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Verstappen Beats Norris to Austrian GP Sprint Pole

Verstappen Beats Norris to Austrian GP Sprint Poleillustration

Max Verstappen narrowly secured pole position for the Austrian Grand Prix sprint race, edging out Lando Norris by a mere 0.093 seconds.

Verstappen, the last of the front-runners to cross the line, expressed dissatisfaction with his tires due to a chaotic session end and a crowded track.

Oscar Piastri ensured a McLaren two-three finish, 0.301 seconds behind Verstappen. George Russell's and Carlos Sainz's Ferrari followed.

Charles Leclerc, Sainz's teammate, couldn't start his flying lap in time and will begin 10th. Lewis Hamilton, who went off track multiple times, ended up sixth, ahead of Red Bull's Sergio Perez.

Perez, under pressure after recent disappointing races, struggled with the scramble for track positioning as all 10 drivers went out together in the session's final minutes.

and Pierre Gasly of Alpine secured eighth and ninth positions.

The last two races have been a battle between Verstappen and Norris, and the sprint qualifying at the Red Bull Ring continued this trend. While Norris took pole in Spain last weekend, Verstappen was fastest in every session of the shortened qualifying for the sprint and looked set to take pole.

Norris struggled in the first two sessions, placing fourth and seventh, but delivered a strong lap when it counted. Russell and then Piastri set the pace before Norris made a significant improvement, only for Verstappen to reclaim the top spot with the final lap.

The crowd, predominantly Dutch supporters in orange, cheered Verstappen at Red Bull's home race.

Verstappen said, “It is great to be first here in front of basically my home my home grand prix, it has been a good day so far. It has been nice to drive the car. Immediately it was well balanced. Of course you make some small changes before spring qualifying and everything has been working really well.”

Norris commented, “I never got quite comfortable until my final lap so I am quite happy with that. Close. It must have been a nice lap by Max and (it's) a good position for the sprint tomorrow.”

Leclerc experienced an engine problem at the pit lane's end, with his car going into anti-stall before the engine stopped. Restarting the car took too long, preventing him from starting his lap before the session ended.

Hamilton ran off track twice in the first session, damaging his car's floor, which cost him about 0.2 seconds according to Mercedes' initial investigations. He finished 0.216 seconds off Russell's time.

Hamilton said, “I wasn't in the mix the whole session. It was pretty disastrous from my point of view. Car felt good, I don't think we had the pace to be on pole but very bad laps.”

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