Verstappen snatches sprint race pole

Monaco winner Perez lands new deal

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen (5/4 – Austrian Grand Prix Fastest Lap) left it until the last moments of qualifying to clinch pole position for Saturday’s sprint race at the Austrian Grand Prix, although the two Ferraris of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz are snapping at his heels.

Leclerc (3/1 – Austrian Grand Prix Race Winner) was on course to start the sprint race at the head of the grid after clocking a time of 1:05.013, which was leading for nearly all of Q3, only for world championship leader Verstappen to post a time of 1:04.984.

The Dutchman was only 0.029seconds quicker than Leclerc, while the second Ferrari of Sainz (10/1 – Austrian Grand Prix Race Winner) was 0.082secs adrift of the pole sitter, and it promises to be a closely-fought battle between the trio on Saturday.

Red Bull’s Sergio Perez will start the sprint race in fourth, Mercedes star George Russell and Alpine’s Esteban Ocon are fifth and sixth respectively, while the Haas pair of Kevin Magnussen and Mick Schumacher are seventh and eighth.

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Fernando Alonso of Alpine is ninth, ahead of the second Silver Arrow of Lewis Hamilton, who lost grip heading into the high-speed Turn 7 and slammed into the barriers to crash out in Q3.

It promises to be a fantastic battle on Saturday and Verstappen, who is 4/7 to win Sunday’s Grand Prix and extend his lead in the Drivers’ Championship, has full belief in his car.

“I am quite happy with pole but also tomorrow and Sunday you can get the points,” he told Sky Sports F1. “I think we have a great car.

“Normal Qualifying is not our strongest point so I just hope to have a clean Turn One, a good getaway. From there anything can happen but I am confident in the car we have.”

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Author: Lucas Carlson