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Lando Norris denied maiden pole by flying Dutchman Max Verstappen

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Red Bull’s Racing’s Max Verstappen will start from pole in Sunday’s Austrian Grand Prix after edging out Lando Norris’ McLaren in qualifying on Saturday.

Max Verstappen pips Lando Norris

Verstappen’s third pole in a row puts the World Drivers Championship leader in a strong position to stretch his lead over Lewis Hamilton in Sunday’s ninth race of the Formula one season. The Dutch driver currently sports an 18-point lead after winning the last two Grand Prix, but he knows the job is far from done.

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“Hopefully we can finish it off tomorrow,” said the 23-year-old, who was cheered on by a sea of orange-clad fans at the first Grand Prix weekend to welcome back a capacity crowd since the start of the pandemic. 

Perez noses in front of Hamilton

The Dutch driver’s teammate Sergio Perez will start on the second row alongside Hamilton’s Mercedes at the Red Bull-owned Spielberg circuit.

Verstappen topped the time sheets in Q1 and Q2, and then nailed the prime seat in the grid with a flying lap of 1min 03.720sec in Q3.

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Norris was only denied his maiden career F1 pole by 0.048sec, the talented 21-year-old British driver’s performance the latest sign of his team’s resurgence. Norris will start P2 for the first time in his career, as he gave McLaren their first front row start since the 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix, when and Jenson Button took first and second for the team.

“I feel epic, this is cool! That was probably one of the best laps I have done, it puts us in a great position for tomorrow,” said Norris.

Fourth is Hamilton’s worst performance in Q3 at the Red Bull Ring since 2014, while it is the first time Mercedes missed out on a top three spot with either car in dry conditions since the 2017 Singapore Grand Prix.

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Birthday boy Sebastian Vettel – who turns 34 today – was the leading Aston Martin in eighth, however he could be in line for a grid penalty after baulking Fernando Alonso earlier in qualifying.

George Russell not only made it into Q3 for the first time in a Williams but he did so on the medium tyre, putting him in a strong position strategically for Sunday’s race.

His sole Q3 lap was impressive, too, putting him ninth on the grid.

Austrian Grand Prix Qualifying

1 33 Max Verstappen RED BULL RACING HONDA 1:04.249 1:03.927 1:03.720 15
2 4 Lando Norris MCLAREN MERCEDES 1:04.345 1:04.415 1:03.768 18
3 11 Sergio Perez RED BULL RACING HONDA 1:04.833 1:04.483 1:03.990 23
4 44 Lewis Hamilton MERCEDES 1:04.506 1:04.258 1:04.014 18
5 77 Valtteri Bottas MERCEDES 1:04.563 1:04.376 1:04.049 19
6 10 Pierre Gasly ALPHATAURI HONDA 1:04.841 1:04.412 1:04.107 21
7 22 Yuki Tsunoda ALPHATAURI HONDA 1:04.967 1:04.518 1:04.273 21
8 5 Sebastian Vettel ASTON MARTIN MERCEDES 1:04.846 1:04.493 1:04.570 20
9 63 George Russell WILLIAMS MERCEDES 1:04.907 1:04.553 1:04.591 15
10 18 Lance Stroll ASTON MARTIN MERCEDES 1:04.927 1:04.547 1:04.618 21
11 55 Carlos Sainz FERRARI 1:04.596 1:04.559 15
12 16 Charles Leclerc FERRARI 1:04.906 1:04.600 15
13 3 Daniel Ricciardo MCLAREN MERCEDES 1:04.977 1:04.719 15
14 14 Fernando Alonso ALPINE RENAULT 1:04.472 1:04.856 9
15 99 Antonio Giovinazzi ALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI 1:04.782 1:05.083 15
16 7 Kimi Räikkönen ALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI 1:05.009 9
17 31 Esteban Ocon ALPINE RENAULT 1:05.051 6
18 6 Nicholas Latifi WILLIAMS MERCEDES 1:05.195 6
19 47 Mick Schumacher HAAS FERRARI 1:05.427 9
20 9 Nikita Mazepin HAAS FERRARI 1:05.951 9

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