Verstappen pips Norris to Austrian GP pole, Hamilton fourth

Formula 1 championship leader Max Verstappen pipped McLaren’s Lando Norris to pole position for the Austrian Grand Prix, while Lewis Hamilton was only fourth.
Verstappen pips Norris to Austrian GP pole, Hamilton fourth

Verstappen looked the odds-on favourite for a third straight pole and delivered with a 1m03.720s, but it was Norris who stole the show with a sensational lap that saw him miss out on pole by just 0.048s and claim his maiden front-row start.

It continued an outstanding start to the season for the Briton, who outpaced Sergio Perez’s Red Bull and both Mercedes drivers, with Lewis Hamilton suffering a blow to his hopes of closing the gap to Verstappen.

The seven-time world champion could only manage a time good enough for fourth on the grid, 0.294s down on Verstappen’s benchmark, as he edged out his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas who completed the top five.

AlphaTauri pair Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda will line up a strong sixth and seventh on the grid for Sunday’s race, ahead of Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel in eighth.

George Russell turned in his latest stunning qualifying display to claim ninth on the grid and seal Williams’ first Q3 appearance since the 2018 Italian Grand Prix as he outpaced Lance Stroll’s Aston Martin.

Russell’s Q3 progression meant both Ferraris were knocked out as Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc failed to advance into the top-10 shootout on medium tyres.

Daniel Ricciardo was unable to join his McLaren teammate in Q3 as he took 13th for the second week running, while Alpine's Fernando Alonso was furious after his final flying lap was ruined by a slow Vettel at the final corner.

The two-time world champion had been on for an improvement but ended up only 14th after being badly impeded by Vettel’s Aston Martin at Turn 10. Vettel is under investigation and faces the prospect of a grid drop.

Antonio Giovinazzi was 15th fastest as he once again out-qualified his experienced Alfa Romeo teammate Kimi Raikkonen.

It was another disappointing qualifying for Alpine’s Esteban Ocon, who was eliminated in Q1 for the second weekend in a row in Austria.

The Frenchman could only post a lap good enough for 17th, some 0.6s slower than Alpine teammate Alonso who set the third-fastest time in Q1.

Williams’ Nicholas Latifi failed to make it a second Q2 appearance of the season as he ended up 18th, ahead of Mick Schumacher, who once again outpaced Haas teammate Nikita Mazepin by half a second.

Full qualifying results for the 2021 F1 Austrian Grand Prix.

Read More