Opinion

Max Verstappen Takes Second Pole At Austria, Lando Norris Starts Second

Illustration for article titled Max Verstappen Takes Second Pole At Austria, Lando Norris Starts Second

Photo: CHRISTIAN BRUNA/AFP (Getty Images)

Qualifying for the Austrian Grand Prix dawned with packed grandstands and a host of Max Verstappen fans filling the circuit in hopes of seeing their semi-local hero take pole position. And luckily for them, anything was possible, with Verstappen taking pole position yet again.

This weekend, Mercedes still looked to be the dominant team after several practice sessions saw its drivers topping the charts — though with Verstappen’s performance throughout the season, anything could be possible. As it turned out, Mercedes would be seriously lacking.

Knocked Out In Q1

16. Kimi Raikkonen (Alfa Romeo)
17. Esteban Ocon (Alpine)
18. Nicholas Latifi (Williams)
19. Mick Schumacher (Haas)
20. Nikita Mazepin (Haas)

Knocked Out In Q2

11. Carlos Sainz Jr. (Ferrari)
12. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari)
13. Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren)
14. Fernando Alonso (Alpine)
15. Antonio Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo)

The final qualifying session was quite a whirlwind. Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel had an on-track spat in Q2 that allowed Williams’ George Russell to slip into the final qualifying session and try his hand at a legitimate top-10 starting position. He took ninth place, out-qualifying Aston Martin driver Lance Stroll. This is Williams’ first Q3 appearance since the 2018 Italian Grand Prix.

After that, all eyes were on the top drivers of the weekend, mainly Verstappen, who appeared unbeatable. Both Mercedes drivers went out for one final run at the end of Q3, but it proved fruitless for them; Verstappen took the lead.

The biggest surprise, though, had to be McLaren’s Lando Norris. The papaya team has been doing pretty damn well this season after several years of struggling, and Norris’ performance epitomizes the success the team has been having. He’ll start the race in second place on the first row of the grid.

Top 10 Starting Grid

  1. Max Verstappen (Red Bull)
  2. Lando Norris (McLaren)
  3. Sergio Perez (Red Bull)
  4. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
  5. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes)
  6. Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri)
  7. Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri)
  8. Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin)
  9. George Russell (Williams)
  10. Lance Stroll (Aston Martin)

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