on his final lap. Oscar Piastri, meanwhile, was dropped down to seventh after exceeding track limits in the McLaren.

Sergio Perez claimed P8 for Red Bull, while Nico Hulkenberg went ninth fastest for Haas but will be investigated after the session for two separate pit lane incidents. Alpine’s Esteban Ocon rounds out the top 10.

Austria 2024

Qualifying results

PositionTeam NameTime
1VER1:04.314
2NOR1:04.718
3RUS1:04.840
4SAI1:04.851
5HAM1:04.903
View Full Results

RB were unable to make it past Q2, with Daniel Ricciardo taking P11 while Yuki Tsunoda will start from P14. In between them was the Haas of Kevin Magnussen in P12 and Alpine’s Pierre Gasly in P13.

Fernando Alonso had a challenging Saturday. The Spaniard was eliminated in Q2, having been unable to improve from 15th in a session where he reported nearly crashing his Aston Martin during his flying lap.

While Logan Sargeant had managed to beat Williams team mate Alex Albon in Friday’s Sprint Qualifying, both drivers had a tough Saturday, with Albon ending the day in P16 while Sargeant will start from the back row in P19.

It was also a doubly difficult outing for Aston Martin as Lance Stroll exited Q1 in 17th, along with the Kick Sauber duo of Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu in 18th and 20th respectively.

SPIELBERG, AUSTRIA - JUNE 29: Nico Hulkenberg of Germany driving the (27) Haas F1 VF-24 Ferrari on

Hulkenberg will be investigated after the session for two separate pit lane incidents

AS IT HAPPENED

Q1 – Sainz goes fastest as Aston Martin struggle

Just hours after some exciting battles took place in the Sprint at the Red Bull Ring, the drivers and teams reassembled for qualifying in order to decide the grid for Sunday’s Austrian Grand Prix.

Verstappen was keen to get going when the 18-minute Q1 segment got under way, with the Dutchman leading a queue of cars out of the pit lane before being the first to top the timesheets as the first timed laps came in.

The Mercedes duo were among the last to hit the track but displayed good pace when they eventually did emerge. Russell slotted himself into P1 as the session reached its halfway point, pumping in a time of 1m 05.614s.

This was quickly beaten by Sainz, though, who went fastest after bolting on a set of fresh soft tyres. Piastri was 0.048s behind in second, while the margin to Verstappen in third stood at 0.073s.

As the laps continued to go on the board, Hamilton – holding the advantage of having one extra set of soft tyres available to him – found himself in the elimination zone, along with Stroll, Hulkenberg, Sargeant and Zhou.

SPIELBERG, AUSTRIA - JUNE 29: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes prepares to drive in the

Hamilton had to get himself out of danger in Q1

With such fine margins, nobody from P4 downwards seemed to feel safe, with fourth-placed Norris warned by his engineer that he needed to go again. The track quickly became busy as most of the pack headed back out for their final efforts.

Hamilton managed to haul himself out of danger by improving to P6 on new soft rubber, before being pushed down one place after an impressive lap from Magnussen to put the Haas into P5.

Meanwhile, Alonso became the driver at risk in P15 and, after being briefly dropped down, just managed to save himself by returning to 15th. The same could not be said for his team mate Stroll, as the other Aston Martin driver exited the session in P17.

Albon failed to make it through in 16th, resulting in a double elimination for Williams with Sargeant down in 19th. Also out were the Kick Sauber pair of Bottas and Zhou in 18th and 20th respectively.

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

SPIELBERG, AUSTRIA - JUNE 29: Lance Stroll of Canada driving the (18) Aston Martin AMR24 Mercedes

Stroll suffered an early exit in Q1, ending the session in P17

Q2 – A flyer from Verstappen while Alonso exits

The Alpines of Ocon and Gasly were the first to head out on track as the clock started to tick down for 15 minutes of Q2, with the team having enjoyed an increasing number of Q3 appearances in recent times.

“I picked up a lot of bouncing,” reported Sainz after recording a lap in the Ferrari, a comment that might raise some concerns for the Scuderia. Meanwhile the action picked up amongst the rest of the field as Verstappen returned to the top on an impressive time of 1m 04.577s, half a second clear of Russell and Piastri.

While Sainz slotted into second, his countryman Alonso looked to be struggling to get out of the elimination zone, having reported that he “nearly crashed” his Aston Martin in Turns 7 and 10 on his flying lap.

There was trouble for Hulkenberg, with the Haas driver set to be investigated post-session after getting ahead of Perez in the busy pit lane queue. Not ideal for the German, who picked up a time penalty in the Sprint earlier in the day following an incident with Alonso.

Despite his flyer earlier on, Verstappen retuned to the track on fresh rubber and bettered his time with a lap of 1m 04.469s. Further back, Hulkenberg lifted himself up into ninth, but the RB pair of Ricciardo and Tsunoda found themselves out in P11 and P14, while Magnussen, Gasly and Alonso also failed to make it through.

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

SPIELBERG, AUSTRIA - JUNE 29: 15th placed qualifier Fernando Alonso of Spain and Aston Martin F1

Aston Martin's troubles continued as Alonso found himself eliminated from Q2 in P15

Q3 – Pole for Verstappen as Leclerc and Piastri hit trouble

After a brief delay in getting Q3 started while gravel was cleared from the track – following an excursion for Gasly at the end of Q2 – it was time for the all-important top-10 shootout.

There was an unusual incident for Hamilton in the pit lane, with the Mercedes nearly taking a jack with hm before it fell away from the rear of the car. The incident will be investigated after the session for a potential unsafe release.

As the initial laps came in, it was again Verstappen who went fastest with an effort of 1m 04.426s, giving him an advantage of 0.361s over Norris in second, while Russell followed in third and Leclerc and Piastri completed the top five.

Attentions then turned to the final flying laps, but could anybody beat Verstappen’s benchmark? Well, the man himself could, having gone even quicker on a 1m 04.314s. This put him four-tenths clear of Norris in second, with Russell taking third from Sainz and Hamilton in fourth and fifth respectively.

Leclerc went off track during his final effort, leaving him in P6, while Piastri also faced trouble after having a lap deleted due to track limits, dropping the McLaren man down to P7. The top 10 was completed by Perez, Hulkenberg and Ocon, though Hulkenberg faces an investigation after the session for two separate pit lane incidents.

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

Verstappen claimed his eighth pole position of the season

Key quote

“The qualifying went really well," said Verstappen. "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."

What’s next

The 2024 Austrian Grand Prix is set to begin at 1500 local time on Sunday. Head to the RACE HUB to find out how you can catch the action from the Red Bull Ring.

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