Austria Qualifying: Verstappen Pole, Ferrari and McLaren impress

Fp1 Red Bull Ring

Max Verstappen claimed another Pole Position for Red Bull in Austria, narrowly edging Charles Leclerc in the newly upgraded SF-23, which shows early signs of promise after weeks of hard work at Ferrari.

Lando Norris was another headline from qualifying, finishing fourth in the B-spec MCL60. McLaren was only able to bring the updates on the British driver’s car this weekend, with the changes already appearing to deliver increases in performance.

The true test will come in the race, not just in Austria but at other circuits which have been less favourable to the Woking squad in the recent past.

Hamilton and the Aston Martin pairing were behind the 23-year-old, no doubt disappointed in the relatively underwhelming pace shown by the W14 and AMR23.

Although the fantastic lap from Norris was likely the biggest shock, the Aston and Mercedes will surely be more concerned by the speed shown by the Ferrari duo.

Leclerc and Sainz were busy this week in Fiorano, testing the new parts introduced to the SF-23 on a filming day. Another strong race will be needed to confirm the SF-23’s impressive performance at the Canadian GP, but the results from qualifying are certainly encouraging.

Nico Hulkenberg was once again a stand-out in the Haas, securing his fifth Q3 appearance of the season and putting himself in a position – provided the VF-23 can keep its tyres in the race – to bring home points.

Gasly and Albon round out the top 10, with the Williams driver once again showing the potential within the FW15 – building upon a season-high finish in Canada.

George Russell and Sergio Perez were the biggest losers from qualifying, with the Mexican driver missing out from Q3 after having a series of laps deleted for exceeding track limits.

Ocon and Piastri will be frustrated to miss out against their team-mates, though the Australian driver still has McLaren’s latest updates to look forward to.

Logan Sargeant once again missed out on Q3, whilst Kevin Magnussen’s qualifying record continues to worsen after reporting issues with his Haas in the first elimination session.

Nyck de Vries qualified in P20 as pressure continues to mount for the Dutchman to prove himself at AlphaTauri.

Author: Jaden Diaz-Ndisang