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Verstappen claims pole for Austrian GP Sprint as both Mercedes drivers crash out

Max Verstappen claimed pole position for the Austrian Grand Prix's Sprint Race on a day that saw both Lewis Hamilton and George Russell crash into the barriers

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Red Bull’s Max Verstappen will start from pole position for the second Sprint Race of the Formula 1 2022 season with Ferrari drivers Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz starting second and third, respectively.

The final part of qualifying was interrupted by two Red Flags as both Mercedes drivers crashed out of the session. Despite his accident, George Russell will start fifth, behind Verstappen’s teammate Sergio Perez who will be investigated for exceeding track limits in Q2.

Esteban Ocon will start sixth, with the Haas pair of Kevin Magnussen and Mick Schumacher starting seventh and eighth respectively. Fernando Alonso will start ninth with Lewis Hamilton in tenth.

Q3: Hamilton and Russell crash out

The final part of qualifying started with the stewards wanting to investigate Perez after the session for exceeding track limits during Q2.

As the drivers set their first lap times, it was Verstappen ahead of Leclerc who in turn was ahead of Sainz. Mercedes’ Hamilton aborted his first run with the seven-time world champion eventually crashing into the barriers and bringing out the Red Flags.

As the session resumed it was Hamilton’s teammate Russell who hit the wall bringing out the second Red Flag and leaving the Mercedes team with a long night ahead.

Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton after crashing during qualifying for the Austrian Grand Prix Sprint Race REUTERS/Florion Goga

As the session restarted the remaining eight drivers had one lap to determine their starting position for the Sprint.

Leclerc would go quickest before Verstappen pipped the Monegasque driver by .029 of a second claiming pole.

Q2: Norris fails to set a lap

The second part of qualifying would see Hamilton lead the timesheets as the drivers completed their first runs with Verstappen and Leclerc following the Mercedes man.

McLaren’s Lando Norris would have a moment during his first lap, running wide and aborting his first run with the McLaren driver facing an uphill battle to make it into Q3.

A rejuvenated Schumacher would move into sixth with the German having the upper hand over his teammate Magnussen as the session hit the halfway mark. Perez would be the next driver to have his lap time deleted with the Mexican 10th at the time.

Norris would then have his lap time deleted on his second run, with the McLaren driver at the bottom of the time sheets having failed to set a lap time.

McLaren’s Lando Norris in action during qualifying for the Austrian Grand Prix Sprint race REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

The British driver complained about his brakes stating that he was afraid to hit the brake pedal and he would eventually fail to set a lap time at racing speed.

In the end, it would be Pierre Gasly, Alex Albon, Valtteri Bottas, Yuki Tsunoda and Norris who would drop out of the session marking a horrible day for McLaren.

Q3: Ricciardo drops out again

The drivers made their way onto a bright and sunny circuit for the first part of qualifying with Sainz having his first lap time deleted for exceeding track limits, a theme that would dominate the session.

This meant his teammate Leclerc led the early stages of qualifying, with Sainz in second after successfully completing his second lap.

The Ferrari drivers would eventually cede their positions to the Red Bull’s Perez with Verstappen briefly topping the time sheets before having his lap time deleted.

As the lap times tumbled it was Hamilton who went to the top of the timesheets with Alpine’s Alonso the big surprise of the session in third.

In the end, it was Leclerc, Sainz, and Verstappen who locked out the top three positions and the focus shifted to the back of the grid to see who would make the final cut.

Williams’ Albon seemed to struggle the most with the Thai driver having a series of lap times deleted for exceeding track limits, the Williams driver would eventually get it together setting a time that was good enough to get him into Q2.

The Aston Martin pair of Lance Stroll and Sebastian Vettel continued to struggle in qualifying with Vettel, in particular, struggling to set a competitive time.

In the end, both drivers would drop out of the qualifying with the session’s big casualty being McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo who continued his woeful qualifying form at the Austrian venue.

The five drivers who dropped out of the session were Ricciardo, Stroll, Zhou Guanyu, Nicholas Latifi and Vettel who will start dead last for tomorrow’s Sprint after having his final lap time deleted for exceeding track limits.

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