Photo: Red Bull Racing

F1 Austrian GP Sprint Shootout: Verstappen takes pole ahead of teammate Pérez

Max Verstappen has taken pole position for the Austrian Sprint Race!

The Dutch driver will start first after setting the fastest time in SQ3 of the Sprint Shootout.

In only the second shoutout of the season with F1’s new format, the action proved to come thick and fast, even on a ‘green track’ after the damp came.

The Williams drivers were the first to hit the Red Bull Ring, the only cars along with Pierre Gasly on the intermediate tyre, as the racing line continued to dry up. The majority of the grid opted for soft tyres, aside from Max Verstappen and Kevin Magnussen, who were using the yellow striped medium tyre.

There was trouble from the off for Carlos Sainz, who pitted instantly after complaining of a brake-by-wire failure; the Spaniard leaving it late to set a time. And set a time he did, going fastest overall for the session.

The story of deleted lap times that started in yesterday’s Qualifying continued in SQ1, with Verstappen’s first time being deleted, followed by Zhou Guanyu’s. 

There was a big name eliminated in the first session of the shootout, with Lewis Hamilton having his time deleted, therefore qualifying in a disappointing 18th place.

The five to be knocked out in SQ1 were Sargent in 20th, behind Valtteri Bottas, Hamilton, Piastri, and Zhou. Charles Leclerc and Sérgio Perez were fortunate to get into SQ2, teetering on the edge of elimination.

As the cars rolled out for SQ2, everybody was now on the soft tyre with the track now completely dry. Hamilton’s teammate George Russell had hydraulic issues so didn’t take part in the session, meaning the Mercedes’ would start 18th and 15th.  Leclerc was struggling too and left it to the last lap to sneak into SQ3.

Those eliminated from SQ2 were Russell in 15th, behind De Vries,, Yuki Tsunoda, Pierre Gasly, and Alex Albon. Both Haas’ made it through in an impressive performance.

In SQ3, it started with a game of tyre strategy just like in SQ1. Verstappen was on new softs, with Sainz on mediums. It had been a solid three sessions so far for Lando Norris who sat in P2 after everybody’s first laps.

As most drivers went slower on their next runs, Verstappen set purple sectors everywhere to take pole.  Perez improved to take second place from Norris, who will start third.

Haas had a very impressive performance, with Nico Hülkenberg in fourth place and Magnussen in 10th. The Ferraris will start fifth and sixth, ahead of the Aston Martins in seventh and eighth. Ocon will start ninth.

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