The first qualifying round brought us the standard madness on the track in Austria, given that the lap is just over a minute long. We saw big crowds and very small time gaps between drivers. After the first laps, Nicholas Latifi surprised and climbed to sixth place, and after him, everyone except the first four realized they had to get back on track.
Max Verstappen, Valtteri Bottas, Lando Norris, and Lewis Hamilton stayed in the garage and everyone else went hunting. In the end, Latifi pulled a short end, but also Esteban Ocon, who remained in 17th place with Alpine, ahead of Kimi Raikkonen, Mick Schumacher, and Nikita Mazepin.
Right at the start of the second round, the teams showed that they prefer medium tires for tomorrow’s start of the race, but the times on them were not bright. Bottas made 1: 04.7, while Verstappen was two-tenths faster.
Perez decided to prefer softer tires and made time half a tenth slower than Verstappen. Hamilton blocked his medium tires in the third turn and ruined the circuit and set of tires. In the second attempt, he came in third. The second attempt showed that the gaps are so small that they are all potentially in the danger zone.
In the end we were left without Russell, Sainz, Ricciardo, Vettel and Giovinazzi.
Max Verstappen fastest
Tomorrow's order was decided in an uncertain final. Without hiding, without saving tires, engines, or batteries, the fastest lap was made by Max Verstappen.
Lewis Hamilton was second after the first two laps but eventually succumbed to the pressure, made a few mistakes, and was left without the last lap. Valtteri Bottas was faster and placed second, but will have 3 extra places due to yesterday’s boxing twist.
Lando Norris remained in fourth place, while Sergio Perez managed to be only fifth. Max Verstappen made a slower time by 7 hundredths of a second in the second attempt, but he didn't need any improvement. Yuki Tsunoda is under investigation by the referees for obstructing Valtteri Bottas, and we will find out the decision in a few hours.
It seems that many drivers were in good shape today and we can expect a great race. Of course, the main focus will be on Hamilton and Verstappen, who are, as always, the main players on the Formula 1 tracks. It will be the same tomorrow. Who will win? Hamilton or Verstappen? Or someone else can surprise us?