ANOTHER POLE POSITION AT SPIELBERG FOR MAX VERSTAPPEN
Max Verstappen (Red Bull) secured pole position at the Austrian Grand Prix in 1.04.391 at the end of a very exciting qualifying session. This was the Dutchman’s 26th pole, his fifth at Spielberg. Starting alongside him on the grid on Sunday afternoon will be Charles Leclerc (Ferrari), second just 48 thousandths off pole, while in the other Ferrari Carlos Sainz (1.04.581), starts from third on the second row with Lando Norris (McLaren) alongside him in 1.04.658.
THE DAY ON TRACK
- The only free practice session of the weekend saw plenty of activity on track, given that these 60 minutes were the only opportunity for teams and drivers to evaluate various different set-ups and car configurations, as well as assessing tyre behaviour with different fuel loads. A total of 604 laps was completed, equivalent to 2,608.072 kilometres. AlphaTauri completed the most laps of all the teams (70), while the hardest working drivers were Oscar Piastri and Nyck de Vries who both did 36 laps.
- All three compounds brought to Spielberg by Pirelli were used in FP1, with 16 of the 20 drivers trying at least two different types of tyre. Of those who used just one, three drivers, Norris, Ocon and Alonso went for the Medium while Sargeant opted for the Soft.
- Three teams tried a set of Hard tyres with both its drivers: Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes. Red Bull was the only team not to run Softs on either of its cars.
- Qualifying to determine the starting grid for the Austrian Grand Prix was held in different weather conditions those seen in free practice. Cloud cover gradually built up and as a result it got cooler. Air temperature dropped from 32 °C to 27 °C, while more significantly, the track went from 52 °C to 36 °C.
- Q1 was very closely contested, with all 20 drivers within the same second. There was a brief red flag period in the first few minutes after Bottas spun, although he managed to get back to the pits under his own steam and make it through to Q2. All the drivers used Soft tyres, a mix of new ones and some used in FP1.
- The times were again very close in Q2, with tenth placed Albon only 436 thousandths of a second slower than Verstappen who was fastest. All drivers used at least two sets of new Soft tyres, having to do so not just because of how evenly matched everyone was, but also because of the many lap times that were deleted for exceeding track limits- a total of 47 come the end of Q3.
- In Q3, four drivers (Verstappen Leclerc, Sainz and Hamilton) used two sets of new Softs, while the others went for one new and one used. Of today’s top ten, only Verstappen and Leclerc will have one set of new Soft tyres to use if they make it to Q3 in tomorrow’s Sprint Shootout.
- The Pirelli Pole Position Award was presented to Max Verstappen by Mario Isola, Pirelli’s Director of Motorsport.
MARIO ISOLA - MOTORSPORT DIRECTOR
“The second Sprint Race weekend of the season got underway with a very busy day and all the drivers very evenly matched, if you consider that in Q1, the times of all 20 drivers were covered by less than nine tenths of a second. As far as the behaviour of the tyres is concerned, there were no particular surprises, with the pole time pretty close to what was predicted, while the gaps between the compounds matched our simulations: half a second between Hard and Medium, four tenths between Medium and Soft. The track turned out to be pretty well rubbered-in already thanks to the F2 and F3 series running on track prior to the only F1 free practice session, run in quite high temperatures. The sixty minutes saw a lot of action on track, with several interesting long runs on the Hard, a compound that performed well. Temperatures were very different in qualifying, significantly cooler, with the track going from 52 to 38 °C, so that track evolution was not linear. As for the weather, we have to take into consideration that there’s a good chance of rain, especially during the Sprint Shootout, although maybe not as significantly as had been previously expected.”
Founded in 1872, Pirelli is a company with deep Italian roots now recognised all over the world for its cutting-edge technology, capacity for innovation, and the quality of its products. Motorsport has always played an important part in Pirelli’s strategy, following the ‘race to road’ philosophy. The company has been engaged in motorsport for 116 years and today supplies tyres to more than 350 championships on both two and four wheels. Pirelli pays constant attention to the most efficient use of natural resources and energy, aiming to reach carbon neutrality by 2030.
Pirelli has been Global Tyre Partner of the FIA Formula 1 World Championship since 2011. The company also supplies championships including FIA Formula 2, FIA Formula 3, Formula Regional European Championship by Alpine, FIA World Rally Championship and GT World Challenge, alongside numerous national series.