Styrian Grand Prix qualifying LIVE: Lewis Hamilton & Max Verstappen go for pole in Austria
Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen will do battle in qualifying as the two championship challengers look to steal a march over the other at a crucial point in the 2021 season.
The Red Bull ring is the home circuit of Red Bull Racing, and the duo of Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez are both expected to go well.
But after FP3 on Saturday morning, it was Hamilton who topped the timesheets, with his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas third-fastest.
However, Verstappen, who found himself held up by traffic during a hot lap during that session has been consistently quick around the Austrian circuit, meaning this afternoon’s session should be as closely contested as ever.
The championship race is delicately poised, with Verstappen holding a 12-point lead over Hamilton heading into this weekend, with Perez third in the standings and Bottas languishing down in fifth.
Valtteri Bottas handed penalty for ‘dangerous driving’ in Austria
But, with Perez and Bottas effectively playing the role of defensive wingman for their respective team-mates, all focus will be on the two title protagonists during qualifying.
And the weekend started disastrously for Bottas as, amid rumours suggesting Mercedes may be ready to replace him with George Russell next season, the Finn span in the pit land on Friday.
The stewards slapped Bottas with a three-place grid penalty, meaning that unless he secures the fastest time during qualifying, he’ll find himself starting Sunday’s race from the third row, at best.
We’ll keep you up to date with the results, as they happen, during Saturday afternoon’s crucial qualifying sessions.
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