Defending champion Max Verstappen and his Red Bull Racing team have secured pole position for Saturday’s 23-lap sprint race to the Austrian Grand Prix. Verstappen, who dominated qualifying with a staggering pace of 1:02.939 on the 4.318km Red Bull Ring circuit, set himself up for Sunday’s main event.
Verstappen’s teammate Sergio Perez joins the Dutchman on the front row of the grid, while McLaren’s Lando Norris shows promise in third place. Norris trails Verstappen by an impressive six tenths of a second, and starts ahead of Haas’ Nico Hulkenberg.
Unfortunately, reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton finds himself starting from 18th position after missing out on qualifying for the sprint race. The seven-time world champion will be looking to climb through the grid during the 71 laps that make up Sunday’s Grand Prix to prove he is still the man to beat.
Lewis Hamilton’s hopes of taking pole position in today’s Grand Prix qualifying race were dashed after the world champion was penalized for exceeding track limits. Despite initially topping the rankings in Q1, the Mercedes driver found his three laps invalidated due to transgressions at the final corner before being eliminated from the race.
Pete Bonnington, Hamilton’s race engineer, confirmed the devastating outcome in response to his driver’s frustrated request. It marked the second time in six years that the racing veteran has been forced to retire prematurely from qualifying.
Nevertheless, the Briton will still aim to claim eight points in the sprint race later today. Its result won’t impact Sunday’s main event but could be a silver lining to an otherwise dismal qualifying performance.
Today’s qualifying session was marked by controversy as Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton clashed with the officiating of Steward Michael Wittich. Both drivers were penalized for minor infractions, resulting in their immediate elimination from the second session.
In the wake of his early exit, Hamilton was adamant that he still wanted to be out on the track and stressed the team’s focus on getting a competitive performance. Though beginning far back on the grid, both Hamilton and Verstappen aim to make the most of the sprint race today.
Hamilton’s teammate, George Russell, wasn’t so fortunate as his car encountered a hydraulic failure, leading to a steering rack change from the Mercedes mechanics. With not enough time to set a lap time, Russell will be starting from 15th position.
The start gun for the sprint race will sound at 3:30 BST, and all eyes are on Hamilton and Verstappen to see what kind of show they can put up.