The Red Bull Ring in Spielberg is once again the scene of a Formula 1 weekend, in this case, the Austrian Grand Prix. Saturday's qualifying session left some surprises and a bit of controversy at the end of Q2. However, who has obtained the pole position has been the same driver as last week, Max Verstappen. The Red Bull driver takes his third consecutive pole position and has shown that he knows how to dominate at this circuit. Tomorrow he is aiming for another victory in the fight for the championship.
Behind him, one of the first surprises of the day, Lando Norris. The British driver has slipped into the top zone and was only 4 hundredths of a second behind the Dutchman. This McLaren is proving to be competent and even more if driven by Norris. Sergio Perez has completed the podium and tomorrow will try to act as Verstappen's squire to hold off the Mercedes.
Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas finished fourth and fifth, and are still not entirely comfortable. If they find a good race pace and set a good strategy, maybe they can bother the Red Bulls, but it will not be easy. Behind them followed the AlphaTauri, with Pierre Gasly sixth and Yuki Tsunoda seventh. Sebastian Vettel set the eighth fastest time, but with a three-place penalty.
Vettel's eighth place will be taken by an incredible George Russell, who has been another of the surprises of the day. The Williams driver has slipped into Q3 for the first time this season and has been placed between the two Aston Martins. If the FB43B allows him to do so, he could score the first points of the championship tomorrow.
The disappointments of the day came from the two Ferrari drivers. Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc used medium tires in Q2 with the hope that it would be enough to pass to Q3, but they were not able to pass. The other disappointment of the day was Esteban Ocon. Alpine's French driver did not make it past Q1 and is still far from his best. Daniel Ricciardo also showed an inappropriate pace for his talent and his car. While his teammate passed to Q3 comfortably, the Australian failed to pass the cut.
Controversy in Q2
Unlike Ocon, Fernando Alonso was showing a very good pace, finishing third in Q1. However, the Spanish driver was left in Q2. As he was completing his fastest lap to move on to the next round, he encountered Sebastian Vettel before Turn 10 and was forced to slam on the brakes. The German driver was going very slow in that section, something that Race Direction had forbidden in order to avoid traffic jams and to avoid harming other drivers on a flying lap.
Alonso was very angry, as his chances of scoring points in the race were greatly affected by this incident. Vettel has been penalized with three places on the grid, although it was not his fault. In fact, Bottas, Perez, Russell, Hamilton, Ricciardo and Stroll slowed on that part of the track, breaking the rules and causing Vettel to brake as well. However, none of these drivers were penalized.