Verstappen hits first while Alonso has fun

Red Bull will start ahead of Hamilton and Norris, although Bottas was second in the standings. The Asturian, ninth, and Sainz out in Q2.


The 15,000 fans scattered around the Red Bull Ring circuit would like to be in the stands of the third turn this Sunday. There Verstappen and Hamilton will meet in that endless duel with several episodes every weekend. But repetition does not tire when two athletes teach everything they have, when two motorsport mastodons put their resources on the table to win a title. In the classification of Styria, Max prevailed, who has the upper hand in one lap with the Red Bull. His car has won the last three races and he's been racing at home for two weeks. Unless Sir Lewis does something to prevent it, Verstappen can hit the World Cup in the Austrian diptych.

The Dutchman shone in every session, leading Bottas and Hamilton by two tenths in Q3. The difference is relevant in a short circuit, in which the lap barely passes a minute. It seems that the RB16B already performs at Mercedes level everywhere, although this time Bottas and Hamilton were right behind Verstappen while Checo was a bit further behind, fifth. The Finn has three penalty spots on the grid, so it will be the champion who will meet the leader in the first stop and on the ramps of turn three, where not long ago 'Mad Max' overtook Leclerc hard to win the 2019 Austrian GP. Norris will therefore start third with a McLaren that flies on these straights and does not buckle in the corners. Gasly, who at times aimed for pole, was sixth ahead of Leclerc and Tsunoda.

Alonso was amused. "Precious, no matter the position," he came to affirm on the radio in conversation with his engineers. That was also his return, not only finishing ahead of his teammate (who did, Ocon did not pass Q1) and preparing the 2022 campaign from within. The Asturian entered a difficult top-10 because strong cars and drivers who have recently been on the podium were left out. He was delusional at times, he reached the top-7, but he will start ninth, which can be a risk in the face of the train of enraged drivers behind him with the freedom to choose a tire at the start.

Because Carlos Sainz followed the decisive phase of the classification from the television monitors, in the television corralito, because his Ferrari this time did not pass the cut of the top-10. Doubts in the garage from Paul Ricard's problems forced them to experiment over the weekend and be conservative before taking downforce from the car. That has made SF21 less bright, somewhat more uncomfortable, and the Madrid native stopped finding good feelings after the third free practice session. It will be 12th. He once climbed 14 places at this same circuit, but then he was driving a McLaren. The moral advantage, which will choose tire. The real handicap, which has eleven cars in front.

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