Formula 1 – Max Verstappen on pole ahead of the Ferraris of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz, the sprint race scheduled for Saturday

Formula 1 – Max Verstappen on pole ahead of the Ferraris of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz, the sprint race scheduled for Saturday


Cheers punctuated a chaotic qualifying session on Friday at the Austrian Grand Prix in Spielberg. Not always for good reasons. The “Oranje army”, massed as has now become a habit in the stands of the Red Bull Ring, loudly hailed the 16th career pole position of its hero, Max Verstappen, after an intense suspense. But a few minutes earlier, she had manifested herself in a way that was not very fair play, rejoicing in the accidents of the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton and George Russell. The mark of the stigma left by the 2021 season against the seven-time world champion, but in no way justifiable.

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Fans of the Dutchman will always be able to say that it is a loan for a return, that the reigning world champion had been booed last week at Silverstone, the lair of the Mercedes driver. They were probably in the wrong opponent and in the wrong cause because it was at the end of a high-flying session, where the slightest error on this short circuit, that their idol finally beat the Ferraris of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz .

One last winning attempt

The track reopened for 2 minutes and 31 seconds, the Batavian had to defend his pole position, or rather go and seek it, with like each of his seven other rivals, a single lap time to his credit. Because the pilots had no intention of admitting defeat on Red Bull’s favorite track.

Despite his frustrations from the last five Grands Prix which he can no longer hide, Charles Leclerc lowered the reference time to 1’05″013, and his teammate Carlos Sainz rejected Max Verstappen from the front row in stride. a few seconds behind the Maranello machines, the driver of the RB18 n°1 managed to pull off a 1’05″984 worth a third consecutive pole position at the Red Bull Ring.

Austrian and Italian single-seaters in a class of their own, Sergio Pérez completed the Top 4 of the “sprint” race grid contested on Saturday, 0″420 from his leader.

Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen after the 2022 Austrian Grand Prix qualifying session

Credit: Getty Images

Ocon shines, the Haas ensure

Lucky in his misfortune and although absent at the restart, George Russell (Mercedes) was able to keep his fifth place, while Esteban Ocon (Alpine) was the other big money time winner. The Frenchman, beaten in the last four qualifying sessions by Fernando Alonso, signed his second best result on the lap after Jeddah (5th) with a sixth place which reflects the progress of the A522, further improved by the addition new parts.

Lando Norris 15th due to a breakdown in free practice 1, which prevented him from adjusting his McLaren, and Valtteri Bottas (Alfa Romeo) disappointing 13th despite a new engine, the outsiders seized the opportunity to shine . Ranked seventh with his Haas, Kevin Magnussen was even joined on the fourth row by Mick Schumacher, released by his first points scored at Silverstone, while Fernando Alonso (Alpine) settled for ninth and Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) tenth.

Disappointed but still satisfied given the difficulties displayed by his AlphaTauri in Austria despite an original Honda engine which appreciates the altitude, Pierre Gasly missed the mark in Q3 for 0″009 against Mick Schumacher (Haas). The Normand s is ranked 11th, and it is therefore the third time this season that he occupies the worst place.

Three rows ahead of his Japanese teammate Yuki Tsunoda who couldn’t help but throw a tantrum when he learned of his 15th time. Much less phlegmatic than Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren) and Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin), who came out of the game without flinching with the 16th and 20th times.

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