Red Bull’s Max Verstappen took a close F1 Austrian GP pole for Saturday’s sprint race from Ferrari pair of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz.


The first part in F1 Austrian GP qualifying at Red Bull Ring got interesting from the get go as lap deletions hampered multiple drivers including Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz, but both managed to get into Q2 by the end.

It was Ferrari on top with Charles Leclerc (1m05.419s) leading Sainz, while Verstappen was third. The fight to get into Q2 was on with McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo being knocked out by just the 0.024s margin after his 1m06.613s lap.

Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll (1m06.847s) was 17th from Sebastian Vettel but the German lost his final lap to end up last with a 1m07.083s lap behind Alfa Romeo’a Zhou Guanyu (1m06.901s) and Williams’ Nicholas Latifi (1m07.033s).


The second part in F1 Austrian GP qualifying had Mercedes show some pace with Lewis Hamilton setting a 1m05.475s lap to be fast initially by 0.030s from Red Bull’s Verstappen, as the other Mercedes car of George Russell slotted in third.

The Dutchman’s teammate Sergio Perez was in a spot of bother to initially find himself outside of the Top 10 due to track limits. The second run saw Leclerc take the top spot with a 1m05.287s lap to be faster than Verstappen and Hamilton.

The bottom zone saw AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly not make the cut in 11th with a 1m06.160s lap which was only 0.009 from 10th. Williams’ Alexander Albon (1m06.230s) who made it in Q2 was 12th from Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas (1m06.319s), who will start from back.

AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda (1m06.851s) was 14th but the Japanese driver was hugely disappointed with himself after making a mistake at Turn 1 on his final lap. McLaren’s Lando Norris (1m25.847s) was 15th after troubles with his brakes as he was back on the old ICE.


Just at the start of the final part in F1 Austrian GP qualifying, the FIA noted of an investigation for Perez for track limits at Turn 8 where replays showed him going outside the white line of the circuit which denotes the edge of the track.

It was Red Bull’s Verstappen leading the with a 1m05.092s lap provisionally as Ferrari’s Leclerc was only 0.091s behind with Sainz in third. Before the second run could get going, the session was red-flagged after a rare crash from Mercedes’ Hamilton.

He lost the rear into the left-hander and went onto the gravel and into the barrier at Turn 7 when he was running to set a lap time with Alpine’s Fernando Alonso and Haas’ Mick Schumacher still to set a lap time as well in the session.

The teams took it slow upon re-start with Alonso first to improve to seventh and actually set a lap time. But before anyone else could do anything, there was another red flag after Russell crashed at Turn 10 after losing control and going into the barrier.

Russell was then put under investigation for entering the track without permission as he made his way into the pitlane from the crash site. With about two and a half minutes remaining, Leclerc went fastest but Verstappen bettered to 1m04.984s lap.

The Dutchman took F1 Austrian GP pole by 0.029s to start the Saturday’s sprint race on pole from Leclerc (1m05.013s), with Sainz (1m05.066s) only 0.082s behind from Verstappen. It was a good finish for Perez (1m05.404s) to be in fourth but he is under investigation.

Russell (1m05.431s) retained fifth despite the crash as Alpine’s Esteban Ocon (1m05.726s) was sixth from the Haas pair of Kevin Magnussen (1m05.879s) and Mick Schumacher (1m06.011s) who pipped Alonso (1m06.103s), with Hamilton (1m13.151s) 10th.

UPDATE: The FIA stewards handed a warning to Russell for entering the track without permission after his Q3 incident. “The Stewards heard from the driver of Car 63 (George Russell) and team representatives and examined video evidence,” the note said.

“Russell had just crashed in turn 10 and caused a red flag. He then crossed the track on foot and entered the section of the pit lane that does not have a speed limit, without permission from any marshals. At the time he started crossing the track, some of the cars were still on track and could possibly have missed the pit entry, causing an unsafe situation. The stewards spoke to the driver and he was issued a warning.”

On Perez’s side, it was deemed that he did go outside the white line at Turn 8 at the end of Q2 – a lap which should have been deleted which wouldn’t have put him in Q3. Since the investigation was done post qualifying, the stewards has decided to not only delete his fastest Q2 lap, but all of his Q3 laps as well.

“The Stewards heard from the driver of Car 11 (Sergio Perez) and team representatives and examined video evidence,” the note started. “Perez left the track at Turn 8 on his last flying lap of Q2, just prior to the end of the session. As this was not identified until the  moment before Q3 started, the lap was not deleted prior to the start of Q3 and Perez started Q3.

“This is a consequence of having many situations to examine in each session. The video was clear and there is no doubt of the breach, which the team admitted. The team made the point that leaving the track at this point is not a clear advantage and brought data to support that point. However, the stewards considered that this was not a case of “gaining a lasting advantage”, but rather is “leaving the track without a justifiable reason”, which is another part of the same rule and which is the section that is being applied to qualifying sessions.

“This situation, where a driver moves through to a subsequent round of qualifying, and then is identified as having committed a track limits breach, does not happen regularly and certainly not recently. Thus the stewards have to examine this as a new situation The team made the point that they took both risk and expended resources to compete in Q3. The stewards accept this point. However, in assessing a penalty after a session, this is no different than any other situation.

“The usual penalty is deleting the lap time concerned, and the stewards order the same penalty here. However, as a consequence, the driver would not have proceeded into Q3 and therefore, in fairness to all the other competitors, the stewards order that all the lap times for Q3 for the driver also are deleted.”

It is likely that he should start 10th since all his laps has been deleted, but the FIA is yet to release a provisional qualifying result sheet. But since his fastest lap from Q2 was also deleted, it could be that he starts further behind on the road.