Styrian GP F1 Qualifying Report: Verstappen Beats Hamilton to Pole as Ricciardo’s Horror Show Continues

Published 06/26/2021, 10:03 AM EDT
Formula One F1 – Steiermark Grand Prix – Red Bull Ring, Spielberg, Styria, Austria – June 26, 2021 Red Bull’s Max Verstappen during qualifying REUTERS/Lisi Niesner


Red Bull F1 driver, Max Verstappen, showcased an incredible amount of pace to snatch the pole position from penalty-bearer, Valtteri Bottas.

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Meanwhile, Lewis Hamilton failed miserably on his final run to go P3 but will push himself onto the front row, alongside his title rival. Interestingly, Lando Norris will be gaining from Bottas’ penalty and will start the race from P3.

On the contrary, his McLaren teammate, Daniel Ricciardo, suffered yet another qualifying blow, as the Australian will be lining up in an unimpressive P13.

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Q3- Lewis Hamilton vs Max Verstappen for the F1 pole

It was one of the Mercedes that joined the track as the lights went green for the third part of the qualifying session at Spielberg; Hamilton managed 3 purple sectors on the empty track to go P1, with a lap time of 1:04:205.

Formula One F1 – Steiermark Grand Prix – Red Bull Ring, Spielberg, Styria, Austria – June 26, 2021 Red Bull’s Max Verstappen during qualifying REUTERS/Lisi Niesner

Then followed an astonishing lap from Verstappen as the Dutchman posted a 1:03:841 to put himself on provisional pole, almost 0.23s ahead of his rival. Norris continued to excel with a good enough lap time to secure P3, as he ended up being just 0.4 slower than Verstappen.

Ultimately, Verstappen led the way in Q3, with Bottas following the Red Bull in P2 but almost 0.2s slower. Hamilton and fellow Briton, Norris, managed to secure P3 and P4, respectively.

Behind the British duo, Perez slotted himself into P5 ahead of AlphaTauri’s Gasly. Leclerc managed to squeeze every ounce of performance from the struggling Ferrari to go P7, while Tsunoda and his idol, Alonso, posted lap times, good enough to secure P8 and P9. Finally, there was the lone Aston Martin of Stroll, who closed out the top 10.

Q2- Ricciardo and Sainz miss out on Q3

As lights went green, Bottas, who bears the burden of a 3-place grid penalty, rushed onto the track on a set of Medium tires, followed by Giovinazzi. The Finn posted a 1:04:724 to go P1, but his race engineer immediately acknowledged that his lap time was unsafe.

That ended up being very much true, as Verstappen managed to go fastest with a 1:04:453. However, then came the string of lap times from the mid-field pack, who were all running on soft tires. Gasly pipped Verstappen to go P1, with Bottas improvising on his previous lap to secure P3.

Formula One F1 – Steiermark Grand Prix – Red Bull Ring, Spielberg, Styria, Austria – June 26, 2021 Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc during qualifying REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

With 4 minutes to go, Hamilton returned to the track for his second Q2 run, while the others remained in their respective garages. The Briton, however, could only manage a P5, but that didn’t matter in the end, as he eased into Q3. What’s more, Hamilton remained the only driver to post his fastest lap on medium tires.

But the biggest surprise took place outside the Top-10. Russell ended up being the star of the session, as the Williams driver slotted himself into P11 ahead of Sainz, Ricciardo, Vettel, and Giovinazzi.

Q1- Surprise Exit for the Alpine F1 driver, as Norris goes P3

2 minutes into the session, Nicholas Latifi and the Haas duo were one of the first set of drivers to join the track. The Williams driver lit up the timesheets with a 1:05:963 but fell back as other drivers started posting their times on the board.

Lando Norris posted an incredible lap to go P3, only behind Verstappen and Bottas. Hamilton, meanwhile, was 0.193s down on the Dutchman’s lap time, as he slotted into P4. Then arrived the blistering lap from Latifi, which boosted the Canadian up to P8.

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Formula One F1 – Steiermark Grand Prix – Red Bull Ring, Spielberg, Styria, Austria – June 26, 2021 Red Bull’s Max Verstappen during qualifying REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

This forced the entire grid to opt for another run on a fresh set of soft tires. Ultimately, Ricciardo just managed to escape the wrath of the elimination zone, as the Australian slotted himself into P15.

However, Ocon wasn’t as lucky, as the Alpine driver could manage only P17. Along with the Frenchman, Latifi, Raikkonen and the Haas duo failed to qualify for Q2.

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Overall, all eyes will be on the skies on Sunday, with rains expected to finally show up during the race. Hence, can the viewers look forward to some twists and turns through the main event? Well, only time will tell.

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Rohit Kumar

909 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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