F1: Verstappen Takes 40th Pole After Austrian Sprint Win

By Score More with Agencies

Spielberg, Austria – Red Bull’s triple world champion Max Verstappen followed up a sprint win with a commanding pole position for the Austrian Grand Prix, placing him firmly at the front of the grid alongside McLaren’s Lando Norris.

This pole marks the 40th in the career of the Dutch 26-year-old and his fifth at the Red Bull Ring, where he enjoys immense support from his “orange army” of fans. Verstappen’s dominance was clear as he outpaced his rivals significantly, with Norris trailing by 0.404 seconds at the circuit known for its short lap times.

George Russell secured the third-fastest time for Mercedes. McLaren’s Oscar Piastri, who finished second in the sprint, initially qualified fourth but was demoted to seventh after exceeding track limits. Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz will start fourth, with Mercedes’ seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc following in fifth and sixth, respectively.

Dominant Performance

Verstappen’s pole lap was an impressive 1 minute 04.426 seconds, which he then improved to 1:04.314 on his final attempt. His performance in the second phase of qualifying already saw him more than half a second ahead of the competition.

“We tried to adjust the car a little bit after the things that we learned this morning, I think it worked well,” said Verstappen, who had been pushed hard by the McLaren drivers during the sprint race.

McLaren’s Strong Showing

Norris, although under the weather throughout the weekend, expressed satisfaction with his performance. “I think it was as much as we could do today. Max was in a league of his own. Much quicker than what we had, so I’m happy,” the Briton stated.

Piastri, who had a brief moment in second place before Norris improved his time, was unhappy with the stewards’ decision to penalize him for track limits. “I didn’t go off the track, I stayed on the track,” he argued. “I was right to the limit of the track, I think that’s what everyone wants to see … there’s no reason this corner should be an issue for track limits, especially when you stay on the track like I did. Or not in the gravel.”

Other Notable Qualifiers

Red Bull’s Sergio Perez qualified eighth, trailing Verstappen by 0.888 seconds. Nico Hulkenberg of Haas and Esteban Ocon of Alpine completed the top ten.

Hamilton and Mercedes faced a stewards’ investigation for a potentially unsafe release in the pitlane, but no grid penalties were applied after reviewing the incident. “Car 44 was released from the garage in an unsafe manner dragging a jack and an exhaust extractor behind it,” stated the stewards’ report. “The stewards acknowledge that the team immediately informed the driver to stop to prevent any further damage and/or dangerous situation.”

Hulkenberg also faced investigations for two separate pitlane breaches.

Midfield and Beyond

Daniel Ricciardo, returning with Red Bull’s junior team, will start 11th, ahead of teammate Yuki Tsunoda in 14th. Alpine’s Pierre Gasly had his lap time deleted in the second phase, dropping him to 13th, while Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso could only manage 15th.

As the Austrian Grand Prix approaches, Verstappen’s pole position not only strengthens his bid for victory but also solidifies his and Red Bull’s dominance at their home circuit. The reigning champion looks to extend his impressive form and lead in the championship standings with yet another win.

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