Red Bull’s Max Verstappen took F1 Styrian GP pole beating the Mercedes duo of Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton.
The first part in F1 Styrian GP qualifying saw Red Bull’s Max Verstappen lead the way with a 1m04.489s lap as he led Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas by 0.048s, while McLaren’s Lando Norris was 0.095s behind the Dutchman – which was enough for them to make it through.
Red Bull’s Sergio Perez had to go around again to make it into Q2, as McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo just made it through in 15th. After setting a solid lap on his first run, Williams’ Nicholas Latifi (1m05.175s) couldn’t improve on his final attempt to be 16th.
It was disaster for Alpine’s Esteban Ocon (1m05.217s) too, who was only 17th, with Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen (1m05.429s) 18th after his brief gravel run on his first run. A small off for Haas’ Mick Schumacher (1m06.041s) meant he was 19th with Nikita Mazepin (1m06.192s) 20th. The Top 18 were covered within a second of the leader.
The second part of F1 Styrian GP qualifying saw some different strategies being played out, with Perez among the Top 2 teams on the soft tyres, while rest of the three were on the mediums. Verstappen was still quicker than his teammate by 0.043s.
Bottas was third initially with Hamilton only fifth after he flat-spotted his tyres at Turn 3. Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi was the only other to use the medium tyres for his first run. After the first run, AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly led the way from Verstappen by 0.004s.
Multiple laps from Bottas saw him in third, 0.014s behind Gasly, as he dropped Norris to fourth from Perez and Hamilton. The British driver used another medium set on his second run and could only improve to fourth, 0.083s behind Gasly.
At the end, it was Perez on top on the soft tyres with a 1m04.197s lap from McLaren’s Norris as Gasly was third. It was so tight in the field, with the Top 15 covered under 0.800s of the pace-setter, with Williams’ George Russell (1m04.671s) losing out in 11th.
He was only 0.008s behind Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll, whose fast lap was deleted. His teammate Sebastian Vettel’s lap was deleted was well, which dropped him from 12th to 14th, with Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz only 12th from McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo.
The Spaniard set a 1m04.800s lap to the Australian’s 1m04.808s and the German’s 1m04.875s. Having used the medium tyres for his first run, Giovinazzi switched to soft but was only 15th with a 1m04.913s lap.
The third part in F1 Styrian GP qualifying saw Hamilton set an early benchmark, but he was beaten by Verstappen with a 1m03.841s lap to take provisional pole. Despite a second attempt from the Brit, he was still 0.226s down on the Dutchman.
With Perez on a used set, he was fifth after his first run, which allowed Norris and Bottas to be third and fourth. Replays showed that AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda kind of blocked Bottas in Turn 4, which the stewards noted and put under investigation.
The second run saw Hamilton (1m04.067s) jump the queue, which eventually ruined his lap as he ended up third behind F1 Styrian GP pole-sitter Verstappen (1m03.841s) and Bottas (1m04.035s). Norris (1m04.120s) was fourth, beating Perez (1m04.168s).
Hamilton, Norris and Perez will start from second, third and fourth after the three-place grid drop for Bottas. Behind the Top 5, Gasly (1m04.236s) slotted in sixth from Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc (1m04.472s), Tsunoda (1m04.514s), Alpine’s Fernando Alonso (1m04.574s) and Stroll (1m04.708s) in the Top 10.
— Formula 1 (@F1) June 26, 2021
UPDATE: Following the F1 Styrian GP qualifying, the stewards deemed Tsunoda to be impeding Bottas at Turn 4 in Q3. They felt the team could have done better and handed him with a three-place grid drop and one point on his license.
This drops him to 11th, which promotes Alonso to eighth, Stroll to ninth and Russell to 10th – where the Brit will still retain his free starting tyre choice. “The Stewards heard from the driver of Car 22 (Yuki Tsunonda), the driver of car 77 (Valtteri Bottas) and team representatives and reviewed video evidence,” said the stewards.
“Car 22 had just completed a fast lap and had communication from the team that he was now on an in lap. The team did not warn car 22 of the approach of car 77 on a fast lap. Car 77 approached Car 22 at the entry to Turn 4. Car 22 was on the racing line and while he attempted to move off the racing line to the outside he did impede car 77 unnecessarily.
“It is the responsibility of every driver to be aware of faster cars when they are on a slow lap. The team should have assisted the driver in being aware of the approaching faster car but such lack of communication is not an excuse for the driver.”