Red Bull’s Max Verstappen pipped the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc to pole position at the Austrian Grand Prix with his final lap of qualifying.
Reigning World Champions Max Verstappen’s earlier fastest time had been beaten by Leclerc and his team-mate Carlos Sainz with their final laps, but Verstappen snatched pole back in Friday’s Austrian Grand Prix qualifying race.
BBC sport says Max Verstappen has already won six of 10 races so far this season and leads the drivers’ standings by 34 points.
The Dutchman was just 0.029 seconds quicker than Leclerc, with Sainz only 0.082secs off pole in a close session. Both Mercedes crashed, leaving George Russell fifth and Lewis Hamilton 10th.
Racing in his home country, Verstappen struggled in the final lap. He was not improving his time, and ahead of him on track Leclerc, and Sainz were both doing so, and both slipped ahead of him.
But Verstappen was still pushing, and although he was slower than Leclerc through the final sector, he was quick enough, along with his greater straight-line speed in the first sector, to grab the pole back.
“In the end, it was a really tight qualifying, and it’s a really challenging track to get qualifying right,” said Verstappen.
He added: “We have a great car. Hope it’s clean into Turn One, and I get a good getaway. I feel confident with the car we have.”
Red Bull’s Sergio Perez completed the front two rows but is under investigation for exceeding track limits.
Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton had been looking competitive and was in contention for a place, mixing it with the Red Bulls and Ferraris after setting the third-fastest time in the second part of qualifying.
But the seven-time champion made a most uncharacteristic mistake, losing control through Turn Seven on his first flying lap in the final part of qualifying.
Hamilton was just a little wide of the apex and lost the rear. He tried to catch it but slid across the gravel trap before smashing into the barrier.