Max Verstappen dominated the Sprint Shootout to lead team-mate Sergio Perez in a Red Bull one-two ahead of Lando Norris; Mercedes duo Lewis Hamilton and George Russell both made early exits; watch the Austrian GP Sprint live on Sky Sports F1 at 3.30pm on Saturday
14:17, UK, Saturday 01 July 2023
Max Verstappen completed the Austrian Grand Prix pole double of leading team-mate Sergio Perez in a Red Bull one-two in the Sprint Shootout.
Having led Friday’s qualifying session to take pole for Sunday’s race, Verstappen produced another top performance – this time in damp conditions – to secure pole for Saturday’s Sprint, live on Sky Sports at 3.30pm.
The Dutchman, who holds a 69-point lead over Perez at the top of the world championship as he seeks a third straight drivers’ title, finished almost half a second ahead of his team-mate to underline his all-round excellence of condition.
Perez put aside a disappointing Friday, where his failure to stay within track limits led to an unnecessary elimination in Q2, to edge McLaren’s Lando Norris into third, who impressively backed up up to the P4 he got last Friday.
Nico Hulkenberg continued his strong form with one lap to go ahead of Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz in fourth, with Aston Martin duo Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll close behind.
Charles Leclerc, who narrowly took shock pole from Verstappen on Friday, initially qualified in sixth, but was demoted three places to ninth after being found to have obstructed McLaren’s Oscar Piastri in SQ1.
Alpine’s Esteban Ocon and the other Haas of Kevin Magnussen rounded out the top 10, with big losers Mercedes, failing to pass either Lewis Hamilton or George Russell in Q3.
Hamilton qualified in 18th place after being guilty of the same mistake as Perez on Friday, erasing a lap he was comfortably up to in SQ2 due to exceeding the track’s limits at Turn 9.
The seven-time world champion had his last attempt at a flying lap ruined in its opening stages, as he overtook Verstappen, who was completing a flying lap.
Russell advanced to SQ2, but reported a hydraulic failure at the end of the opening part of the session that prevented him from returning to the track, leaving him to start in P15.
Results of the Austrian GP Sprint Shootout
1) Max Verstappen, Red Bull
2) Sergio Perez, Red Bull
3) Lando Norris, McLaren
4) Nico Hulkenberg, Haas
5) Carlos Sainz, Ferrari
6) Lance Stroll, Aston Martin
7) Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin
8) Esteban Ocon, Alpine
9) Charles Leclerc, Ferrari*
10) Kevin Magnussen, Haas
*Leclerc was demoted three places for the obstruction
Red Bull in position to maintain dominance
Red Bull arrive at their home Grand Prix this weekend looking to extend a streak of eight wins (and a Sprint victory) to start the 2023 season.
There is added motivation for the reigning constructors’ champions as they seek to honor the legacy of team founder Dietrich Mateschitz, who died in October last year.
Although they didn’t get the one-two that was likely with their pace on Friday, Perez overcame a scare in SQ1 – when he came in 14th – to ensure there will be two RB19s on the front row later on Saturday.
The thinking ahead of the Sprint Shootout – which featured three shortened sessions – was that the damp conditions might have given Verstappen’s challengers more hope, but in the end he took a bigger margin than on Friday .
Verstappen benefited from saving extra soft tires throughout the weekend, and was never a threat in the final eight-minute stint.
Sad session for Mercedes
With rain falling overnight and for most of the morning in the Styrian Hills, SQ1 started with the track drying and a clear line emerging.
The fact that the session was officially declared a ‘wet’ 15 minutes before it started meant that drivers were free to use any dry tire – including intermediates or wets – as opposed to just medium on SQ1 and SQ2 and soft on SQ3, as mandated by the 2023 Sprint rules.
Hamilton appeared to be one of the drivers who coped best with the conditions, but left himself exposed to the dangers of a rapidly improving circuit.
The Brit went out of shape at Turn 9 with a lap that was enough to put him at the top of the standings at the time, and he should have been comfortable going into SQ2.
Russell, who endured a disappointing Friday as a lack of pace saw him qualify 11th for Sunday’s race, appeared to have made overnight improvements as he showed promise as he progressed through SQ2.
However, on his return to the garage, he reported a hydraulic issue, which the team immediately addressed to ensure the car was ready for the Sprint.
It promises to be a huge challenge for Mercedes to score points in the 24-lap contest, with potentially changing weather conditions during the Sprint their only possible path to victory.
Austrian GP Sprint Shootout Timesheet
|1) Max Verstappen||red bull||1:04.440|
|2) Sergio Perez||red bull||+0.493|
|3) Lando Norris||McLaren||+0.570|
|4) Nico Hulkenberg||Haas||+0.644|
|5) Carlos Sainz||Ferrari||+0.696|
|6) Charles Leclerc||Ferrari||+0.805|
|7) Fernando Alonso||Aston Martin||+0.818|
|8) Lance Stroll||Aston Martin||+0.907|
|9) Esteban Ocon||Alpine||+0.926|
|10) Kevin Magnussen||Haas||+1.472|
|Out of Q2|
|11) Alex Albon||Williams||1:06.152|
|12) Pierre Gasly||Alpine||1:06.360|
|13) Yuki Tsunoda||AlphaTauri||1:06.369|
|14) Nyck de Vries||AlphaTauri||1:06.593|
|15) George Russell||Mercedes||There is no set time|
|Out of Q1|
|16) Zhou Guanyu||Alfa Romeo||1:07:062|
|17) Oscar Piastri||McLaren||1:07:106|
|18) Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||1:07:282|
|19) Valtteri Bottas||Alfa Romeo||1:07:291|
|20) Logan Sergeant||Williams||1:07:426|
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