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Styrian Grand Prix: Verstappen stuns Hamilton in qualifying to land scorching pole

Styrian Grand Prix: Verstappen stuns Hamilton in qualifying to land scorching pole

F1 News

Styrian Grand Prix: Verstappen stuns Hamilton in qualifying to land scorching pole

Styrian Grand Prix: Verstappen stuns Hamilton in qualifying to land scorching pole

Max Verstappen delivered a sensational performance in qualifying for the Styrian Grand Prix to land another blow on reigning F1 champion Lewis Hamilton.

On the back of two wins in the last three races - only missing out on three in a row via a tyre blowout in Baku - current title leader Verstappen finished a comfortable two-tenths of a second clear in his Red Bull of his main rival in Mercedes' Hamilton.

The seven-time champion even had three cracks at claiming pole in Q3 at the Red Bull Ring as his team had managed to save enough soft tyres to afford him such an opportunity.

Hamilton was quickly out in the final 12-minute session and had the track to himself with his first flying lap, setting the benchmark with a time of 1:04.205.

Verstappen, however, became the first driver to set a sub-64-second lap as he posted a time of 1:03.841 to put Hamilton into the shade, and that was good enough for pole.

Although Hamilton improved on his second run to 1:04.067, that was as good as it got for the 36-year-old as he made an error on his final run to only finish third.

Team-mate Valtteri Bottas managed to squeeze in between Verstappen and Hamilton but the Finn faces a three-place grid drop following his pitlane spin during second practice and will start from fifth.

That means Hamilton will start on the front row alongside Verstappen, with McLaren's Lando Norris third and joined on the second row by Sergio Perez in his Red Bull.

Verstappen, Hamilton and Bottas all start the race on the medium-compound tyre compared to the soft runners around them.

AlphaTauri's Pierre Gasly starts sixth ahead of Charles Leclerc in his Ferrari, with the Frenchman's team-mate Yuki Tsunoda eighth.

The young Japanese driver, however, is under investigation for impeding Bottas in Q3 and is likely to face a grid drop of his own.

Alpine's Fernando Alonso delighted himself at the end of Q2 by getting into the top 10 and the two-time F1 champion starts ninth, with Aston Martin's Lance Stroll 10th.

George Russell may not like the tag 'Mr Saturday' but he was eight-thousandths of a second of his best Saturday performance with Williams as he lines up 11th and with the compensation of a free tyre choice.

Russell's drive is underlined by the fact he starts ahead of three surprise drivers who exited Q2 in Ferrari's Carlos Sainz, Daniel Ricciardo in his McLaren and Sebastian Vettel of Aston Martin, with Alfa Romeo's Antonio Giovinazzi 15th.

Nicholas Latifi lines up 16th followed by a shock Q3 casualty in Alpine's Esteban Ocon, with Alfa Romeo's Kimi Raikkonen 18th and Haas duo Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin on the back row.

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