Verstappen claims Austrian GP pole amid track limit chaos

Verstappen claims Austrian GP pole amid track limit chaos

Max Verstappen outperformed Charles Leclerc in the Austrian Grand Prix at Red Bull Ring to claim the pole position for the fourth time in a row.

Reigning double world champion Max Verstappen surged to claim pole position for the Formula 1’s Austrian Grand Prix as Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz piloting the updated Ferrari SF23 finished second and third.

Lando Norris was among the top drivers Along with Alex Albon as Sergio Pérez whose pressure is mounting was eliminated from qualifying in Q2 due to a track limits infringement.

Twenty drivers battled for the best lap time and track position on one of the shortest circuits on the Formula 1 calendar during the first qualifying session, which was highlighted by continuous running and energy at the Red Bull Ring.

Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas triggered the first red flag of the session after spinning out of turn one and turning his car around. With little over ten minutes left, the red flag intensified the pressure as several drivers, including Verstappen were already losing lap times because of track limits infractions. However, as is to be expected with the Dutchman it didn’t take him long to record another laptime and make it back to the top of the time sheets.

Pérez completed a late lap to move into second place and get out of harm’s way as George Russell also turned in a late lap to qualify for the second round.

AlphaTauri’s Nyck de Vries is under a lot of pressure after Helmut Marko’s comments as the Dutchman needed a strong qualifying to get back on track and try to earn his first points of the year.

The former Mercedes reserve driver unfortunately received an opposite result and will start last in Sunday’s race. Meanwhile, Yuki Tsunoda who is de Vries’ teammate was also eliminated during the qualifying round and will line up sixteenth on Sunday.

Logan Sargeant couldn’t manage to go past Q1 despite his teammate turning in a strong lap, and the American will start the race on Sunday in eighth place, making it difficult for him to score any points. Guanyu Zhou and Kevin Magnussen were also eliminated and they will start positions 19 and 17 respectively in the race on Sunday.

All of the drivers pushed themselves to the absolute limit in Q2 in an effort to qualify for the top ten shootout in Austria. In this session, the stringent track limits were brought back in, putting drivers under tremendous pressure to maintain their positions inside the white lines.

The session’s fastest time was once again set by Verstappen, who struggled early on with keeping his car on the track and had his first lap deleted due to track limits violations. Meanwhile Norris maintained his excellent form after performing well in the first session ending in third place just a few thousandths behind Carlos Sainz Jr. and less than a tenth behind Verstappen.

Pérez was under pressure after having a lap time taken away for going off at the exit of turn 10. His final lap saw him move up into the top ten, but despite a great lap, he once again found himself violating to track limits and with no time for another lap, the Mexican driver found himself all the way down in fifteenth and suffering a fourth consecutive Q2 exit.

Bottas almost beat out his teammate to qualify for Q2, but he was unable to find any more speed for Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake. As a result, he will line up 14th on the starting grid for Sunday’s race, right behind Oscar Piastri.

Esteban Ocon had been slated to qualify for Q3, but like Pérez he was eliminated after his laptime was dropped due to track limits, even though his previous lap was only good for 12th.

Mercedes had a lot of confidence going into the session, but Russell lacked the pace needed to advance past Q2. The British driver, who had already completed four laps on his soft compound tyres, will line up tenth for the race on Sunday due to a lack of pace on his lap.

For the second straight race, Alex Albon qualified for Q3 after once again impressing for Williams Racing.

With a superb lap near the end of the session, Verstappen was able to secure the pole for the fourth time in a row, just ahead of Leclerc who was pushing his Ferrari to the limit.

Albon didn’t meet the expectations that were placed on him after he drove his Williams into Q3. While a strong lap by the former Red Bull driver was canceled due to a track limits violation, it wouldn’t have made a difference because his lap time only qualified him for tenth.

A strong qualifying performance from Nico Hülkenberg allowed him to pass the drivers of the top four teams and move up to seventh place, slightly ahead of Pierre Gasly in ninth.

Lance Stroll outqualified Fernando Alonso, and the two drivers from the Aston Martin Armaco Cognizant F1 Team finished sixth and seventh respectively. Lewis Hamilton will start fifth on the grid for the race on Sunday as he waited too long to overtake the Aston Martins.

More than McLaren could have imagined before the race weekend, Norris’ upgraded McLaren was clearly performing well and the Briton was undoubtedly having fun around the Red Bull Ring. Norris managed to put in a time good enough to start fourth on Sunday.

Verstappen’s closest rivals in qualifying were Ferrari, and that pattern persisted in Q3. Leclerc really pushed himself on the last lap as he tried to claim the pole, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the powerful Verstappen, whose final lap was less than half a tenth faster than the Ferrari driver who will start second on the grid.

2023 AUSTRIAN GRAND PRIX QUALIFYING RESULTS

POS.DRIVERNAT.TEAMQ1Q2Q3
1Max VerstappenNEDOracle Red Bull Racing1m05.116s1m04.951s1m04.391s
2Charles LeclercMONScuderia Ferrari1m05.577s1m05.087s1m04.439s
3Carlos SainzESPScuderia Ferrari1m05.339s1m04.975s1m04.581s
4Lando NorrisGBRMcLaren F1 Team1m05.617s1m05.038s1m04.658s
5Lewis HamiltonGBRMercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team1m05.673s1m05.188s1m04.819s
6Lance StrollCANAston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula One Team1m05.710s1m05.121s1m04.893s
7Fernando AlonsoESPAston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula One Team1m05.655s1m05.181a1m04.911s
8Nico HulkenbergGERMoneyGram Haas F1 Team1m05.740s1m05.362s1m05.090s
9Pierre GaslyFRABWT Alpine F1 Team1m05.515s1m05.308s1m05.170s
10Alex AlbonTHAWilliams Racing1m05.673s1m05.387s1m05.823s
11George RussellGBRMercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team1m05.686s1m05.426s 
12Esteban OconFRABWT Alpine F1 Team1m05.729s1m05.453s 
13Oscar PiastriAUSMcLaren F1 Team1m05.683s1m05.605s 
14Valtteri BottasFINAlfa Romeo F1 Team Stake1m05.763s1m05.680s 
15Sergio PerezMEXOracle Bull Racing1m05.177s2m06.688s 
16Yuki TsunodaJPNScuderia AlphaTauri 1m05.784s  
17Zhou GuanyuCHNAlfa Romeo F1 Team Stake1m05.818s  
18Logan SargeantUSAWilliams Racing1m05.948s  
19Kevin MagnussenDENMoneyGram Haas F1 Team1m05.971s  
20Nyck de VriesNEDScuderia AlphaTauri1m05.974s

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