2022 Austrian Grand Prix - Friday
THE ROAD TO POLE
- Max Verstappen qualified on pole position at Red Bull’s home race – on Friday. That’s because this weekend is a sprint round, with a 24-lap race on Saturday to set the grid for the grand prix, although ‘pole position’ is awarded to today’s fastest qualifier. Pole was sealed on the final run in Q3, following two red flags after both Mercedes cars went off in separate incidents.
- Like all the other drivers, Verstappen took the P Zero Red soft tyre from start to finish of qualifying. After some overnight rain, which had the effect of ‘resetting’ the track, qualifying got underway at 5pm in sunny conditions, with temperatures of 25 degrees centigrade ambient and 36 degrees on track, as well as some gusting winds.
- The Pirelli Pole Position Award was presented by Mathias Lauda, the second son of Austrian hero Niki Lauda. Like his father, Mathias also became a racing driver, but focussed his career on GT racing, becoming a factory driver for Aston Martin where he has competed at all the great endurance races including Le Mans, Spa and the Nurburgring. Mathias now combines his racing career with work for one of Austria’s leading TV channels, Servus TV.
“It was another close session, with three drivers within only 0.082 seconds at the front of the grid – just think about that for a moment – which underlines how hyper-competitive the modern generation of Formula 1 cars and tyres are. Today we’ve seen only some light abrasion on the soft compound, which could make it an option for the sprint race tomorrow, where the cars won’t make a pit stop but don’t run on full fuel, reducing stress on tyres. With more rain forecast on Sunday morning before the race, the conditions that the drivers experienced in FP1 today could be quite representative of Sunday afternoon, so there was probably some useful information gained there as well.”
- The P Zero Purple supersoft was the tyre of choice for Formula 2 qualifying (nominated together with the P Zero Yellow medium this weekend). ART Grand Prix driver Frederik Vesti took his debut pole, by just 0.035s from Hitech’s Juri Vips. The other Hitech car of Marcus Armstrong will start tomorrow’s reverse grid sprint race from pole, having qualified in P10.
- Hitech’s Isaack Hadjar claimed his first Formula 3 pole, using the P Zero Red soft tyres: nominated for the first time all year this weekend. Finding a gap in the traffic was key, with tyre warm-up sometimes compromised by drivers not getting a clear run over the short lap.