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Verstappen claims pole as both Mercedes drivers crash out


With only one practice session - and that compromised by two red flags - we head into qualifying much like the teams, with very little data to go on.

Verstappen was quickest, ahead of Leclerc, Russell, Perez and Hamilton, but other than the fact the neither McLaren driver set a representative time and the Alpines didn't try the softs, a number of other drivers appeared to be out of position.

As previously reported, having taken on extra engine components, Bottas will start Sunday's race from the back of the grid, however that doesn't affect where he starts the Sprint from.

Air temperature is 19.1 degrees C, while the track temperature is 37.9 degrees. It remains bright and sunny with 0% chance of rain.

In the moments before the start of Q1, McLaren reports that it has changed the engine in Norris' car, taking a unit from his pool.

The lights go green and Tsunoda gets things underway, the Japanese driver followed by Gasly, Leclerc, Norris and Stroll.

Lots of liberties were taken this morning in terms of track limits, but we expect that to change this afternoon.

Tsunoda sets the benchmark with a 7.578, but Leclerc immediately responds with a 6.762.

A 6.363 sees Sainz go top, a week after claiming his first F1 pole, however he and Stroll subsequently have their times deleted for running wide at Turn 10.

Perez goes second (6.806), ahead of Norris, Albon, Ricciardo and Tsunoda.

"I didn't go over, I promise" argues Sainz, "I was super good."

Stroll has another time deleted, as does Latifi, as Alonso goes quickest with a 6.716.

No sooner has Leclerc gone quickest and Magnussen second than Schumacher splits the pair with a 6.503.

A 6.397 sees Sainz go second, and this time it's legal.

Verstappen finally heads out, as do the Mercedes pair, as Perez goes quickest in S1.

Russell goes fifth (6.628), but is demoted when Perez and then Verstappen go quicker, the Dutchman posting 6.097. However, the world champion's time is deleted as Hamilton goes eleventh (7.066) after making a mistake at Turn 3.

Consequently, Perez (6.143) heads the timesheets ahead of Alonso and Leclerc.

No sooner has Russell gone fourth, than Hamilton goes quickest, stopping the clock at 6.079.

As Bottas goes tenth, teammate Zhou improves to eleventh.

Yet to post a legal time, Verstappen goes quickest in S1. Posting a PB in S2, he finally crosses the line at 5.852 to go top... much to the crowd's delight.

However, Sainz responds with a 5.660 and Leclerc with a 5.419. The crowd falls silent.

With 4:00 remaining, Norris, Latifi, Stroll, Albon and Vettel comprise the drop zone, with Zhou, Ricciardo and Tsunoda hovering.

A 6.330 sees Norris improve to 8th, as Vettel can only manage 17th (7.083).

Albon's 6.511 would have put him tenth, but again his time is deleted.

Stroll improves to 15th with a 6.892, but is it enough.

All bar the Ferraris and Verstappen are on track.

As the final laps are underway, there are plenty of PBs as Magnussen goes ninth, and Tsunoda 12th.

Ricciardo can only manage 16th as Alonso improves to fourth with a 6.016.

Vettel has yet another time deleted and therefore misses the cut, while teammate Stroll has also fallen at the first hurdle.

Quickest is Leclerc, ahead of Sainz, Verstappen, Alonso, Hamilton, Perez, Russell, Norris, Magnussen and Schumacher.

We lose Ricciardo, Stroll, Zhou, Latifi and Vettel.

Ocon is first out for Q2, the Frenchman followed by Tsunoda, Gasly, Norris and Leclerc.

As Ocon posts a 6.488, Norris runs wide in Turn 4 and aborts his first lap.

No sooner has Leclerc gone quickest (5.774) than Verstappen responds with a 5.568.

However, Russell posts a 5.771 to go second, only to be demoted when his teammate goes quickest with a 5.538.

Tsunoda has his time deleted, as Perez goes sixth with a 6.458.

A 6.476 sees Albon go seventh, but he is demoted when Ocon bangs in a 6.276 to claim 6th.

Hamilton consolidates his top spot with a 5.475 despite only being quickest in the opening sector.

As Norris runs wide in Turn 1, Sainz has his latest time deleted.

Magnussen goes seventh and Schumacher sixth, watched by a fairly nonchalant Guenther Steiner.

Gasly improves to 12th, while Perez has his time deleted and therefore drops to tenth.

A 6.082 sees Alonso go sixth, as Tsunoda fails to improve on 14th.

Complaining of understeer, Perez adds that the tyres are not switching on.

Though currently looking highly unlikely to proceed any further, Albon will be pleased with 12th just over a second off the pace.

Russell improves to fifth with a 5.771, as Leclerc takers the top spot with a 5.287.

Norris' latest time is deleted, this time for exceeding the limits at Turn 7.

"I'm scared to hit the brakes," reports Norris.

Hamilton goes quickest in S1, as Albon looks set to improve.

Hamilton aborts his lap, as Albon improves to tenth (6.230) and Norris goes wide again, this time at Turn 1.

Hamilton has his time deleted, as Gasly improves to tenth, thereby demoting Gasly.

Verstappen goes second (5.374) while Perez posts a 5.805 to go sixth.

Quickest is Leclerc, ahead of Verstappen, Hamilton, Sainz, Russell, Perez, Magnussen, Ocon, Alonso and Schumacher.

We lose Gasly, Albon, Bottas, Tsunoda and Norris, who failed to post a single representative lap time.

Check out our Friday gallery from Spielberg here.


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