Verstappen lands 'home' Styrian GP pole as Hamilton points out pace gap

By Sports Desk June 26, 2021

Lewis Hamilton has cast doubt on prospects for a Mercedes victory at the Styrian Grand Prix but promised to "give it everything" to challenge Max Verstappen.

Pole position went to Verstappen on Saturday as the Red Bull team showed impressive pace at their home circuit in Spielberg, Austria.

Championship leader Verstappen, who heads Hamilton by 12 points after the opening seven races of the season, expressed satisfaction as a job well done.

Hamilton reacted to being only third quickest, behind team-mate Valtteri Bottas, by saying Mercedes simply do not have the speed that Red Bull are showing at present.

A three-place grid penalty for a pit-lane spin on Friday means Bottas will drop to fifth, with Hamilton bumped up a spot, spared having to start on the second row.

Hamilton said: "Well done to Max. I've been giving it absolutely everything. It just wasn't the greatest of sessions, but nonetheless I'm still on the front row.

"I did everything I could and we go into the race on Sunday for a fight.

"Generally they [Red Bull] had a quarter of a second on us all weekend. I don't think we have the raw pace to overtake them, that's for sure."

 

But Hamilton added: "We'll be giving it everything. Maybe Sunday we'll be surprised, maybe it rains, who knows."

Verstappen has won two of the last three races to power ahead at the top of the drivers' standings, giving him early season hope of a first world title.

"It's been a very good weekend," said Verstappen. "Again in qualifying the car was really good to drive. I'm super happy to be on pole here at home. It's nice to see a Red Bull car first here.

"The lap, when you look at the track you think there are not many corners, but the corners you have are quite difficult. It's a small track but it's hard to get a good lap out of it. The first lap in Q3 was not too bad. It's never perfect, but it was good enough."

Looking ahead to race day, Verstappen said: "It's never easy – I wish sometimes it was easy. I'm sure again it will be very tight. Hopefully again it will be as interesting as it was in France."

Verstappen won after an undercut as he delivered victory last weekend at the French Grand Prix. Hamilton took second place there, with Sergio Perez third and Bottas fourth.

Bottas said his grid penalty this weekend was "a shame", adding: "It's a new day on Sunday with a race ahead and anything is possible."

 

Lando Norris (McLaren) and Verstappen's Red Bull team-mate Perez will form the second row, with the relegated Bottas alongside Pierre Gasly on row three.

Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc struggled for pace with Ferrari in qualifying, and Sainz was bumped out of the top 10 close to the end of Q2, qualifying only 12th quickest.

Leclerc clambered to seventh on the grid, with Gasly's AlphaTauri team-mate Yuki Tsunoda eighth and Fernando Alonso ninth.

Sainz still qualified ahead of Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel – 13th and 14th respectively – with George Russell just a sliver away from making it through to Q3. Williams driver Russell was 11th, a mere 0.008 seconds behind Lance Stroll's Aston Martin.
 

PROVISIONAL CLASSIFICATION

1. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) 1:03.841
2. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) +0.194secs (has three-place grid penalty)
3. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) +0.226s
4. Lando Norris (McLaren) +0.279s
5. Sergio Perez (Red Bull) +0.327s
6. Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri) +0.395s
7. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) +0.631s
8. Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri) +0.673s
9. Fernando Alonso (Alpine) +0.733s
10. Lance Stroll (Aston Martin) +0.867s

Related items

  • Vettel and Stroll to remain with Aston Martin for 2022 F1 season Vettel and Stroll to remain with Aston Martin for 2022 F1 season

    Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll will remain with Aston Martin for the 2022 Formula One season, the team have announced.

    Four-time world champion Vettel joined Aston Martin after leaving Ferrari at the end of last year.

    The German has picked up 35 points in his first season with the team to sit 12th in the driver standings.

    Aston Martin team principal Otmar Szafnauer had rubbished reports that Vettel's future was in doubt following talks and it was confirmed on Thursday that the 34-year-old is going nowhere.

    Vettel said: "I am really looking forward to racing the new generation of Formula One cars.

    "Their look is very different and the new technical regulations should give us cars that can race much more closely than recently.

    "More exciting racing will be great for the drivers as well as for the fans. The changes are so big that every team will be starting from a new beginning, so it will be a great opportunity for us."

    He added: "I believe in the strength of our new growing team, so I am already looking forward to 2022."

    Stroll, who has secured 24 points this season, will also keep his seat as F1 moves into a new era of regulations next year.

    The Canadian said: "We have not achieved what we set out to do this year, but that has only amplified our hunger and drive for success next season."

  • Someone was watching over me today – Hamilton 'so grateful' after escaping Verstappen crash unscathed Someone was watching over me today – Hamilton 'so grateful' after escaping Verstappen crash unscathed

    Lewis Hamilton was "so grateful" to be alive after he came out of a crash with Max Verstappen unscathed.

    The Formula One championship rivals collided midway through Sunday's Italian Grand Prix at Monza, which was won by Daniel Ricciardo.

    Verstappen has been handed a three-place grid penalty for the Russian Grand Prix following the collision, with his Red Bull having become airborne after he went over the kerbs while trying to go down the inside of Hamilton at turn two.

    The Red Bull went over the top of Hamilton's Mercedes but, thankfully, the halo protection device, which sits above the driver's head, took the blow, protecting the world champion.

    Hamilton confirmed he would have to receive medical attention ahead of the next race but came away complaining only of soreness and a slight pain in his neck.

    "I feel very fortunate today," Hamilton told reporters. "Thank God for the halo which saved me, and saved my neck.

    "I am so grateful I am still here. I feel incredibly blessed that someone was watching over me today. I don't think I've ever been hit on the head by a car before - and it is quite a big shock for me.

    "We are taking risks and it's only when you experience something like that that you get the real shock of how you look at life and how fragile we all are.

    "If you look at the images of the crash, my head is really quite far forward in the cockpit."

    Hamilton also tweeted to his official account, writing: "It's days like today, I am reminded of how lucky I am.

    "It takes a millisecond to go from racing to a very scary situation. Today someone must have been looking down, watching over me! #TeamLH: I'm so thankful for each and everyone of you, you are truly the best. Still we rise!"

  • Verstappen gets three-place grid penalty for Russia after Hamilton collision Verstappen gets three-place grid penalty for Russia after Hamilton collision

    Max Verstappen has been handed a three-place grid penalty for the Russian Grand Prix following his collision with Lewis Hamilton at Monza on Sunday. 

    The Formula One title rivals crashed at turn two during the Italian Grand Prix, with the Red Bull becoming airborne after Verstappen went over the kerbs while trying to go down the inside. 

    The Dutchman's car landed on top of Hamilton's and they both ended up beached in the gravel, with Daniel Ricciardo going on to win the race as part of a famous McLaren one-two. 

    Verstappen protested that he was not left sufficient space by Hamilton, while Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff accused the Red Bull driver of committing a "tactical foul".

    Race stewards investigated the incident after the chequered flag and deemed that Verstappen – whose hopes of winning had seemingly evaporated with a botched pitstop – was guilty of causing the collision that ended both their races.

    A statement read: "The stewards heard from the driver of Car 33 (Max Verstappen), the driver of Car 44 (Lewis Hamilton) and team representatives, reviewed the video evidence and determined that the driver of Car 33 was predominantly to blame for the collision with Car 44 at turn two.

    "Car 44 was exiting the pits. Car 33 was on the main straight. At the 50m board before turn one, Car 44 was significantly ahead of Car 33. Car 33 braked late and started to move alongside Car 44, although at no point in the sequence does Car 33 get any further forward than just behind the front wheel of Car 44.

    "During the hearing the driver of Car 33 asserted that the cause of the incident was the driver of Car 44 opening the steering after turn one and 'squeezing' him to the apex of turn two. The driver of Car 44 asserted that the driver of Car 33 attempted to pass very late and should have given up the corner either by backing off sooner, or by turning left behind the kerb.

    "The Stewards observed on CCTV footage that the driver of Car 44 was driving an avoiding line, although his position caused Car 33 to go onto the kerb. But further, the Stewards observed that Car 33 was not at all alongside Car 44 until significantly into the entry into turn one. In the opinion of the Stewards, this manoeuvre was attempted too late for the driver of Car 33 to have 'the right to racing room'.

    "While Car 44 could have steered further from the kerb to avoid the incident, the Stewards determined that his position was reasonable and therefore find that the driver of Car 33 was predominantly to blame for the incident.

    "In coming to the penalty the Stewards emphasise that they have only considered the incident itself and not the consequences thereof.

    "Competitors are reminded that they have the right to appeal certain decisions of the Stewards, in accordance with Article 15 of the FIA International Sporting Code and Chapter 4 of the FIA Judicial and Disciplinary Rules, within the applicable time limits."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.