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What the teams said – Sprint Qualifying in Austria

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SPIELBERG, AUSTRIA - JUNE 28: Daniel Ricciardo of Australia and Visa Cash App RB looks on in the

Red Bull

There looked to be a potential drama on the cards for Red Bull in free practice, with Verstappen coming to a halt on the main straight nearly halfway through the session. However, once a sensor issue was reset, the Dutchman returned to action and looked strong later in the day during Sprint Qualifying, topping every segment before claiming pole position. Perez will line up in P7, having been left disappointed after feeling that more was possible.

READ MORE: Verstappen hails ‘positive day’ after bouncing back from practice issue to take Austria Sprint pole

Max Verstappen, 1st, 1:04.686

“It was a positive day today. I am happy as we started off the day well and the car was in a good window. There was a small issue with the sensor in the practice session but we fixed that really quickly. Heading into qualifying, the car was really strong and I could push. We were quick in the high speed, which is important round here and hopefully we can keep that going tomorrow. Of course, there are always areas that we can do better so we will look at that tonight. Looking to the Sprint race tomorrow, this will give us an early indication of how the pace of the car will be for the race. But all in all, it was definitely a good start and I am looking forward to the rest of the weekend.”

Sergio Perez, 7th, 1:06.008

“I think we were making good progress from the start during the first session and in to Sprint qualifying. We were in the mix today, but unfortunately couldn’t really show it especially in SQ3 with Esteban in front. He left a very big gap in front of him and in the end, we were going to the limit against time and I crossed the line with around a second difference. It’s a shame because we had promising pace today, but unfortunately we were not able to maximise on this because of circumstances out of our control. I’m confident that tomorrow will be a better day, and that we can make up some ground here at our home race."

Christian Horner, Team Principal

"It was a positive day for us today and we saw three great laps put in from Max. Unfortunately, it was a disappointing run for Checo, especially after getting boxed in by Esteban, as there was no chance for him to get a representative lap. Going into SQ3 we thought he would be top five, which is a shame. However, this track is good for overtaking with a few good long straights. It’s going to be very hot tomorrow so that should throw up some challenges for all the cars on the grid. Overall, it was a great showing from Max but it’s getting close; McLaren were looking strong and Mercedes were edging closer too, so we are looking forward to seeing what tomorrow brings."

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SPIELBERG, AUSTRIA - JUNE 28: Pole position qualifier Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (1) Oracle Red Bull Racing RB20 stops in parc ferme during Sprint Qualifying ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Austria at Red Bull Ring on June 28, 2024 in Spielberg, Austria. (Photo by Mario Renzi - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)

McLaren

McLaren had displayed good pace in practice, with Norris putting in a promising lap in the final stages before a trip through the gravel cost him. He put together a smoother tour around the Red Bull Ring in SQ3, provisionally grabbing pole before being displaced by the rapid Verstappen. Piastri was close on his team mate’s tail and will start from P3 on the grid for the Sprint.

READ MORE: Norris confident of taking fight to Verstappen in Austria Sprint after close battle for pole

Lando Norris, 2nd, 1:04.779

"Overall, a good Quali today, P2 is pretty strong. It was close but it has been all year. Possibly not my tidiest Qualifying session, but I managed to pull it out at the end and produce a nice lap. P2 for tomorrow’s Sprint is a positive start to the weekend, we’ll keep pushing on from here."

Oscar Piastri, 3rd, 1:04.987

"P3, not a bad effort today. We’ve got a couple of corners to tidy-up, but I’m happy to be able to qualify well for the Sprint. We’re in a good spot for tomorrow and will work hard overnight ready for the fun to begin."

Andrea Stella, Team Principal

"It’s been a tricky Sprint Qualifying session. It wasn’t easy to put laps together and there was a bit of work to do to find the right position in the out laps. We needed to be very careful with traffic but, ultimately, the outcome is positive with P2 and P3 on the grid for the Sprint race. This is a position we can try and capitalise on and see if we can go for the win. At the same time, we once again can see how tight the field is at the front. There’s really not much to pick between Red Bull, McLaren, Ferrari, and Mercedes, so we need to maximise the package, the driving, the execution and see what we can do tomorrow."

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SPIELBERG, AUSTRIA - JUNE 28: Lando Norris of Great Britain driving the (4) McLaren MCL38 Mercedes on track during Sprint Qualifying ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Austria at Red Bull Ring on June 28, 2024 in Spielberg, Austria. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

Mercedes

Many had tipped Mercedes to perform well at the Red Bull Ring, and their pace looked decent in FP1. Come Sprint Qualifying, Russell put his W15 in P4 and was left feeling hopeful of battling for a podium in Saturday’s Sprint. Hamilton, meanwhile, will line up in P6 but branded his whole session as “pretty disastrous”.

READ MORE: Hamilton brands Sprint Qualifying as ‘pretty disastrous’ following SQ3 mistake in Austria

Lewis Hamilton, 6th, 1:05.270

"I had a difficult Sprint Qualifying today. Practice went well and the car felt good. I don’t think we had the pace to fight for pole position for the Sprint but we likely had more speed than we showed. I wasn’t happy with any of my laps and Sprint Qualifying was quite a messy session overall.

"The Sprint race tomorrow will be challenging. It’s not easy to overtake around here and starting P6 makes it difficult for us. If it’s not an eventful race, then I don’t think we will be able to move forward too many places. Nevertheless, we will still be giving it our all. Our main focus though is of course on Qualifying later in the afternoon and Sunday’s race."

George Russell, 4th, 1:05.054

"The Soft tyre felt very good, and my lap felt strong. I was therefore a little surprised at the gap to P1, but I likely pushed too hard on the out lap. That potentially took a little of the peak grip away from the tyre. From in the car, it felt like the best lap of the session, so that is probably the explanation for why we dropped a little bit further back.

"P4 is still a decent place to be starting for the Sprint tomorrow. We are in the fight for the podium. Our focus is of course on Qualifying and the Grand Prix, but this is just another validation that we are on the right track and in the mix near the front."

Andrew Shovlin, Trackside Engineering Director

"We had a solid FP1. Both cars managed a good amount of long run work, and, on the Hard tyre, we were looking similar to Barcelona in terms of competitiveness. Sprint Qualifying was quite straightforward although in SQ3 we were first out on track. It was important not to risk missing the flag but that does make it difficult to get the benefit of the track evolution. We hoped for a bit better than P4 and P6 but our performance on the Soft compound wasn't strong enough to challenge for better. Lewis picked up some floor damage and wasn't happy with his laps. George felt that he needed to a bit more high-speed grip to go faster, so we are looking at how to make a few improvements overnight.

"Our aim is to score decent points in the Sprint tomorrow morning, but it's also useful as long run preparation ahead of Sunday's race. We've also got the opportunity to tweak the car for main Qualifying after the Sprint. We know where we need to improve so hopefully, we can make a bit of ground up and start a little closer to the front for the race on Sunday."

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SPIELBERG, AUSTRIA - JUNE 28: A general view showing George Russell of Great Britain driving the (63) Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team W15 during Sprint Qualifying ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Austria at Red Bull Ring on June 28, 2024 in Spielberg, Austria. (Photo by Peter Fox - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)

Ferrari

Ferrari had enjoyed a reasonably positive start to Friday, with Leclerc and Sainz claiming P3 and P4 in Free Practice 1. However, Leclerc had a disastrous end to his Sprint Qualifying session when his car ground to a halt in the pit lane. After losing several seconds before getting going again, he failed to cross the start/finish line in time to put a lap on the board, leaving him down in 10th. Team mate Sainz claimed fifth place and later voiced his optimism of moving forwards in the Sprint.

READ MORE: Leclerc explains SQ3 drama in Austria after missing final timed lap

Charles Leclerc, 10th, DNF

"That wasn’t the best start to the weekend. We struggled to match the pace of the quickest in the first two parts of Sprint Qualifying and then, when it was time for the one flying lap in SQ3, the engine’s anti-stall kicked in while I was in pit lane. This cost me precious seconds and meant I was unable to set a time. Obviously, I’m not happy but there’s still a long way to go this weekend. We will try and gain some places in tomorrow’s Sprint Race and then start over from zero as we prepare for qualifying for the Grand Prix."

Carlos Sainz, 5th, 1:05.126

"Not the best afternoon. In terms of feeling, SQ1 and SQ2 was quite decent on the Medium compound. Then with the soft tyres in SQ3 I think we saw our weaknesses a bit and so we finished P5.

"However, we still have time to adjust a couple of things here and there for tomorrow and hopefully we can have a better qualifying for the Grand Prix.

"Regarding the Sprint Race, we'll try to score as many points as possible and I'm confident we can do a good job there."

Fred Vasseur, Team Principal

"We are obviously disappointed to have one car in P5 and the other in P10. We need to look at our performance on the Soft tyre, since on the Medium it was ok and we were in the fight with Mercedes and McLaren. We also need to work on the bouncing the cars experienced in the final two quick corners because it’s costing us a bit of time.

"For tomorrow in the Sprint, there is only one strategy and that is to push, because there is no mandatory pit stop for such a short race, so all we can do is push hard. We want to score good points with Carlos and bring home some more with Charles."

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SPIELBERG, AUSTRIA - JUNE 28: Carlos Sainz of Spain driving (55) the Ferrari SF-24 leaves the pitlane during Sprint Qualifying ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Austria at Red Bull Ring on June 28, 2024 in Spielberg, Austria. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

Alpine

Having looked increasingly strong in recent weekends, Alpine continued to display signs of progression on the first day of action in Austria. Ocon ended FP1 in a strong sixth place, before going on to seal P8 on the grid for Saturday’s Sprint. Gasly will line up just behind him in P9, days after confirming that he will remain with the team beyond 2024.

ANALYSIS: Why Alpine were so keen to keep Gasly at the team – and their plans for the second seat

Esteban Ocon, 8th, 1:06.101

“I’m happy to have reached SQ3 today and starting in eighth place for tomorrow. Again, we reached the top ten in Qualifying as a team, which is another good performance. SQ3 was far from straightforward as we were at the back of the queue. We probably got a little fortunate with Charles [Leclerc] missing the flag at the end and gained a position as a result. Even so, the positive is we performed well and we are in a good position in the Sprint Race. We still have work to do and things to understand but it’s pleasing to be heading in a good direction.”

Pierre Gasly, 9th, 1:06.624

"It was a good Sprint Qualifying for the team overall today with both cars reaching SQ3. We managed SQ1 and SQ2 well, showed good pace and we progressed through both sessions. We certainly did not maximise SQ3. It was a messy one and I did not get a proper push lap. These are things we will review as we always aim to maximise all sessions and get the most from it. Even so, we had good pace again today – that is pleasing – and again we are inside the top ten. Those cars ahead of us are quick and only the top eight score in the Sprint Race tomorrow. It will not be easy to pick up points but we will try our best and see what we can achieve.”

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SPIELBERG, AUSTRIA - JUNE 28: 8th placed qualifier Esteban Ocon of France and Alpine F1 talks to the media in the Paddock after Sprint Qualifying ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Austria at Red Bull Ring on June 28, 2024 in Spielberg, Austria. (Photo by Bryn Lennon - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)

Aston Martin

Both Aston Martin cars put themselves into the top-10 in free practice, but the AMR24 was not able to maintain this going into Sprint Qualifying. After getting out of the danger zone in SQ1, Alonso failed to do the same in SQ2 and was eliminated in P13. Stroll, meanwhile, had earlier looked to be comfortably into SQ3 before a wild moment at Turn 10 pushed him into the bottom five. He will start just ahead of his team mate in P12.

READ MORE: Aston Martin confirm Stroll to remain as Alonso’s team mate after contract extension

Fernando Alonso, 13th, 1:05.878

"It was very tight out there as we expected. I was quite happy with my laps in Sprint Qualifying and I felt we extracted the maximum lap-time in both SQ1 and SQ2.

"Sadly, it wasn't enough to make it into SQ3 today. I think it will be very difficult to score any points tomorrow, but we will take as much information from the Sprint race as possible."

Lance Stroll, 12th, 1:05.847

"We still have some work to do, but the car had a bit more pace today. I was pushing hard out there to try and get the most out of the lap, but just lost it slightly in the final corner.

"I think we'd have squeezed into SQ3 without that. We'll do our homework tonight and see how we go in the Sprint tomorrow."

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SPIELBERG, AUSTRIA - JUNE 28: Lance Stroll of Canada driving the (18) Aston Martin AMR24 Mercedes on track during Sprint Qualifying ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Austria at Red Bull Ring on June 28, 2024 in Spielberg, Austria. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

RB

After a difficult weekend last time out in Barcelona – where their car had been carrying a raft of upgrades – RB were looking to have a better outing at the Red Bull Ring. Tsunoda reported steering column issues throughout FP1 before ending that session in P9 on the timesheets, while Ricciardo was back in 16th. Unfortunately for Ricciardo, this is also the position in which he finished Sprint Qualifying, while Tsunoda made it through to SQ2 and will line up in 14th on the Sprint grid.

READ MORE: Ricciardo and Tsunoda left searching for answers over RB’s major update package after Spain struggles

Daniel Ricciardo, 16th, 1:06.581

“It’s a short lap here, so it’s always going to be tricky. We changed quite a lot from FP1, and we’re still trying to learn about the package, but obviously, it’s frustrating when you miss out by a small bit. The second lap of the Sprint-Quali was definitely better than the first one, but we still need to finetune some things. I do think we made the right changes, but maybe we need to balance it better. We’ll try to use the Sprint to understand the car always more, so I’m staying optimistic.”

Yuki Tsunoda, 14th, 1:05.960

“I’m not happy with today. For sure, the second run in SQ1 with my spin in the last sector compromised our SQ2 run. I over-pushed and went slightly over the limit in Turn 7, and I think I damaged the floor already there and not necessarily when I spun out in Turn 10. It wasn’t the ideal way to enter SQ2, especially with the adaptation in driving style. It’s a shame and definitely towards me; I’ll take the blame and move forward.”

Alan Permane, Racing Director

“A tough Sprint Qualifying session for us for different reasons across both sides of the garage. We’ve done some experimentation this morning after our difficult weekend in Barcelona, and it was very good to do because we learnt a lot. Daniel had a lot of changes for the Sprint Qualifying session and it’s always difficult with one set of tyres. We knew needing to nail that first lap was going to be difficult to get the best out of the car. However, it’s a long weekend and we’ll learn more in the Sprint tomorrow, and then we have another shot at Qualifying in the evening. Yuki unfortunately went off on his second lap in SQ1 and damaged his floor. Without that, I’m very sure he would’ve been higher up. We’ll repair his floor overnight and make sure he’s got a perfect car for tomorrow.”

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SPIELBERG, AUSTRIA - JUNE 28: Yuki Tsunoda of Japan driving the (22) Visa Cash App RB VCARB 01 leaves the garage in the Pitlane during Sprint Qualifying ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Austria at Red Bull Ring on June 28, 2024 in Spielberg, Austria. (Photo by Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images)

Haas

Having been overtaken by Alpine for P7 in the constructors’ standings, Haas did not look to have quite the same pace as the former on Friday in Austria. There was a surprise in SQ1 when Hulkenberg – a driver who has made more than one appearance in SQ3 this year – found himself eliminated in P17. Magnussen enjoyed a slightly stronger day and only narrowly missed out on reaching the top-10, ending SQ2 in P11.

HIGHLIGHTS: Relive the action from Austria Sprint Qualifying as Verstappen takes pole and Leclerc hits trouble

Nico Hulkenberg, 17th, 1:06.583

“It was very fine margins out there, it’s super tight and you need those thousandths in your favor. It wasn’t a great session, I was struggling to feel good, find the rhythm and harmony with the car. I already knew we were under pressure after the first lap and unfortunately, we didn’t have enough pace today. When you start behind and you’re going to be in traffic in dirty air, if it’s going to be dry, I suspect it’s going to be tough to make any progress. We need some mixed conditions like last year.”

Kevin Magnussen, 11th, 1:05.806

“It was a good qualifying, smooth and clean, didn’t have any traffic! We came out on track firstly with no traffic, but also with the best track evolution, and I feel for the first time this year – although it’s pretty late – it’s the first fully clean and well-executed qualifying so we have to keep this up. The feel of the car hasn’t been perfect, on the medium tire it feels like we are reasonably competitive on one lap, but over a long run I didn’t really know so we’ll see in the Sprint tomorrow how that goes and which tire we race on.”

Ayao Komatsu, Team Principal

“The highlight of today was that Kevin did a very good job, putting a good lap together in SQ2 but unfortunately missed out on SQ3 by less than five-hundredths of a second. It was a really good effort, a really good lap, and he got the most out of the car so I’m very happy. With Nico, we don’t seem to have both drivers getting the best out of the car at the same time, he was unhappy with the car from FP1 and that carried on. He had no confidence in the low-speed corners, and when you don’t have that you can’t get near the limit of the car, so it’s something we need to work on tonight and tomorrow for the Sprint. The good thing about a Sprint weekend is that whatever we learn tonight and tomorrow, we can change for qualifying. That’s not just for Nico, there are certain things we need to look at for Kevin’s car as well. I’m very happy with Kevin’s performance, happy for his crew, but with Nico there’s a bit more work to do.”

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SPIELBERG, AUSTRIA - JUNE 28: Kevin Magnussen of Denmark driving the (20) Haas F1 VF-24 Ferrari on track during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Austria at Red Bull Ring on June 28, 2024 in Spielberg, Austria. (Photo by Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images)

Williams

While Albon has built a strong record of outqualifying team mate Sargeant, it was the American who enjoyed the better Sprint Qualifying session at the Red Bull Ring. Albon had initially looked safe in SQ1 before being pushed back into the elimination zone, meaning that he will start the Sprint from P19. Sargeant, meanwhile, progressed to SQ2 but did not set a timed lap, giving him the final result of P15.

READ MORE: Zhou and Sargeant address their options for the future – from reserve driver roles to life outside of F1

Alex Albon, 19th, 1:06.754

"I couldn’t quite pull it together through Turn 3 and 4, struggling with the balance and just not able to get around it. I tried to play around with driving styles and tools, but it didn’t really work. With one shot in Sprint Qualifying, I just didn’t get it right. I regret not being a bit more extreme with my changes from FP1 to Sprint Qualifying, but we’ll make some changes and try to get more out of it tomorrow."

Logan Sargeant, 15th, DNF

"SQ1 was a good build-up, however in SQ2, I didn’t quite get Turn 1 and 3 right, attempting to make it up in the second half of the lap. I managed this, but then clipped the gravel in Turn 6 and that was unfortunately out. I’m still happy with my session and think it’s a good place to be starting tomorrow. The conditions are changing from session to session. We are being proactive with set-up and countering the differences and I feel like we did a good job and turned things around from FP1 to Sprint Qualifying, so we’ll just keep trying to do a bit more of the same. It’s been a good step forward from Barcelona."

Sven Smeets, Sporting Director

"With only one Free Practice session, having the car in the right window for Sprint Qualifying was always going to be tricky. Unfortunately, Alex struggled with the balance of his car and didn’t make it out of SQ1. Logan did a good job and got into SQ2 with a clean and decent last push lap. In SQ2, we knew he had to give it his all to gain some places on the grid but unfortunately couldn't get it all lined up and his lap was deleted. Nevertheless, he will be in a good position tomorrow to fight and look out for opportunities. With Alex, we’ll make some changes to the setup after the Sprint Race, ahead of Qualifying, and will use the Sprint to gather valuable information for the Grand Prix on Sunday."

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SPIELBERG, AUSTRIA - JUNE 28: Logan Sargeant of United States driving the (2) Williams FW46 Mercedes on track during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Austria at Red Bull Ring on June 28, 2024 in Spielberg, Austria. (Photo by Bryn Lennon - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)

Kick Sauber

It was a disappointing Friday for Kick Sauber in Austria as the team continue to look for their first points of the season. Bottas had his second flying lap deleted for track limits, but would most likely still have exited in SQ1. The Finn will start from P18, while Zhou faced issues on both of his efforts and ended the session in 20th and last place.

READ MORE: ‘The decision is approaching’ – Alunni Bravi reflects on Sainz’s prospects for Kick Sauber drive in 2025

Valtteri Bottas, 18th, 1:06.725

“The feeling with the car had been quite decent so far, and I was expecting our lap times to be better; I had two clean laps, and although the second one was deleted because of track limits, it wouldn’t have made much of a different, as it was only two hundredths of a second faster. Unfortunately, we are still quite lacking when it comes to single-lap pace. Tomorrow’s Sprint will be a tough job starting from the back of the grid, especially in a short race with no pit stops, but we will still have a chance to go for a set-up change afterwards. We’ll put all our focus on maximising these learnings, looking to improve our performance in tomorrow’s main Qualifying and on Sunday.”

Zhou Guanyu, 20th, 1:07.197

"While we used the morning’s practice session to collect some information and data, today’s sprint qualifying was quite messy for me. I only had two laps: I ended up running wide into the gravel on the first one and encountered heavy traffic on the second. This made it difficult to get a good time on the board as the tyres were gone after the first attempt. However, looking ahead to tomorrow, I reckon that we should have more pace and shall be stronger than we were today – our focus is now on qualifying proper.”

Alessandro Alunni Bravi, Team Representative

“Today we experienced a disappointing Sprint Qualifying session, one that brings us back to the bottom of the grid. We need to understand why we were not able to continue the positive trajectory that started last weekend in Barcelona. On a track like Spielberg, with short lap times, there is no allowance for any mistake, and we’ve seen that especially the last sector is crucial. Today, we missed something, both in terms of the last sector performance and of clean laps, and that jeopardised our session.”

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Pirelli

Simone Berra, Chief Engineer

“All in all, it was a fairly normal Friday for a Sprint weekend, with the teams in free practice doing several runs with relatively different programmes in terms of stint length and fuel loads. From our side, there were no particular surprises with how the three compounds we chose for this Grand Prix behaved. As expected, there seems to be no graining, but overheating is a major factor. Sprint Qualifying provides an opportunity to compare the performance of the Medium and the Soft in very similar conditions over a flying lap and the difference we saw today, of around four tenths, is also in line with our expectations. The most relevant data is linked to the extensive use of the Hard, by half the teams, which leads us to believe that that their preferred strategy should be to run Medium-Hard-Medium, given that a two-stop is the quickest choice. However, the other five teams have left the door open to run two sets of Hard or two sets of Medium. It’s worth noting that today’s times are generally a few tenths slower than last year’s qualifying held on Friday afternoon is similar weather conditions to today’s. Tomorrow, track temperature should be around 40 °C or higher and the Medium should be the preferred choice for all drivers, which will produce useful information for Sunday’s race.”

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