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Verstappen Qualifies P1 at F1 Austrian GP, Leclerc and Sainz Are Right on His Tail
The Austrian Grand Prix has been part of the Formula 1 World Championship for over five decades now. In the early days, the Styrian venue was called Österreichring. The name changed to A1-Ring in the '90s. A further change occurred with the reopening in May of 2011, as it became the Red Bull Ring. But the first F1 event to be held on the newly redesigned track took place a few years later, in 2014.

Verstappen Qualifies P1 at F1 Austrian GP, Leclerc and Sainz Are Right on His Tail

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Looking at the previous eight F1 races held at this venue, Max Verstappen is the most successful driver here, with three victories. Of course, you can also add a fourth one if you include the 2021 Styrian GP that unfolded on the same track.

Lewis Hamilton won the Styrian GP in 2020, but his last Austrian GP victory goes back to 2016. Meanwhile, Nico Rosberg and Valtteri Bottas are tied with two wins each, albeit the Finnish driver still has a chance at catching up to Verstappen.

It's also worth noting that Valtteri Bottas still has the all-time track record, with a time of 1:02.939 minutes in the qualifying session. That was a properly fast lap, to say the least, and we encourage you to have a look at the POV recording that's available on Youtube.

This weekend, the World Championship is back in Austria for another important step in the 2022 calendar. This is the second time this year that we'll be seeing a Sprint Race, and it's scheduled to take place later on today, at 4:30 PM GMT+2.

Sprint races are a great opportunity for both fans and drivers. People watching from their homes or on track get to see more wheel-to-wheel action, while drivers can score more points to help them in the fight for the championship.

Speaking of which, Max Verstappen is currently dominating the 2022 season with a total of 181 points. His teammate, Sergio Perez, is down in second place with 147 points. Ferrari fans are ecstatic to see both Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz in the upper echelon of the leaderboard with 138 and 111 points, respectively.

George Russell and Lewis Hamilton are not out of the fight for the 2022 title either, as they're sitting in fifth and sixth overall. The question is: how will Round 11 affect the current championship standings?

Let's have a look at how things went down for the first three sessions of this race weekend. Not everyone is a fan of Max Verstappen, but you can't disregard his talent and ambition to win. He was the hardest working driver in the first practice session in Austria, putting in a total of 34 laps.

Given that information and his previous results at the Red Bull Rings, it comes as no shock that he was the fastest in that session, with a lap time of 1:06.302 minutes. The remaining Top 10 drivers were all within a second away from Verstappen, but it was Leclerc and Russell that came in second and third overall.

Ferrari dominated the first part of the qualifying session, with Charles Leclerc setting the pace at 1:05.419. Carlos Sainz was right behind him, while Verstappen had to settle for third overall.

If you want a prime example of how tough competition is at this level, the gap between the fastest man in Q1 and the slowest one was of just 1.231 seconds. But that's the difference between making it to Q2 and being knocked out early in the game.

The five drivers that were eliminated from the qualifying session first were, in order, Daniel Ricciardo, Lance Stroll, Zhou Guanyu, Nicholas Latifi, and Sebastian Vettel. Leclerc continued to show his A-game in Q2, as he once again topped the table with an impressive lap time of 1:05.287 minutes.

With Carlos Sainz in third, it was Max Verstappen that managed to close the gap and claim second, thus moving on to Q3. Sergio Perez strangely went off track and was thus given a serious penalty. All of his Q3 lap times were deleted, and so was his Q2 lap 17 one.

The slowest drivers in Q2 were Pierre Gasly, Alexander Albon, Valtteri Bottas, Yuki Tsunoda, and Lando Norris. We all know that Q3 is the most exciting part of any qualifying session, as the Top 10 drivers battle it out for Pole Position.

Max Verstappen is officially the first and only driver to dip below 1:05 minutes this weekend, even only by 0.016 seconds. This means he will be on the front row for this afternoon's sprint race, along with both Ferrari drivers.

Both Leclerc and Sainz were less than 0.1 seconds slower than the current championship leader, and that only adds to the excitement of today's battle. It wasn't a particularly good day for Team Mercedes-AMG Petronas, as both George Russell and Lewis Hamilton crashed their cars in Q3. Still, they managed to secure P4 and P9 at the end of it all.

Both Alpine Renault drivers put on a spectacular performance, too, with Esteban Ocon taking P5 and Fernando Alonso down in P8. Kevin Magnussen was sixth overall, and everyone was happy to see Mick Schumacher running strong once again with a P7 finish.

He secured his first F1 points at Silverstone just recently, and he's bound to go after his first podium sometime soon! Before the start of the sprint race, drivers had one more practice session to go through.

Carlos Sainz set the fastest lap at 1:08.610 minutes, while Charles Leclerc was just 0.05 seconds behind. Verstappen was third, with a gap of 0.168 seconds. The Sprint Race is up in just a few hours, don't miss it!

 
 
 
 
 

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