Max Verstappen storms to front of Styrian Grand Prix grid with another F1 pole

Max Verstappen secured his second pole position in a week after storming to the front for Sunday’s Styrian Grand Prix.

The championship leader finished 0.194 seconds ahead of Valtteri Bottas with rival Lewis Hamilton back in third.

However, Hamilton will be promoted to the front row with Bottas bumped back to fifth after he was penalised for his bizarre pit-lane spin on Friday.

Lando Norris continued his fine season by grabbing fourth for McLaren and will take advantage of Bottas’ penalty to move up one spot on the grid. Verstappen’s team-mate Sergio Perez finished fifth.

Verstappen’s Red Bull team arrived in the Styrian mountains as the in-form team having won the past three rounds.

And they are primed to win their fourth in succession after Verstappen claimed the sixth pole of his career to leave Hamilton in his shade.

The Mercedes driver is now on a run of four races without adding to the century of poles he scored at last month’s Spanish Grand Prix.

Hamilton, 36, failed to improve with his final run following a poor lap. The British driver came on the radio to apologise to his Mercedes team.

For Verstappen, who is a dozen points ahead of Hamilton, there were no such concerns as he cruised to the front spot.

“It has been a very good weekend,” said Verstappen, 23, who completed a practice double at the Red Bull Ring on Friday.

“Again in qualifying the car was good to drive. It is not easy to deal with the traffic to get a clean run but the first lap in Q3 was good enough in the end.

“I am super happy to be on pole at Red Bull’s home race. It will be very tight tomorrow. It is never easy and hopefully it will be as interesting as it was last weekend in France.”

Hamilton, 36, added: “Well done to Max. They have been so fast this weekend. It wasn’t the greatest of sessions but we are on the front row.

“I did everything I could and I go into tomorrow’s race up for the fight. Max has had a quarter of a second on us all weekend so it will be interesting to see if we can manage it. I don’t think we have the raw pace to overtake them.”

George Russell delivered yet another impressive qualifying display, missing out on Q3 by just eight thousandths of a second.

The 23-year-old British driver again outperformed his modest Williams machinery to finish 11th and continue to stake his claim for a seat alongside Hamilton at Mercedes next year.

Russell, now in his third season with Williams, qualified ahead of Carlos Sainz’s Ferrari, Daniel Ricciardo’s McLaren and four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel in his Aston Martin.

Ricciardo is struggling in his first season with McLaren. The Australian has scored only 34 points compared to Norris’ 76 and has been out-qualified by his junior team-mate in five of the last six rounds.