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Mercedes qualifying horror show as BOTH Hamilton and Russell crash out

Mercedes qualifying horror show as BOTH Hamilton and Russell crash out

Mercedes qualifying horror show as BOTH Hamilton and Russell crash out

Mercedes qualifying horror show as BOTH Hamilton and Russell crash out

Mercedes endured a dreadful Austrian Grand Prix qualifying as both Lewis Hamilton and George Russell crashed out of contention.

Reigning F1 champion Max Verstappen will start with his Red Bull at the front for the sprint after posting a lap of one minute 04.984secs to deny Ferrari's Charles Leclerc by just 0.029s.

Carlos Sainz made it a Ferrari two-three, with the Spanish driver 0.082s down on Verstappen.

But Mercedes duo Hamilton and Russell, who had looked as though they were in with a chance of battling Verstappen, both hit the barriers in the final 12 minutes.

Hamilton had been set to challenge for top spot on the sprint grid after a promising first two qualifying sessions but after a scrappy two laps to begin Q3, the Mercedes slid off at turn seven after a swap of opposite lock.

Hamilton smacked his W13 into a barrier, severely damaging the front-right of the car.

The seven-time champion dejectedly apologised over team radio, with 10th the best position Hamilton will start for Saturday's 100km event.

When the session resumed, it then grew worse for Mercedes when Russell lost the rear end of his car at turns nine and 10, leading to him hurtling backwards across a gravel trap and rear-ending a barrier.

Russell's woe was compounded as he was soon placed under investigation for entering the race track without permission as the Briton crossed the final corner to return to the pits on foot.

In the battle for the fastest time, Leclerc appeared to have taken the initiative, only for Verstappen - slower than his personal bests through sectors one and two - to snatch the top spot at the death.

Sergio Perez was fourth fastest but faces an investigation for leaving the track without due reason in Q2, whilst Esteban Ocon joins Russell on the third row.

Haas locked out the fourth row with Kevin Magnussen and Mick Schumacher both impressing, ahead of Fernando Alonso in the second Alpine.

Norris "scared to hit brakes" in McLaren

Lando Norris was forced into an engine change after grinding to a halt in practice but the McLaren driver was able to advance to Q2.

But a lock-up at turn four on his first effort was followed by a wide moment at turn one on his second, another lock-up and a time deletion on lap three and then another turn one issue on his final run.

Norris radioed his team to say he was "scared" to hit the brakes, a concern for the team heading into the weekend.

Pierre Gasly narrowly missed out on a space in the top 10 shootout, edging out the impressive Alex Albon for 11th.

Valtteri Bottas will take a back-of-the-grid penalty for an engine change for Sunday's grand prix but will start the Sprint 13th, ahead of Yuki Tsunoda and Norris.

Aston Martin qualifying woes continue as Ricciardo misery returns

Daniel Ricciardo had no representative running in free practice due to a DRS flap issue that kept him in the garage for a large part of the hour.

The Australian didn't perform any soft-tyre running ahead of qualifying which ultimately seemed to prove his undoing, the McLaren driver eliminated in Q1 in 16th, just 0.024s adrift of the time needed to advance.

Lance Stroll had his first two flying laps deleted and could only manage 17th, ahead of Zhou Guanyu, whose Alfa Romeo looked a handful with understeer throughout his final lap.

Nicholas Latifi was 19th fastest whilst Sebastian Vettel completed the third double Aston Martin Q1 elimination in a row.

The four-time champion said "that's painful" in the latest in a string of disappointed Q1 team radio messages.

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