Two-time defending champion, Max Verstappen, bagged his fourth consecutive pole position with an impressive 1m04.391s round at the Red Bull Ring, edging out Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc by a mere 0.048s.
However, the key highlight from Friday’s qualifying round for the grand prix, scheduled for Sunday, was the frequency with which drivers overstepped the track limits at the last two corners. This resulted in the deletion of a staggering 47 lap times during the qualifying round.
Sergio Perez, Verstappen’s teammate at Red Bull, missed the cut for Q3 for the fourth consecutive round, after breaching the track limits at Turn 9 and Turn 10 during the late stages of Q2. Verstappen himself didn’t escape unscathed in Q1, as he was demoted from the first position to 17th due to overstepping the final corner’s painted lines.
The surfeit of erased lap times led Verstappen to comment that the drivers appeared to be behaving like “amateurs”. He expressed his disappointment, stating, “The sheer number of lap times being deleted made us look very silly. It was almost like witnessing amateurs out there, which wasn’t a good look.”
To those who argue that drivers should stay within the white lines, Verstappen responded, “If it was that easy, you’re welcome to take my car for a spin.” In defense of his fellow drivers, he added, “We aren’t all idiots.”
The stringent track limit enforcement by the stewards, according to Verstappen, detracted from the enjoyment of racing, with the focus shifting towards merely “surviving” the Q3 round.
Verstappen, celebrated at Parc Ferme after securing the pole position, blamed the challenging conditions on the “big” and “heavy” vehicles. He confessed the session was tough, stating, “It’s incredibly difficult to judge the white line due to the high speeds and sharp corners. That’s why many drivers, including myself, were caught off-guard today.”
Verstappen further stated that the session was more about survival than racing, and while it dampened the spirit slightly, he felt content with their performance.
(Photo by Zak Mauger / F1 Flow Images)
There was a possibility of discussing these issues at a meeting with the FIA scheduled for Friday evening. However, the meeting has been abruptly cancelled, with no public explanation.
Verstappen concluded, “We were fortunate to get rid of the impractical yellow kerbs because they were damaging our cars. The problem could be solved by simply placing gravel next to the kerbs, but that’s not preferable for the bikes.”
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Austrian Grand Prix track limits
Who won the pole position at the Austrian Grand Prix?
Max Verstappen, the two-time defending champion, won the pole position at the Austrian Grand Prix.
How many lap times were deleted during the Austrian Grand Prix qualifying?
During the Austrian Grand Prix qualifying, a total of 47 lap times were deleted due to drivers exceeding the track limits.
Who did Max Verstappen lead in the qualifying round?
Max Verstappen led Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc by a mere 0.048s in the qualifying round of the Austrian Grand Prix.
What was Max Verstappen’s comment on the deleted lap times?
Max Verstappen expressed disappointment at the deleted lap times, stating it made the proceedings seem “very silly” and as if the drivers were “amateurs”.
What was Verstappen’s response to the enforcement of track limits?
Verstappen criticized the stringent enforcement of track limits, stating it took the joy out of the sport and forced drivers to focus on survival rather than racing.
Why was a meeting with the FIA scheduled and why was it cancelled?
A meeting with the FIA was scheduled to discuss issues like the track limits, but it was cancelled without any reason offered publicly.
What solution did Verstappen suggest for the track limit issue?
Verstappen suggested that the issue with the track limits could be easily solved by placing gravel next to the kerbs instead of using the impractical yellow kerbs.