Formula 1 Racing

Verstappen pips Norris to sprint race pole

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL38

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen beat McLaren pair Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri to top sprint race qualifying at Formula 1’s 2024 Austrian Grand Prix – the Dutchman satisfied his car was “really nice to drive” in the contracted sprint format.

After the SQ3 drivers had waited for almost all the final qualifying segment to pass by before heading out on new soft tyres, the Mercedes pairs led the pack out of the pits.

Lewis Hamilton posted a 1m05.270s before he was immediately beaten by his team-mate George Russell and then Piastri came through to shuffle them down.

Norris produced the fastest time in the middle sector to nip ahead on a 1m04.779s, but Verstappen’s leading pace in the first and final thirds made the difference as he came through to top the session with a 1m04.686s – just 0.093s ahead of the McLaren driver.

“Great to be first here in front of basically my home fans, my home grand prix,” Verstappen said afterwards.

“It was a good day. It’s really been nice to drive the car. I think immediately the car was well balanced. And then you make some little adjustments going into the sprint quali and everything has been working really well.

“So, yeah, good start to the weekend. Still, of course, a lot of things to do, but I’m happy with today.”

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL38

Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images

Behind, Carlos Sainz slotted his Ferrari between the Mercedes drivers to take fifth, with Sergio Perez, Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly ending up seventh, eighth and ninth and appearing to pay the price for being at the back of the traffic queue on the SQ3 out-lap.

Charles Leclerc ended up 10th without setting an SQ3 lap in the other Ferrari after he had pulled over from between the Alpines in the pitlane with an apparent technical issue.

He rectified this and headed out, but did not cross the line in time to start a flying lap.

In SQ2, Kevin Magnussen produced the best first sector of this segment but lost time as his sole run continued and he wound up 11th – ahead of Aston Martin pair Lance Stroll and Fernando Alonso, plus Yuki Tsunoda and Logan Sargeant.

Stroll saved a massive moment at the final corner on his only attempt in SQ2, with those eliminated, plus the Alpine pair, having to complete an extra run on the mediums compared to the frontrunners getting out of SQ1.

In that, Hamilton had a nervy ride through after losing his first lap for going wide and dipping his right-side…

Click Here to Read the Full Original Article at – Formula 1 – Stories…