Saturday, April 20, 2024

Verstappen Takes Pole Ahead of Pérez During Dramatic Sprint Shootout in Austria

Max Verstappen took pole position in the Sprint shootout, which sets the grid for the Sprint race later today. Sergio Pérez bounced back from his Q2 exit in qualifying on Friday to put himself on the front row alongside his teammate.

Lando Norris once again put in an impressive performance around the Red Bull Ring and managed to secure a second-row start for McLaren F1 Team. The biggest story of the session though was a nightmare for Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team with neither car starting in the top fourteen for the Sprint race.

Shootout 1 – Track Limits Sees Hamilton Eliminated

The first part of the Sprint Shootout saw constant running and excitement with the track drying up from rain earlier in the morning. As the track evolved, the drivers kept getting quicker and quicker, putting some big names at risk of a first-round exit.

Everyone expected Carlos Sainz Jr. to be eliminated after he had to pit with a brake issue, however excellent work from the Scuderia Ferrari saw him get one flying lap at the end of the session, and remarkably the Spaniard put his Ferrari top of the timesheets ahead of Verstappen.

The biggest story of the session was the exit of seven-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton, his best laptime was deleted due to track limits and his final run saw him caught up in traffic and impeded by Verstappen, meaning he will start on the second to last row of the grid for the Sprint race in eighteenth.

Logan Sargeant and Valtteri Bottas will be on the back row, with the former getting a laptime deleted as well for track limits. Hamilton was joined in the bottom five by Oscar Piastri and Gunayu Zhou, who will start seventeenth and sixteenth respectively.

Shootout 2 – Albon Narrowly Misses Out on Top Ten Shootout

The track was almost completely dry by the time the second part of the Sprint shootout came around, and despite the change in conditions, there wasn’t a change in fortune for Mercedes and in this session it was George Russell, who was eliminated. Russell wasn’t at fault though, a hydraulic issue on his W14, saw him unable to set a laptime, meaning he will start fifteenth for the Sprint race later today.

Nyck de Vries did a little better than he did on Friday but once again the Dutchman didn’t have enough pace to reach the next part of qualifying and will start fourteenth on the grid later today just behind his teammate Yuki Tsunoda.

Credit: Mark Thompson/Getty Images/Red Bull Content Pool

Pierre Gasly lacked some pace in comparison to his teammate and found himself knocked out in twelfth place. Alex Albon was the feel-good story once again in qualifying on Friday, but today found himself narrowly knocked out of the Sprint shootout by just over half a tenth by Nico Hülkenberg.

The biggest surprise of the session was that both Haas F1 Team drivers made it through to Shootout 3, with Kevin Magnussen ahead of his teammate.

Shootout 3 – Pérez Bounces Back

The final part of the Sprint shootout saw Verstappen claim pole position for the Sprint race later today, as the two-time World Champion went over five tenths ahead of Pérez, who managed to bounce back from his poor performance on Friday to secure a Red Bull front row lockout.

Norris completed the top three, as he continued to show pace around the Red Bull Ring, the McLaren F1 Team driver will be joined on the second row by Hülkenberg, who put in a remarkable lap. Ferrari lacked a little bit of pace compared to yesterday so Sainz and Leclerc will be hoping they can move up a few positions from fifth and sixth on the grid respectively.

Fernando Alonso managed to outqualify Lance Stroll and the Aston Martin Armaco Cognizant F1 Team duo will start just behind the Ferrari duo in seventh and eighth, while Esteban Ocon and Magnussen rounded out the top ten.

Here is how the grid will line up for the Sprint race later on today.

1 Max Verstappen RED BULL RACING HONDA RBPT 1:06.236 1:05.371 1:04.440 23
2 Sergio Perez RED BULL RACING HONDA RBPT 1:06.924 1:05.836 1:04.933 23
3 Lando Norris MCLAREN MERCEDES 1:06.723 1:05.699 1:05.010 23
4 Nico Hulkenberg HAAS FERRARI 1:06.548 1:06.091 1:05.084 23
5 Carlos Sainz FERRARI 1:06.187 1:05.434 1:05.136 18
6 Charles Leclerc FERRARI 1:07.061 1:05.673 1:05.245 23
7 Fernando Alonso ASTON MARTIN ARAMCO MERCEDES 1:06.611 1:05.759 1:05.258 24
8 Lance Stroll ASTON MARTIN ARAMCO MERCEDES 1:06.569 1:05.914 1:05.347 24
9 Esteban Ocon ALPINE RENAULT 1:06.840 1:05.604 1:05.366 24
10 Kevin Magnussen HAAS FERRARI 1:06.629 1:05.730 1:05.912 23
11 Alexander Albon WILLIAMS MERCEDES 1:06.892 1:06.152 18
12 Pierre Gasly ALPINE RENAULT 1:06.873 1:06.360 16
13 Yuki Tsunoda ALPHATAURI HONDA RBPT 1:06.896 1:06.369 18
14 Nyck De Vries ALPHATAURI HONDA RBPT 1:06.704 1:06.593 18
15 George Russell MERCEDES 1:06.653 10
16 Zhou Guanyu ALFA ROMEO FERRARI 1:07.062 9
17 Oscar Piastri MCLAREN MERCEDES 1:07.106 10
18 Lewis Hamilton MERCEDES 1:07.282 9
19 Valtteri Bottas ALFA ROMEO FERRARI 1:07.291 9
20 Logan Sargeant WILLIAMS MERCEDES 1:07.426 10