Max Verstappen Claims Sprint Pole in F1 Austrian GP as Mercedes Suffers Setback

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The Red Bull Ring greeted the F1 drivers with rainy conditions for the Austrian GP sprint qualifying. Due to the wet track, the requirement for strict slick compound usage was suspended, allowing drivers to choose their preferred tires for the session. Except for the Williams team, who briefly used intermediates in Q1, all drivers opted for slicks throughout the session.

Max Verstappen capitalized on the new soft tires he had saved from Friday’s qualifying session. Building on his smooth progress, he set the pace on the first runs in Q3 with a time of 1m04.613s, ahead of Norris and Perez. Carlos Sainz secured fourth place at that stage but had to rely on new mediums as he lacked new softs.

In the final Q3 runs, some drivers switched compounds, with Charles Leclerc leading the charge. Leclerc had saved his single set of new softs and didn’t head out immediately in Q3. However, his efforts couldn’t match the leaders’ pace, and he even failed to beat his teammate’s time on the harder rubber.

Verstappen dominated once again, delivering the fastest time in all three sectors and securing pole position for the sprint race with a blistering time of 1m04.440s, 0.173s faster than his closest competitor.

Perez secured second place, while Norris slipped down to third. Nico Hulkenberg impressed by grabbing fourth place, despite running on the mediums at the end of the session. Sainz managed fifth after switching to new softs for his second Q3 attempt. Leclerc, using the same set of softs, achieved a personal best but only secured sixth place.

Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll also made gains by switching to mediums for their final Q3 runs. Esteban Ocon and Kevin Magnussen completed the top 10.

In Q2, which Verstappen led, Leclerc faced a late battle to advance while running on used softs. He held onto 11th place ahead of the final times, securing his progression. However, Alex Albon, Pierre Gasly, Yuki Tsunoda, and Nyck de Vries failed to make it to the top 10. Gasly and Tsunoda made their best efforts in the closing stages but fell short, unable to break into the top positions. Tsunoda’s earlier time, which was faster, got invalidated due to a track limits violation. Hulkenberg remained ahead of Tsunoda regardless.

George Russell faced elimination in Q1 due to a hydraulic failure that prevented him from taking part in the session. Mercedes mechanics worked on his car, but he couldn’t make it to the track. In Q1, the Ferrari drivers had contrasting fortunes. Sainz experienced brake-by-wire problems, leaving him with only the mechanical system working and causing the rear brakes to heat up and smoke. Despite this setback, Sainz emerged in the final moments to claim the top spot in the opening segment.

Leclerc encountered difficulties building tire temperature compared to others who stayed out. Although he managed to improve on his last effort, he was eventually shuffled down the order. He progressed by the narrowest of margins, just 0.001s ahead of Alfa Romeo’s Zhou Guanyu. Zhou spun early in Q1, making contact with the wet inside kerbs at Turn 9, and was ultimately eliminated. McLaren’s Oscar Piastri, who felt impeded by Leclerc at Turn 9, will face the stewards for review.

Lewis Hamilton faced disappointment in Q1 as he ran wide at the exit of Turn 10, losing a time that would have placed him among the leading positions. He also found himself in traffic and had a bizarre clash with Verstappen on the pit straight. Hamilton was unable to complete a final flying lap, ending up stranded in 18th place. Verstappen expressed his frustration towards Hamilton during the incident. Valtteri Bottas and Logan Sargeant also failed to progress in Q1.

Following Q2, Hulkenberg may face an investigation for an incident in which he appeared to run over his team’s front right tire, causing his car to bounce up and hit part of the pit gantry before landing back on the ground. The German driver continued out of the pits despite the incident.

Here is the final classification:

  1. Max Verstappen – Red Bull – 1’04.440
  2. Sergio Perez – Red Bull – 1’04.933 (+0.493)
  3. Lando Norris – McLaren – 1’05.010 (+0.570)
  4. Nico Hulkenberg – Haas – 1’05.084 (+0.644)
  5. Carlos Sainz – Ferrari – 1’05.136 (+0.696)
  6. Charles Leclerc – Ferrari – 1’05.245 (+0.805)
  7. Fernando Alonso – Aston Martin – 1’05.258 (+0.818)
  8. Lance Stroll – Aston Martin – 1’05.347 (+0.907)
  9. Esteban Ocon – Alpine – 1’05.366 (+0.926)
  10. Kevin Magnussen – Haas – 1’05.912 (+1.472)
  11. Alex Albon – Williams – 1’06.152 (+1.712)
  12. Pierre Gasly – Alpine – 1’06.360 (+1.920)
  13. Yuki Tsunoda – AlphaTauri – 1’06.369 (+1.929)
  14. Nyck de Vries – AlphaTauri – 1’06.593 (+2.153)
  15. George Russell – Mercedes
  16. Zhou Guanyu – Alfa Romeo – 1’07.062 (+2.622)
  17. Oscar Piastri – McLaren – 1’07.106 (+2.666)
  18. Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes – 1’07.282 (+2.842)
  19. Valtteri Bottas – Alfa Romeo – 1’07.291 (+2.851)
  20. Logan Sargeant – Williams – 1’07.426 (+2.986)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Austrian GP sprint qualifying

Q: Who claimed pole position in the F1 Austrian GP sprint qualifying?

A: Max Verstappen from Red Bull Racing secured pole position in the sprint qualifying session.

Q: Which team faced setbacks in the sprint qualifying?

A: The Mercedes team encountered setbacks during the F1 Austrian GP sprint qualifying.

Q: What were the weather conditions during the Red Bull Ring qualifying?

A: The qualifying session took place in rainy conditions at the Red Bull Ring.

Q: Which tires were allowed for the drivers in the wet qualifying session?

A: Due to the wet track, the strict slick compound requirements were suspended, allowing drivers to choose their preferred tires for the session.

Q: Did any driver switch tire compounds for the final qualifying runs?

A: Yes, several drivers switched compounds for the final qualifying runs in an attempt to improve their lap times.

Q: Who were the top three qualifiers for the sprint race?

A: The top three qualifiers for the sprint race were Max Verstappen in first, followed by Sergio Perez in second and Lando Norris in third.

Q: Who faced elimination in Q1?

A: Lewis Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas, and Logan Sargeant were among the drivers eliminated in Q1.

Q: Which driver faced a post-sprint qualifying investigation?

A: Nico Hulkenberg faced a post-sprint qualifying investigation for an incident involving a tire that had been removed from his car.

Q: How did Charles Leclerc fare in qualifying?

A: Charles Leclerc secured sixth place in qualifying, using the same set of soft tires for his second run.

Q: Who had a hydraulic failure and couldn’t participate in Q1?

A: George Russell from Mercedes suffered a hydraulic failure and was unable to take part in Q1.

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