Austrian GP Qualifying F1 Report: Verstappen Beats Hamilton to Pole as Alonso Fumes at Vettel

Published 07/03/2021, 10:02 AM EDT
Formula One F1 – Austrian Grand Prix – Red Bull Ring, Spielberg, Styria, Austria – July 3, 2021 Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in action during qualifying REUTERS/Lisi Niesner


It was a fierce battle at the top for the pole position at the Austrian Grand Prix, only for Max Verstappen to secure it by quite a fine margin from the others. Behind the title contender was Lando Norris, who managed to put his McLaren onto the front row for the first time in his F1 career.

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Behind the duo were Sergio Perez and Lewis Hamilton locking out the second row, and his Mercedes teammate, Valtteri Bottas closing out the top five.

With Red Bull drivers starting from such dominant positions, Mercedes’ chances of securing a win on Sunday look very much bleak.

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Q3 – Max Verstappen denies Mercedes pole

The nine-minute session went underway as cars rushed onto the track to pick up the tow from the others. Norris managed a brilliant lap and placed himself on provisional P2 behind Verstappen, who yet again topped the list with a 1:03:720.

Formula One F1 – Austrian Grand Prix – Red Bull Ring, Spielberg, Styria, Austria – July 3, 2021 Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton in action during qualifying REUTERS/Lisi Niesner

Despite desperate efforts from Mercedes, there was nothing that could be done to defeat the McLaren driver. What’s more, both Hamilton and Bottas ended up losing their positions to Perez as well.

Gasly and Tsunoda managed a rather pleasing P6 and P7 for AlphaTauri, with Vettel slotting himself into P8, but of course, amid fears of a grid penalty. Behind the German was Russell, who beat the other Aston Martin driver to secure P9.

Q2- Medium, the starting tires for Sunday’s F1 race?

Perez was the first driver to enter the track as lights went green for Q2. The Mexican preferred to set his lap time on medium tires, consequently setting the tone for what’s to come from others. Unsurprisingly, most of the drivers joined the track on medium tires, apart from Alpine, Aston Martin, Williams, and AlphaTauri.

Over the initial run, Verstappen yet again topped the timesheet with an impressive 1:04:208. Behind the Red Bull driver, several mid-field drivers posted their lap times on the softest compound to push the Mercedes duo to the brink of exiting Q2.

Formula One F1 – Austrian Grand Prix – Red Bull Ring, Spielberg, Styria, Austria – July 3, 2021 Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll in action during qualifying REUTERS/Lisi Niesner

With two minutes left on the clock, drivers exited their garages for the final run. A shocking lap on medium tires from Russell boosted the Williams into Q3 for the first time this season.

Unfortunately, the Ferrari duo wasn’t as lucky, as Sainz and Leclerc will be lining up P11 and P12. Ricciardo yet again failed to make it to Q3, as the McLaren will line up P13 for Sunday’s race. Alonso was impeded by Vettel at the very last corner, as the Spaniard failed to improve on his lap time, and remained P14, with Giovinazzi securing P15.

Q1- Shocking exit for Alpine F1 driver

The Red Bull Ring welcomed the drivers to blazing hot conditions and managing the soft tires through a flying lap turned out to be highly crucial.

The Haas duo was the first to hit the track, as Mick beat his teammate, Mazepin by a healthy 0.9s. Then arrived a blinding lap from Austria’s fan favorite, Verstappen, who clocked a lap time of 1:04:249. Behind the Dutchman was the Mercedes duo, who ended up being 0.2s slower.

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Formula One F1 – Austrian Grand Prix – Red Bull Ring, Spielberg, Styria, Austria – July 3, 2021 Red Bull’s Sergio Perez in action during qualifying REUTERS/Lisi Niesner

Meanwhile, Alfa Romeo looked quite pacy, as both Giovinazzi and Raikkonen constantly pushed their cars into the top 10. However, the Finn failed to make it into Q2 after failing to post a decent lap on the second run.

Along with Raikkonen, Ocon, too, suffered yet another disappointing qualifying session, as he could manage only P17. Behind the Frenchman is Williams’ Latifi, with Haas drivers securing the last row of the grid.

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Overall, that was a nail-biting session to watch for the fans, with very fine margins separating the top 10. Hence, how competitive is the race going to be? Will the predicted rain finally show up during lights out, adding more excitement on Sunday afternoon? Well, we’ll know soon enough.

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Rohit Kumar

895 articles

Rohit Kumar is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. He has been an ardent follower of the racing series since 2007, with his love for the sport coinciding with his love for Kimi Raikkonen. He is also an ardent follower of Sebastian Vettel and Aston Martin Racing.

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