Red Bull’s Max Verstappen will start Saturday’s sprint qualifying race from pole position, after going quickest in Q3 in Friday qualifying.
Verstappen snatched his 16th career pole position, and third of the 2022 season, by setting the fastest time of qualifying for the Austrian Grand Prix.
While the weekend’s Grand Prix grid will be determined by the results of Saturday’s sprint qualifying race, Verstappen set the fastest single-lap of the weekend during the traditional qualifying session.
With Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz locking out the front row as the chequered flag flew, Verstappen put in an impressive final sector to snatch pole position away and prevent a Scuderia 1-2 for the start of Saturday’s sprint.
It was a disrupted session, due to two separate red flags due to the two Mercedes drivers crashing out in two separate incidents, and Verstappen said this had disrupted the rhythm of the Q3 part of qualifying.
“It was a bit tricky. I think the long wait is never amazing,” he told Sky F1 after qualifying.
“Then we went out, [and] my Turns 1 and 3 were not the best. So I knew that the rest of the lap needed to be pretty spot on here to be able to do something.
“I think especially the last sector was a lot better than what I’ve done before. More on the edge [with] the track limits and yeah, it was good. It was close, and I knew it was going to be close. But, of course, it’s always nice to just be ahead.
“It was a very long wait between the two runs and that’s never great. Once you’re in a rhythm, it’s nice to just keep on going. Also, the track temperatures dropping, the wind was changing a little bit but, at the end, it was a very tight qualifying and it’s a really challenging track as well to get everything right there.
“[There’s] not that many corners, but the corners you have are quite tricky and easy to make a mistake. I’m very happy with pole. But I also know that tomorrow and Sunday [are where] you can get the points.”
— Oracle Red Bull Racing (@redbullracing) July 8, 2022
With the reigning champion set to start the race just ahead of the two Ferraris, with both red cars within a tenth of a second, Verstappen said he was thrilled to have overcome the Red Bull’s weak point.
“It’s been like this whole year already. Sometimes [Ferrari are] ahead, sometimes we are ahead,” he said.
“I think our car is good in the race. Normally, our qualifying has been a bit of a weak point. I hope tomorrow it’s the same that we are competitive in the race again. Anything can happen, but I feel confident with the car we have.”
With Verstappen’s pole lap sending the partisan crowd into raptures, given that the Austrian GP serves as Red Bull‘s home race that a large Dutch contingent head along to, the reigning champion said he was thrilled to give the crowd what they wanted.
“It’s really been growing over the years,” he said.
“It really brings a smile to my face when I see them going crazy when I just drive onto the track and I just hope they can have a good time also off the track. And, in general, I hope that we can have a great weekend.”