Max Verstappen took another imperious pole position as he beat Valtteri Bottas by two tenths of a second during qualifying for the Styrian Grand Prix.
The Dutchman looked the class of the field throughout the session, with Lewis Hamilton struggling for consistency as he searched for an answer to the Red Bull man.
In the end Verstappen put in two laps good enough for pole.
Bottas did well to get ahead of Hamilton but will start fifth due to his three-place grid penalty, promoting his teammate to the front row of the grid.
Speaking after the session, Verstappen told Sky Sports F1: “It’s been a very good weekend. The car was really good.
“It’s not easy with the traffic to try and get a clean run in the last few corners but I think that first lap in Q3 was good enough.
“Super happy to be on pole at home, it’s always nice to see a Red Bull car on pole here. It’s never easy but it’s good for racing. I’m sure tomorrow will be very tough.”
Bottas was clearly pleased with his pace and the fact that he outqualified Hamilton, but understandably disappointed that his performance will not see him start from the front row.
“Shame about the penalty,” he said.
“It was a strong qualifying. I felt good in the car. It’s a new day tomorrow, a long race ahead and anything is possible”
“Well done to Max,” Hamilton added.
“They have ben so fast this weekend. I’ve been giving it absolutely everything, not the greatest of second [runs], but nonetheless it’s still on the front row after the penalty.
“We go into the race tomorrow for a fight.”
— Formula 1 (@F1) June 26, 2021
Lando Norris will be just behind the seven-time world champion in third, the same place he started the Austrian Grand Prix at this circuit last season, with Sergio Perez a disappointing fourth on the grid after only going fifth quickest.
Pierre Gasly was sixth for AlphaTauri as he continues to deliver in qualifying trim, just ahead of Charles Leclerc who impressed to get his Ferrari into P7.
Yuki Tsunoda did well to make Q3 and go eighth quickest, but faces an investigation after impeding Bottas.
Fernando Alonso could be a beneficiary if Tsunoda is penalised, but will provisionally start ninth, with Lance Stroll rounding out the top 10.
George Russell agonisingly missed out on a place in Q3, the young Williams driver just 0.008 seconds short of the top 10. Russell will start alongside Carlos Sainz, who did not give his best showing in P12 for Ferrari.
Eight. Thousandths. Game on tomorrow. 👊 pic.twitter.com/usucr2b8wT
— George Russell (@GeorgeRussell63) June 26, 2021
Daniel Ricciardo is another driver who will be disappointed in 13th. The Australian was second fastest in FP2 but his pace seems to have abandoned him today.
Sebastian Vettel will start 14th for Aston Martin after having his final flying lap deleted for exceeding track limits, with Antonio Giovinazzi half a tenth back in 15th.
Nicholas Latifi narrowly missed out on a spot in Q2, with the Canadian just 0.033 seconds adrift of making it through. The Williams driver will start Sunday’s race 16th.
Esteban Ocon had another disappointing qualifying session in the Alpine and starts 17th after finishing up more than two tenths slower than his teammate Alonso. Ocon had a strong opening the year but looks to have lost some of that early momentum.
Kimi Raikkonen was 18th quickest in the Alfa Romeo, more than half a second clear of Mick Schumacher in 19th. The German rookie beat Nikita Mazepin in qualifying trim for a seventh time this season as Haas locked out the back row.