Max Verstappen took pole position ahead of the sprint in Friday night’s dramatic qualifying session, with both Mercedes drivers out of action, at the Red Bull Ring.
Sunny skies hailed the riders after the morning rain and wet preparation for the Austrian Grand Prix, and qualifying set the starting grid for Saturday’s sprint, which in turn will determine the starting grid for Sunday’s Grand Prix.
Mercedes entered Q3, perhaps hoping to see pole as Lewis Hamilton had been third in the previous session, but the seven-time champion crashed into the barriers at turn 7 to pull the red flag in the middle of the shootout. preliminary 10th.
Teammate George Russell (P5) followed suit a few minutes later, spinning and then crashing on the final corner, ending a miserable day for the Silver Arrows.
After a second stop in the third quarter, a stunning pole challenge ensued, with Verstappen lifting the proverbial roof over the Red Bull Ring with his latest flying effort, leaving Leclerc in second, just 0.029 seconds back and Carlos Sainz third, 0.082 seconds back.
Red Bull Racing
Red Bull Racing
Sergio Pérez finished fourth at Red Bull with .420s and Russell in fifth despite relegation.
Next on the board was Esteban Okon from Alpine; his teammate Fernando Alonso was ninth. Between them were Kevin Magnussen in seventh and Mick Schumacher in eighth in a stunning showing for Haas.
AlphaTauri suffered a double elimination in the second quarter, with Pierre Gasly missing less than one hundredth of a second and Yuki Tsunoda taking provisional 14th in a rage. Alex Albon finished 12th with the Williams, ahead of Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas in 13th, and Lando Norris was 15th at McLaren, who had numerous lap deletions in the second quarter for exceeding track limits.
Daniel Ricciardo starts in the sprint behind his teammate, who was eliminated in 16th place. Lance Stroll was next on the board, 17th for Aston Martin, as he shares the penultimate row with Alfa Romeo’s Zhou Guanyu on Saturday.
Nicholas Latifi of Williams qualified 19th in the sprint and Sebastian Vettel of Aston Martin last and 20th, who also had a lap credited from outside the track.
Q1 – Ferrari sets the pace as Ricciardo and Aston Martin exit
The teams were wasting no time getting ready for the first quarter, the track buzzing with activity under clear blue skies.
With eight minutes left in time, Verstappen briefly came out on top, but his lap was chalked out, leaving teammate Pérez first, ahead of Alpine’s Alonso and Ferrari’s Leclerc in the top three by just 0.057 seconds. Sainz was fourth as his first driver was also ruled out due to a course restriction.
Since Verstappen and Hamilton had not yet set a time by this point, and conditions on the track would still improve, there was enough time in the table – both Williams (Albon going far in turn 9) and Aston Martins in the fall zone along with the championship leader .
Verstappen was five minutes off the finish line with a 1:05.852 lap. However, Ferrari lowered his order shortly thereafter, with Sainz in second and Leclerc in first with a 0.433 second lead over the Red Bull third-place driver.
Alonso finished fourth ahead of Hamilton and Red Bull’s Pérez finished sixth ahead of Russell’s other Mercedes.
With the new engine (part of his existing pool) following his FP1 stop, McLaren driver Norris finished eighth in Q1, ahead of the Haas duo (leading Magnussen over Schumacher in the P10) and Bottas in 11th for Alfa Romeo.
AlphaTauri’s Tsunoda and Alpine’s Okon were next in line, followed by Albon’s Williams.
AlphaTauri driver Gasly was the last man to make it to Q2, 0.024 seconds ahead of McLaren’s Ricciardo, who finished 16th. Neither Aston Martin advanced to the next session, with Vettel taking 20th with a lap time removed and Stroll faring better in 17th.
In between were Zhou of Alfa Romeo, 18th, and Williams driver Latifi, in 19th.
KOs: Ricciardo, Stroll, Zhou, Latifi, Vettel
Q2 – Leclerc and Verstappen keep Hamilton at bay
Mercedes’ Hamilton topped the charts at the start of the second quarter, his team mate Russell was third and Verstappen split the pair, 0.033 seconds back. This left Ferrari in 4th and 5th, but there was still time on the clock, time to search, and the seven drivers still had a lap to go.
With five minutes left, Bottas was the driver at risk in 10th, with Red Bull’s Pérez trailing by 0.139 seconds with a miss in turn 9 and Norris losing two lap times due to separate excursions in 1st and 4th -m turns to take last place. Albon and a pair of AlphaTauri were other drivers facing elimination. At the top, meanwhile, Hamilton improved to 0.093 seconds behind Verstappen… so far.
Leclerc and Verstappen improved, with the former 0.087 seconds ahead of the latter, while Hamilton was third by 0.188 seconds, leaving Sainz in fourth. Russell rounded out the top five, while Perez exited the relegation zone in sixth.
Both Haas riders moved into Q3, Magnussen seventh and Schumacher 10th, while Okon and Alonso made two appearances for Alpine in Q3 in eighth and ninth respectively.
Gasly improved, but only to 11th (0.009 seconds behind Q3), with Albon next and Bottas 13th. Tsunoda was happy at turn one and his frustration could be heard as he took provisional 14th position in the sprint as Norris last missed three laps. “I’m afraid to slow down,” the McLaren driver said.
Knocked out: Gasley, Albon, Bottas, Tsunoda, Norris.
Q3 – Both Mercedes crash before Verstappen’s pole position
No one was in a hurry to set a time in the third quarter, but it soon became apparent that Pérez may have missed turn 8 in his successful attempt to get out of Q2, which led to him being called to the stewards after the session.
Leclerc led Russell and Ocon early on, while Hamilton fell back a second time (nearly stepping back into a fast-moving Leclerc) despite a purple first sector – before Verstappen was greeted by a raucous orange sea of fans. And the Dutchman nailed it by taking provisional pole 0.091 seconds ahead of Leclerc, with Sainz finishing third for Ferrari ahead of Perez in fourth place for Red Bull.
This was followed by a red flag and a pause – for Hamilton. A sudden oversteer in turn 7 sent him rolling on the gravel, the right side of his W13 hitting the barriers. He left, but starts in the sprint with a conditional 10th.
After a long pause, the session resumed with about five minutes remaining. But there will be another red flag. And this time for another Mercedes driver—Russell walking away from it—who spun and crashed on the last corner to put the process on hold with two and a half minutes on the clock.
A stunning pole battle followed, with Sainz taking first, Leclerc improving to take provisional pole, and then Verstappen beat both Ferraris to take first, leaving his Monaco rival just 0.029 seconds and the Spaniard 0.082 seconds. .
Perez trailed his teammate in 4th at .420s (to be investigated), Russell was provisionally fifth and then Okon sixth behind Alpine. The Haas pair put on a brilliant show with Magnussen in seventh, Schumacher in eighth and Alonso remaining ninth at another Alpine.
Scenes of jubilation in the Red Bull garage (and in the stands) as the Mercedes crews have a long night ahead of FP2 and the Austrian sprint on Saturday.
Max Verstappen: “It was a very long wait between two races and it’s never good when you’re on the beat, it’s nice to just keep going. In addition, you know that the temperature on the track was dropping, the wind was changing. not much, but at the end it was a very tight qualifying and it’s a really hard track to get it right. There aren’t many corners, but they’re pretty hard, really easy to get through. mistake But of course I’m very happy with the pole, but I also know that tomorrow and Sunday you can get points.
“I think we have a great car. Normally…qualifying is not our strong point, so of course I hope to get through the first corner cleanly, leave well. Since then, anything can happen, but I feel confident with the car that we have.
“It’s incredible to see the crowd here, to see so much orange and the support that I have been getting here for several years. It definitely makes me smile and I hope we can make this a great weekend.”
The second 2022 sprint will take place on Saturday at 16:30 local time – after FP2 at 12:30 local time – Verstappen leads the 100 km race. Head here to find out how you can catch the action on F1 TV.
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