Formula 1 world championship leader Max Verstappen, of Red Bull, on Saturday (26) won first place at the Styria Grand Prix in his team’s home this Saturday, showing that he will once again be a challenger to Lewis. Hamilton in the title fight.
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Seven-times world champion Hamilton finished third at the Red Bull Ring in Austria but will join Verstappen in the front row of the grid as his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas, the second-fastest player, received a three-place penalty. Friday (25).
Verstappen leads Hamilton by 12 points on the leaderboard after seven rounds, with three wins per driver, and Sunday’s race will be another exciting battle between the competition’s most impressive drivers.
Pole, who was faster than Bottas on lap 0S194, was Verstappen’s second straight after driving the grid in France last weekend, and his third of the season. It was also Red Bull’s first at Spielberg.
“I’m sure tomorrow will be very tight and very difficult,” said the Dutch driver after setting the fastest time of 1 minute 3 seconds 841 minutes on his first lap in the last session. The second lap was slower but faster than any other rider.
“I hope it will be as fun as it is in France,” added Verstappen, who won at Le Castellet after overtaking Hamilton on the penultimate lap as part of a daring strategy from the stop.
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Hamilton stated he did everything he could, but his second session wasn’t the best and he made mistakes on the last lap.
“However, I’m still in the front row of the grid,” said the Briton. “I did everything I could, and tomorrow we will fight for victory,” he said.
“They usually had a quarter of a second all weekend. We were able to get a bit closer in qualifying, but in the race mod yesterday they were 0sec 25 behind us most of the time,” he added of the Red Bulls’ speed.
“It will be interesting to see if we make it or not. I don’t think we have a strong pace to get past them, that’s for sure, but maybe we can keep up. I announce maybe tomorrow we get surprised, maybe it rains.”
Norris is in third place
The shortest lap of the last session caused the riders to maintain their momentum, fighting for space. Hamilton decided to take matters into his own hands and pass several cars ahead of him, but without winning anything in return, as Verstappen’s time withstood the test.
McLaren’s Lando Norris will start third, while Red Bull’s Sergio Perez is fourth, after a penalty kick was imposed on Bottas for dangerous driving after running into the goal lane on Friday.
Alpha Torri’s Pierre Gasly will start sixth, while Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc is seventh, and Alpha Torri’s Yuki Tsunoda is eighth.
Tsunoda and Bottas were called in to investigate, with the Japanese rookie being investigated for allegedly blocking the Finn on the track.
Spaniard Fernando Alonso, two-time world champion, put the Alpine pole in ninth on the grid, with Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll, tenth.
UK’s George Russell, the lead candidate for Hamilton’s partnership with Mercedes next season if the team decides not to extend Bottas’ contract, has qualified in an impressive 11th place with Williams.
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