Verstappen secures pole position, Norris joins in on the front-row

03-07-2021 15:00 | Updated: 03-07-2021 15:13
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Verstappen secures pole position, Norris joins in on the front-row

Max Verstappen has qualified on pole position for the Austrian Grand Prix as he looks to build on his 18 point lead in the World Championship over rival Lewis Hamilton. The Dutchman achieves his third consecutive pole position for the first time in his career. Lando Norris was just 0.048 seconds away from setting pole position. The McLaren driver will start on the front row for the first time in his career. 

Sergio Perez completes the top three which pushes Mercedes down to P4 and P5 for the Austrian Grand Prix. 

Track and air temperatures were much higher than the running which took place in Friday's practice session and the forecast. At 51c, the track temperature was more or less equal to last weekend's qualifying session for the Styrian Grand Prix. Pirelli came equipped with tyres a step softer than last weekend. 

George Russell reached Q3 for the first time as a Williams driver. The Brit managed to beat the two Ferrari cars and will start the Austrian Grand Prix on the medium compound tyre. 

After the first run of Q3, Lando Norris pushed himself up to the front row, ahead of fellow countryman Hamilton and Bottas. The seven-time World Champion, who announced his new contract on Saturday morning, was almost three-tenths slower. The top two remained the same, with Perez jumping Hamilton and Bottas in the second run. 

Verstappen now has seven pole positions to his name, four of which have come during the 2021 Formula 1 season. He records back-to-back pole positions at the same circuit. It's Red Bull's 10th pole position in the turbo-hybrid era. 

Q1

The first time around, Verstappen posted a 1:04.249 which saw him comfortably into the next session. He was greeted by thousands of Dutch fans wearing orange in the grandstands. Hamilton was 0.257 seconds short in his opening run. Those two drivers ran the soft tyres, but the rest of the field used a mix of the Pirelli compounds. Aston Martin and AlphaTauri both used the medium compound tyre. 

In the hot weather, the track ramped up significantly. Both Lando Norris and Fernando Alonso jumped over the two Mercedes drivers and nearly toppled Verstappen's time at the top of the leaderboard. Nicholas Latifi, Esteban Ocon, Pierre Gasly and the two Haas drivers were under pressure to escape the drop zone. 

Despite his teammate Alonso sitting in the top three, Ocon failed to escape Q1. In contrast, Gasly moved up to P9 and was replaced by Kimi Raikkonen

Out - P16 - Raikkonen, P17 - Ocon, P18 - Latif, P19 - Schumacher, P20 - Mazepin 

Q2

Perez emerged from the pits first on the yellow medium tyre and had all the circuit to himself for the entirety of the stint. Earlier in the season, the Red Bull driver missed out on Q3 due to trying the mediums. The Mexican posted a 1:04.554. Verstappen and both Mercedes drivers also opted for the medium tyre, helping with their strategies in Sunday's race. 

Perez used a second set of medium tyres and improved to third place. Hamilton sat in P5 whilst Bottas sat in worrying P8 for Mercedes. Lando Norris again opened eyes by matching Perez's lap on the same tyre compound. Antonio Giovinazzi, Daniel Ricciardo, Alonso and both Ferrari drivers sat in the elimination zone. 

Alonso was on a push lap looking strong to reach Q3, but he joined the back of the pack at the final corner and therefore had to lift off. The two Ferrari cars couldn't escape from the drop zone and George Russell reached Q3 for the first time as a Williams driver. 

Out - P11 - Sainz, P12 - Leclerc, P13 - Ricciardo, P14 - Alonso, P15 - Giovinazzi

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