Max Verstappen claimed the provisional pole yet again at the Red Bull Ring in the presence of his Dutch fans on Friday. However, Mercedes came as a big surprise on a circuit that has been unlucky for them in the past. Lewis Hamilton was quick off the blocks as he set pole-winning times on several occasions during the qualifying. However, the seven-time world champ crashed at turn seven after making a rare mistake during a fast lap. The Briton was eighth in qualifying when he lost control of his W13 and ended up in the barriers, triggering a safety car with five and a half minutes left on the clock.
It wasn’t long after the restart when calamity hit the Silver Arrows twice. George Russell ended up in the barriers at turn ten as he tried to push his car harder to fight for the pole. Meanwhile, the reigning world champ set the fastest lap time of 1 minute 05.852 seconds. Now, Verstappen will start at the front of the grid with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc at P2. Moreover, the Silverstone winner, Carlos Sainz, will start at P3 alongside Sergio Perez at P4 during the 100 km sprint on Saturday.
Verstappen Takes The Pole After Second Restart
With eight cars left to battle for top grid position after the second restart, the two Ferraris quickly got back on top as Leclerc set the time for the fastest lap. However, Max was not ready to give away the pole in front of his Dutch fans. He set a better lap time than Leclerc to secure the pole position during the final few seconds of qualifying. After finishing the fastest in Q3, Verstappen shared that the long wait between the two runs is never great. He felt that it would have been nicer to keep going when a driver is in rhythm.
However, Max was happy with the pole position and looked forward to securing some more championship points on Saturday and Sunday. The Dutchman is the favorite to win the Austrian GP this year. He has won four races from the last six held at the circuit, including a double-race weekend in 2021. Max is currently leading the championship with six race wins and 34 points ahead of his teammate Checo in the drivers’ standings.
Elsewhere, George Russell’s set lap time before his crash secured him a P5 and Esteban Ocon will take P6. Further, Haas drivers Kevin Magnussen and Mick Schumacher will start at P7 and P8. In addition, Fernando Alonso took P9 while Lewis Hamilton will start at P10, following an unlucky crash. The FP2 will start at 6:30 a.m. EST while the Sprint race is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. EST on Saturday.