Second time for Norris on McLaren, then Perez’s other Red Bull. Sainz and Leclerc will start 11th and 12th
FROM THE ENROLLMENT TO SPIELBERG. Max Verstappen will start from pole position for the third consecutive time and the seventh in his career. The Dutch driver’s race doesn’t stop, Red Bull is getting faster and Mercedes can’t keep up with it. Qualifying for the Austrian Grand Prix offers emotions and spectacle, but not surprises. On the other hand, Formula 1 raced on this circuit only a week ago and in the meantime nothing has changed in the cars, apart from the tires which are softer.
Dragged by the local public and by the one who arrived on purpose from Holland, Verstappen had to sweat the result and was angry with his technicians: “Woe to you if you send me back to the track first”. This time the chaser on duty is not a Mercedes driver, but Lando Norris with McLaren, who has always been Ferrari’s main rival this year. The British driver finished his best lap 48 thousandths from pole.
Sergio Perez, 3rd classified, was behind the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas, which returned to normal after seven years of absolute domination. In the moment of difficulty, the German company has cemented itself around its totem and renewed his contract: Hamilton will remain until the end of 2023. The announcement was made before the last free practice session: if it will have an immediate effect on the results we will find out soon. For sure the second row on the RedBullRing is another cold shower. Lewis’ last pole (and also his last success) dates back to May, the Spanish GP: it is five races ago, an unbearable fast for those accustomed to records.
Ferraris were left behind by choice. The Cavallino strategists estimated that qualifying with medium tires (instead of the soft ones (faster but sensitive to heat and wear) was fundamental for the success of the race and they behaved accordingly: in Q2 to the two riders medium compound tires were fitted. “The fact of not passing to Q3 was put in the budget – confesses Charles Leclerc -, but not of finishing behind Russell.” For the statistics, it was from the 2015 Russian GP that a Williams he beat the two Ferraris in qualifying.
So it went: Sainz 11th and Leclerc 12th, very far from the unattainable Norris (also at the start with medium tires). Objective: a sixth and a seventh place, neither more nor less than last Sunday’s result.
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