Austrian Grand Prix | Verstappen takes pole

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Red Bull’s World championship leader Max Verstappen will start on pole for the Austrian Grand Prix after edging out McLaren’s Lando Norris in qualifying on Saturday. The day also saw Lewis Hamilton extend his contract with Mercedes until 2023.

“Hopefully we can finish it off tomorrow,” said the 23-year-old, who was cheered on by a sea of Dutch fans at the first Grand Prix weekend to welcome back a capacity crowd since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Dutch driver’s teammate Sergio Perez will start on the second row alongside Hamilton’s Mercedes at the Red Bull-owned Spielberg circuit.

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Verstappen topped the time sheets in Q1 and Q2, and then nailed the prime seat in the grid with a flying lap of 1min 03.720sec in Q3.

Norris was only denied his maiden pole by 0.048sec, the talented 21-year-old British driver’s performance the latest sign of his team’s resurgence.

“I feel epic, this is cool! That was probably one of the best laps I have done, it puts us in a great position for tomorrow,” said Lando.

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The starting grid:

Row 1: Verstappen (Red Bull), Norris (McLaren); Row 2: Perez (Red Bull), Hamilton (Mercedes); Row 3: Bottas (Mercedes); Gasly (AlphaTauri); Row 4: Tsunoda (AlphaTauri), Vettel (Aston Martin); Row 5: Russell (Williams), Stroll (Aston Martin).

Row 6: Sainz (Ferrari), Leclerc (Ferrari); Row 7: Ricciardo (McLaren), Alonso (Alpine); Row 8: Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo), Raikkonen (Alfa Romeo).

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Row 9: Ocon (Alpine), Latifi (Williams); Row 10: Mick Schumacher (Haas), Mazepin (Haas).

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