By Robert Haile
At Red Bull’s other home race Max Verstappen has taken pole position for the Austrian Grand Prix sprint race.
With the giant bull standing over the Red Bull Ring Verstappen managed to hit back at a rejuvenated Ferrari after a disappointing British Grand Prix for the World Champion.
In the first qualifying session both Aston Martin drivers exited early with Sebastian Vettel in twentieth with a deleted lap time as Lance Stroll out qualified his teammate in seventeenth.
McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo frustrating season continued with AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly knocking him out by 0.024 seconds.
After Nicholas Latifi’s brilliance at Silverstone it was a first session exit in nineteenth for the Williams driver.
There is not a better sight in motorsports than a driver back on track after an accident and understandably Alfa Romeo’s Zhou Guanyu was off the pace finishing eighteenth.
There was a surprising exit in the second qualifying session as McLaren’s Lando Norris had three laps deleted to finish in fifteenth.
Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas didn’t make it either staying in the drop zone and provisionally in thirteenth behind Alex Albon’s Williams.
AlphaTauri were looking to upset the possible symmetry of the final session but Yuki Tsunoda ended in fourteenth and Gasly this time fell on the wrong side of a tight lap losing out by 0.009 seconds.
For the top ten shootout there were five teams running as the two Red Bulls and Ferraris were joined by both Mercedes, Alpine and Haas drivers.
The front took its usual look with Red Bull and Ferrari leading but Mercedes had show they could disrupt the order.
Having pulled out of his first lap Lewis Hamilton was on a flying lap when heading into turn seven oversteer threw him into the gravel, hitting the barrier and bringing out a red flag.
Hamilton would start tenth.
The day would get worse for Mercedes as George Russell spin and crashed at the final corner, Russell would start fifth.
Then two and a half minutes for drama as Carlos Sainz shot his Ferrari to the top to be replaced by his teammate Charles Leclerc.
Then cue the deafening roar from the orange clad fans as Verstappen sped to the front.
Sergio Perez took fourth, though a post race investigation had the Mexican dropped to thirteenth for leaving the track with no justification with lap times from his seventeenth lap removed.
Alpine’s Esteban Ocon finished sixth ahead of Haas’ Kevin Magnussen and Mick Schumacher with Fernando Alonso’s Alpine the other side of the Haas sandwich.
With drama already and a sprint race ahead of the main Grand Prix the electrifying excitement of Silverstone has certainly carried over to Austria.
Austrian Grand Prix Grid
- Max Verstappen (Red Bull)
- Charles Leclerc (Ferrari)
- Carlos Sainz (Ferrari)
- George Russell (Mercedes)
- Esteban Ocon (Alpine)
- Kevin Magnussen (Haas)
- Mick Schumacher (Haas)
- Fernando Alonso (Alpine)
- Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
- Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri)
- Alex Albon (Williams)
- Vallteri Bottas (Alfa Romeo)
- Sergio Perez (Red Bull)
- Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri)
- Lando Norris (McLaren)
- Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren)
- Lance Stroll (Aston Martin)
- Zhou Guanyu (Alfa Romeo)
- Nicholas Latifi (Williams)
- Sebastian Vettel (Aston Marin)