Verstappen on pole for Styrian GP ahead of Hamilton


Red Bull’s Max Verstappen beat the Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton to take pole position at the Styrian Grand Prix.

Verstappen, the form man all weekend, was 0.194 seconds clear of Bottas, with Hamilton a further 0.032secs adrift.

McLaren’s Lando Norris was impressive in fourth ahead of Red Bull’s Sergio Perez and Alpha Tauri’s Pierre Gasly. Bottas will drop three places because of a penalty for spinning in the pit lane, promoting Norris to start third.

Hamilton heads into the race 12 points behind Verstappen in their drivers’ championship battle.

The seven-time champion was chasing Verstappen all through qualifying and unusually did three runs on ‘soft’ tyres in the final part of the session trying to close the gap to the Red Bull.

But he was unable to get close to Verstappen’s initial time of one minute 3.841 seconds on his first run, which the Dutchman did not match on his final run, although he set a second lap that would have been good enough for pole.

“It has been a very good weekend,” Verstappen said. “The car was very good to drive in qualifying. It was not easy to deal with the traffic – the fifth lap in Q3 was good enough in the end.”

Hamilton said: “They have been so fast this weekend. Been giving it absolutely everything. It wasn’t the greatest of sessions but still on the front row after the penalty. I did everything I could and we go into the race tomorrow for a fight.

“They’ve generally had a quarter of a second on us all weekend. We have managed to eke closer in qualifying but in the race run yesterday they were 0.25secs quicker. It will be interesting but I don’t think we will have the pace to overtake them, but hopefully we can keep up.” (BBC Sport)

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