Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Red Bull Ring, 2021

Verstappen flies to pole as Bottas penalty puts Hamilton second

2021 Styrian Grand Prix qualifying

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Max Verstappen will start the Austrian Grand Prix from pole position ahead of his championship rival Lewis Hamilton.

Valtteri Bottas qualified second, but will be relegated to fifth on the grid due to his penalty.


Verstappen led the times after the drivers’ first runs, less than five-hundredths of a second ahead of Bottas, who complained the Red Bull driver had cost him “two tenths” at turn four. Surprisingly, the McLaren of Lando Norris was also within a tenth of a second of Verstappen, and Hamilton a further tenth of a second behind.

That quartet declined to run again. But for those hoping to get through Q1 on a single set of tyres, Nicholas Latifi’s second run came as a disappointment, as the Williams driver vaulted up to ninth place. Having not had a sniff of a tow on that run, it was clear much of the time had come from his fresh set of tyres.

Latifi and the remaining 15 drivers therefore had one further run each. George Russell in the other Williams plus the Alfa Romeo and Haas drivers languished in the bottom five. Daniel Ricciardo was only safe by two-hundredths of a second, his first time having been almost a full second slower than his team mate’s.

The Haas drivers occupied the bottom two places, but Mick Schumacher made a mistake early in his lap and abandoned his run. Nonetheless team mate Nikita Mazepin was unable to capitalise and remained last. Along with Latifi, they were the only drivers to use three sets of softs.

Kimi Raikkonen also failed to improve sufficiently to bag a place in Q2, while Antonio Giovinazzi in the other Alfa Romeo lifted himself to 13th. That put him one place ahead of Ricciardo, who set the fastest first sector time of all as he snuck into Q2 by three-hundredths of a second.

Latifi slipped into the drop zone after encountering drivers pitting on his final run. Russell claimed his usual place in Q2. The surprise elimination was Esteban Ocon, the Alpine driver understeering wide at turn two on his final run.

Drivers eliminated in Q1

16Nicholas LatifiWilliams-Mercedes1’05.175
17Esteban OconAlpine-Renault1’05.217
18Kimi RaikkonenAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’05.429
19Mick SchumacherHaas-Ferrari1’06.041
20Nikita MazepinHaas-Ferrari1’06.192

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Bottas logged a 1’04.724 soon after the session began, but his race engineer Riccardo Musconi was quick to advise him that it “wasn’t safe” and he’d have to run again to ensure a place in Q3. Hamilton’s first effort was even less safe, as he locked up and ran wide at turn three, and ended up six-tenths off his team mate.

Like the Mercedes pair, Verstappen began the session on medium tyres, while Giovinazzi surprisingly did likewise. The Red Bull driver set the second-quickest time, beaten by Pierre Gasly who used a set of softs. Sergio Perez in the other Red Bull also preferred the softs, but his first effort left him a tenth of a second off his team mate.

The first runs left Charles Leclerc in the drop zone – two hundredths of a second behind his team mate – accompanied by Sebastian Vettel, Russell, Ricciardo and Giovinazzi. The Alfa Romeo driver gave up the unequal struggle and switched to softs for his final run.

Hamilton’s last effort on medium tyres left him only eight hundredths of a second behind Gasly but the field was so close that still left him fifth. He remained safe, however, despite Perez jumping to the top of the times with a 1’04.197.

Norris also improved again, ending up a tenth of a second behind Perez. Ricciardo’s troubles continued – he was over half a second behind his team mate, which left him 13th and out of the session. “I don’t have much of an answer for today but we’ll figure it out,” he told his team.

While Lance Stroll progressed, Vettel was eliminated, both Aston Martin drivers having their final efforts deleted for running wide. Carlos Sainz Jnr also fell foul of track limits and dropped out, in a reversal of fortunes for the Ferrari drivers, as Charles Leclerc moved ahead of him and gained a place in Q3.

It was to little surprise that Giovinazzi and Russell failed to get any further, though the Williams driver came stunningly close. His final effort was just eight thousandths of a second shy of making the cut, Fernando Alonso’s final effort ending Williams’ hopes of seeing Q3 for the first time since 2018.

Drivers eliminated in Q2

11George RussellWilliams-Mercedes1’04.671
12Carlos Sainz JnrFerrari1’04.800
13Sebastian VettelAston Martin-Mercedes1’04.875
14Antonio GiovinazziAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’04.913
15Daniel RicciardoMcLaren-Mercedes1’05.142

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Hamilton chose not to run with the pack, and joined the track immediately after the final round of qualifying began. He set a 1’04.205, eight-thousandths off the mark Perez had laid down in the previous round.

The rest of the field joined them soon afterwards, Gasly speaking for many when he urged his team to help him find a place where he would benefit from the slipstream of his rivals. Despite setting a time good enough for sixth-fastest, he felt he could do better with “just a little tow – I know we did our best, but I could see the lap time in the straight just dropping massively.”

Verstappen lowered the best time of the weekend to 1’03.841 with his run, while Hamilton came around on his second effort shortly afterwards to cement second place, two-tenths of a second behind his championship rival. Norris continued his strong run by taking up third ahead of Bottas.

As the final laps began, Hamilton barged his way through traffic at the end of his out-lap, passing his team mate to take up a place behind Leclerc. But his haste was in vain, as a scruffy final lap ended with him running wide in the last two corners.

Bottas, who lost time behind Tsunoda on his first run, improved to second with his last lap. But his three-place grid penalty will drop him to the third row of the grid, and restore Hamilton alongside his championship rival on the front row.

Norris and Perez will also move up, to the second row of the grid, while Bottas lines up alongside sixth-placed Gasly. Leclerc and Tsunoda, who is under investigation, are on row four ahead of Alonso and Stroll.

Top ten in Q3

1Max VerstappenRed Bull-Honda1’03.841
2Valtteri BottasMercedes1’04.035
3Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’04.067
4Lando NorrisMcLaren-Mercedes1’04.120
5Sergio PerezRed Bull-Honda1’04.168
6Pierre GaslyAlphaTauri-Honda1’04.236
7Charles LeclercFerrari1’04.472
8Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri-Honda1’04.514
9Fernando AlonsoAlpine-Renault1’04.574
10Lance StrollAston Martin-Mercedes1’04.708

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2021 Styrian Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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105 comments on “Verstappen flies to pole as Bottas penalty puts Hamilton second”

  1. Unusual strategy by hamilton in q3 to run alone immediately, I saw it on the radar and I was really surprised he was the only one on track, then did a 2nd lap pretty early too and ended up getting a 3rd lap with the pack in the last few mins, unfortunately they didn’t ask him why.

    1. AJ (@asleepatthewheel)
      26th June 2021, 15:22

      To me it looked like he was trying to nail each sector separately in each run to see if it something worked. Interestingly, Merc is lapping more than a second off of their 2020 times.

      1. Yes I use that when people argue the Red Bull car is a rocket this year. There is no denying they’re quick, but I guess Merc losing pace is just as important. Add a Perez to the mix who can do something with race pace instead of Gasly or Albon who were just busy fighting the midfield.

        I like that Hamilton went out 3 times. They’re furiously working to find time. Good to see him/them finally pushed hard

        1. I liked it too that he went out 3 times, seems to be trying everything to squeeze some lap time, in fact considering he improved significantly on his first run, I was expecting him to get really close to verstappen on the final run, but the lap started badly (didn’t improve his own s1 and before he started the lap verstappen had purple s1 and s2 and hamilton had s3, and was prob 2 tenths quicker on it), about 2,5 tenths behind verstappen, then at 2nd sector he was already 4,5 tenths behind and didn’t improve his own s2, so at that point, even without going wide the chance for pole was already gone.

    2. Nothing unusual, he had an extra set of softs so could afford an extra run.
      A very poor session for Hamilton, I don’t like saying this but he’s starting to look over the hill.
      Max is eating him up in every department and he’s starting to look jaded.

      1. I think that’s an overreaction when you assess the first races of the season. More the case that Hamilton has looked slightly off form in recent races, Monaco terrible, Baku good but he made a strange mistake, France so-so by his standards. It doesn’t seem anywhere near as bad as some other patches in his career. Maybe it looks worse because he’s being beaten by Verstappen. As for Austria, it isn’t a track where Hamilton’s driving flair really shines, much more a Bottas precision track, especially over one lap. I don’t think losing out to VB or the time difference to MV is surprising.

        1. Overreaction?
          Come on, it was rather generous.
          Wiping the floor with him would have been a more appropriate description.

          1. @liko41 2/10ths faster in a car probably 2/10ths faster? OK… I get you’re excited.

          2. @david-br
            Bottas outpaced Perez by 2 tenths, so you are probably right, except the other way around.
            Verstappen beat Hamilton by 2 tenths in a 2 tenths slower car!

          3. To be fair, while I don’t like over-defending people who are underperforming, in qualifying the hierarchy given an equal car seems to be hamilton-verstappen, bottas sometimes close as he’s generally a good qualifier and perez behind all of them, so I can’t say mercedes was faster just because bottas beat perez, perez is a bad qualifier and wasn’t even that far behind verstappen when it comes to lap time, think it’s hard to do better than that for him, and the fact neither hamilton nor bottas managed to get really close to verstappen makes me think red bull has, as it’s often been the case this year, a slight qualifying advantage; at the same time I believe mercedes has a race pace advantage on traditional tracks.

          4. @liko4 As @esploratore1 said, Perez is hardly a benchmark for qualifying. This has never been a favourite Hamilton track, Rosberg and Bottas have always been competitive against him. Same goes for Socchi, Monaco and some others. I agree Hamilton is in a ‘lull’ phase. But the RBR car is faster now over one lap. Verstappen is performing at an admirably high level. I just don’t see this particularly session as a sign of him fading or of Max being in phenomenally good form. I do think Hamilton has lost his edge since the season start. But he was pretty good at the end of the French GP, knocking out fast laps with the tyres practically shot. What’s missing relative to Max is the consistency. And he’ll lose the championship without it.

          5. Sorry, copy-pasted badly, @liko41

          6. @david-br
            You are overusing the excuses-book dude.
            Not his favorite track, not a good benchmark, not consistent…
            Facts couldn’t be clearer: Verstappen is driving a sloghtly underperforming machine but is wiping the floor with Hamilton.

          7. Davethechicken
            26th June 2021, 17:23

            It would be a different story if Hamilton was in the Red Bull. Max is winning because he is in the best car. Fastest in the corners, fastest down the straights.
            His team mate is a low water bench mark, chosen by RBR for that very reason. Let’s face it, Perez was out of F1 without RBR giving him a car

          8. I want whatever you’re smoking mate

          9. I disagree with comments that RBR is faster than Merc, on average in quali Merc is still slightly better,
            Also disagree with comment “hierarchy given an equal car seems to be hamilton-verstappen, bottas ”
            Firstly you have no way of determining if they have an equal car, secondly stats indicate the Merc to be the better car, thus hierarchy is more likely Verstappen, Hamilton, bottas, I know they have 4 poles each so evens.
            Merc is still faster, but the RBR is now close enough to compete and Verstappen is competing.

        2. He’s had a big edge over Bottas all weekend and has dropped back in Q3 to put in a poor performance.

          That is not good enough I’m afraid from the so called GOAT, he’s been very poor for half of the season now.

          People laud him for his drive in France but again it was a poor performance if you ask me.
          He had no pace when told it was Hammer Time and didn’t look faster than Bottas who is very poor on a Sunday.

    3. Das and their floor will do that.

  2. Verstappen’s pole lap was so smooth, didn’t need to wring the neck of it, totally in control. Mercedes must be very worried.

    1. Merc lost pole here.

      All pundits think that Perez is the better driver vs Bottas. Bottas would never be qualifying within 2 tenths if he was in a RB, but he did in Merc.
      Lewis should have put his car on pole, but made mistakes.

      1. Agree on that. Lewis lost it, or better: Verstappen beat him soundly once again on pure speed.
        That must hurt lewis’ ego.

        1. @liko41
          only ego that is hurt so far must be yours.

          mercedes/lewis if anything only annoyed due to all the aero change requests/whining came from redbull because, they run s…tless last season after honda announcement. freezing engines was to stop mercedes from improving engines/increasing gap, specific aero changes, quite sure known by redbull (thanx to adrian), to slow down mercedes.

          Mercedes come up with something to cool wheels, redbul gets vocal to get it banned.
          Mercedes come up with something heat up tyres better, redbul gets vocal to get it banned.
          Redbul come up with a cheat, a free drs system called flexible wings *as they have done these cheats before, no surprise there, everyone request clarification… redbul says what flex? no surprises…

          If a rival, tries to freeze your engines, and actively request specific aero changes to slow you down, you would be annoyed too i m sure, but hey, whatever you are smoking must be giving you extra wings, because the hate and ego against mercedes/lewis is very high with you.

          1. @mysticus
            So, everyone but Mercedes is cheating :D
            You must be the funny guy at parties!

      2. I disagree. Maybe Perez is a better race driver, but Bottas has often shown excellent pace in qualifying, especially around here. I doubt Hamilton would have been able to beat Max here, that’s why he ended up overdriving his Merc.

      3. Perez is rated higher on racepace, but he has rarely beaten a team mate in qualifying.
        In the same car, Bottas would be favoured to win the qualifying battle.

        This is just my opinion of course. I will not make ridiculous claims about any perceived Truth.

        1. I agree as well on the bottas > perez in qualifying and the other way around in the race.

        2. You should review Perez record he has indeed beaten many teammates in qualifying including Jenson who sometimes beat LH.

          The fact that Perez is so close to Max here even though this is only the 8th race with a new team and completely different car is stuff of Legends.

          RedBull should follow what Merc is doing with Bottas and give Perez the better equipment to bring him closer to the front. Bottas has improved massively with the new chassis.

          1. With beating a team mate in qualifying, I meant: beating across a season.
            Perez lost 10-9 against Button.
            He also lost 32-25 against Hulkenberg.
            He lost 18-23 against Ocon.
            He did win against Kobayashi and Stroll.

            Perez indeed had beaten all his team mates in single sessions. He is obviously not slow, but he is by no means the benchmark when it comes down to one lap pace.

            So, I repeat my statement. I expect Bottas to outqualify Perez in the same car.

  3. Chance of rain tomorrow?

    1. @carbon_fibre is showing heavy rain at RBR around the race start, don’t know the probabilities. Let’s see. As fun as the rain can be, this year I’d prefer clean battles between Lewis and Max.

      1. meteoblue puts it at 50% around the race start.

        1. The forecasts are all over the place. Some say thunderstorms – others say no rain at all.

          1. @carbon_fibre Yeah the weather in the mountains is always tough to predict.

      2. Judging by imola, there can be great battles between them even with rain.

      3. Agree, Id like to see a clean fight without random luck and variables.

  4. Wow Lando Norris looking like he really is on fire in the Mclaren – what is happen I g With Ricciardo, clearly the car has some dent pace and Ric showed it in FP3 but quali was horrible. Norris looking like the real deal at moment !

    1. Yes that is bad to watch, especially after a successful weekend in France. And to pile on: he actually hoped the back to back races in Austria would be beneficial to his pace. I have my fingers crossed he/they’ll find something between now and next race.

    2. Yep, Ric is really struggling, horrible to watch, the car clearly has characteristics that he has not yet mastered.
      but I recon a points finish for him tomorrow.

  5. Mercedes need a Russell/Norris/Leclerc in qualifying to compete with Verstappen.

    1. Yep, Hamilton is barely faster than Bottas on average.
      He’s nowhere near the fastest on the grid let alone of all time.
      It’s time for him to hang his gloves on and pass the baton to Russell, he will show us how good that car is.

      1. Yeah, honestly being both a lewis and max fan (rare i know), can’t help but feel lewis may just be past his prime, at least over 1 lap. Makes sense the dude’s 36 this year, can’t expect him to have the same raw pace as Max (24 yrs). But he usually makes up for it in race pace/craft so we’ll see if it’s enough this year

        1. That’s only cos he’s had the car to do that whilst the RB has been slower, this season they are more closely matched and Max is showing he’s on a different level.

        2. Actually, if age costs you on something, it’s on consistency and pace, not outright speed.

          1. If that’s the case then his speed has been the same since 2017.
            He’s still on average a hair faster than Bottas.
            Nothing to write home about IMO as there’s several drivers on the grid who would be faster than the average Finn despite him being a good qualifier.

          2. LOL at “several drivers”.

          3. Yes several, Verstappen, Russell, Norris, Leclerc, I’d put money on that these would be faster than Sir Lewis.

          4. Again: LOL!

          5. Why the LOL, you think barely being faster than Bottas is anything to write him about? HAHAHA.

          6. I’m not sure in what respect age would be a factor right now. Highly trained athletes’ physical endurance peaks in their 30s. Reaction time peaks at about 24 on average but only goes down about 100ms per year for average people, obviously less for people who train for it. Also remember that people in their 20s, especially men, are still neurologically developing especially with respect to risk assessment. There is no biological or scientific reason to think Hamilton is “past his prime” relative to anyone else on the grid.

          7. Lopes da Silva
            26th June 2021, 17:50

            “Actually, if age costs you on something, it’s on consistency and pace, not outright speed.”

            Could you give an example?
            There are several champions that lost speed with age but what kept them in the sport was consistency and pace. Lauda, Prost and Raikkonen are the perfect examples.

          8. @Lopes da Silva
            Prost actually got his best season in quali in 1993, scoring 13 poles out of 16 races. I don’t even know why the mainstream narrative keep telling the story that Alain was just consistent and not fast, lol.
            Hamilton never scored a similar record in quali, not even in the most dominant mercedes seasons.

          9. Lopes da Silva
            27th June 2021, 12:07

            “Prost actually got his best season in quali in 1993, scoring 13 poles out of 16 races.”
            Maybe because he had Damon Hill in the sister car? Compare the average lap times of Prost vs Hill and then compare the average lap times of Senna vs Hill in the 3 GP they raced together.
            Don’t tell anyone, but Williams carried Hill and Coulthard for almost two years – they were the wingmen of Senna and Hakkinen, respectively.
            If you want to compare Hill with Nico Rosberg, bring in the “narrative”.

        3. Do you think this might be similar to alonso vs schumacher in 2006, where schumacher made a few mistakes over the year without which he’d have won the title, probably due to his age being 37 vs alonso around 26, so again where the older driver on paper starts to decline?

          1. Ditto! Age catches up with everybody

          2. Maybe so but Schumacher still demolished his teammate in outright speed, Hamilton is struggling like hell to beat Bottas FFS.

  6. Curious to see if Russel can finally capitalize from 11th. He did great to get in that position, but he’s been in a good position before.. and bottled it. Would be good for him and his confidence if he can finally make his own hard work pay off

    1. Really solid quali from him, shame he didn’t get into Q3. Hopefully he can break the point slump.

  7. One thing is very clear : the Honda engine improved tremendously in the offseason and is probably the best engine.

    1. Shhh…it’s slower than Mercedes. Verstappen is making all the difference.

    2. RandomMallard (@)
      26th June 2021, 15:39

      @mxmxd I still think the merc PU is the benchmark and the one to beat imo. The height of the Red Bull Ring (and Mexico as well) often acts as a bit of an equaliser on the PU side as the air is thinner, and Merc have often struggled with temperatures as well.

      1. … but the Honda engine did improve a lot though. That seems like the logical explanation for both Red Bull and Alpha Tauri jumping on the pecking order.

        1. But.. did it? We can’t know for sure. There is a chance they gained power. But looking at the times you can see Mercedes being slower than last year. So it is equally true they actually lost something. But did they lose power? Seems unlikely since there was no rule change regarding engines? So they lost that speed from their chassis (DAS) and aero (floor). So did Honda gain that much power or did the Mercs just lose speed from the car.. Probably a mix of both

      2. … urgj, I accidentally reported your post. Sorry.

    3. engine is not only about power. Mercedes still the most powerful. But drivability of the Honda improved substantially.
      Combined with the talent of Verstappen is an potential winning team.
      Even a Hamilton in his prime (according to a lot of people like Button) has a hard time to follow this.

      1. Button totally “dislikes” Hamilton (euphemism to get around censorship), I wouldn’t take what he says seriously

      2. Davethechicken
        26th June 2021, 17:28

        Erijke, you are confused as usual.
        Small man syndrome.
        Honda has the most power now, coupled with the best chassis they can barely fail to lose.
        I suppose you think Max defies the laws of physics by putting it on pole? 😂
        Their number 2 driver is far from a world beater, indeed he lost his drive at Racing Point/AM to Vettel, whom I support but few rate highly. He was out of F1 for 2021 until he got the call.

        1. so you are already giving up on hamilton i see.
          This will be a hefty season for you.

        2. I am of the opinion that Perez is faster than Bottas, the car gives it to Bottas.

    4. I’d say it COULD be the best engine. Settings and a great vs. good lap are still a factor.

    5. Two things we should not forget also:
      first the MER had a very strong top speed today and pretty decent first sectors (which is mostly straight);
      second RBR usually has flatter wings, which of course helps with the top speed. MER could also reduce their drag force if they wanted more top speed, but then we the chassis enter the game!

    6. Quote from Max “For sure Honda did a great job compared to last year, but from our first engine to the engine we have in the car now, it’s all about reliability improvements and no clear advantage on pure power.” he also talks about chassis, floor and air’o as the reason for being more competitive.
      (Yes, I know his words might be a little biased) but this is probably closer to the truth than these unsubstantiated statements about the Honda engine suddenly being more powerful than the Merc, it is not just about more power, it is about delivering that power to the wheels and onto the track, drive-ability, breaking, exit acceleration, corner speed ETC ETC, Soooo much more than just brute power!!

  8. engine is not only about power. Mercedes still the most powerful. But drivability of the Honda improved substantially.
    Combined with the talent of Verstappen is an potential winning team.
    Even a Hamilton in his prime (according to a lot of people like Button) has a hard time to follow this.

  9. Holy crap, Hamilton is losing a whole lot of stuff this season, besides his titles.
    Someone already had the sense his consistency won him races and championships, rather than outright speed and raw talent, but geez… Verstappen is really wiping the floor with him in a pretty similar machine, Bottas is constantly matching (if not surpassing) his lap times…
    Sure, he is earning a lot of money, but…

    1. “We go back to 2005” to be heard once and for all?

  10. Could it be that maybe, just MAYBE Hamilton is starting to realise how tough this season is going to be, what with all those extra laps and mistakes, and could it be that the pressure is starting to mount a notch higher!?

    1. I think Mercedes as a whole were more shocked about last week. That they couldn’t bag the win and a double podium on a track that was thought to favor the Mercedes must have done something with the mindset. They now realize that there’s not going to be easy 1-2’s at all this year.

      1. It may well end up being an easy 1-2 sooner rather than later.
        A Red Bull 1-2

        1. I wonder if they’ll manage that, really a shame for baku 2021 and mexico 2018, something always seems to happen when red bull is very close to getting a 1-2 on merit, malaysia 2016 obviously wasn’t and before that there’s the vettel era.

  11. Max continue to prove he is better than hamilton. It may come boring to hamilton to lose consistently, in a short time.

    1. And people kept saying “ I don’t think Verstappen could handle the pressure of a title challenge against Lewis”, while it’s the other way rouund lmao

      1. In all fairness, verstappen COULDNT handle the pressure before… and Lewis could.

        Things change. Shocking, I know.
        Mostly, Lewis should stop worrying about what happens in North America, and handle his own business.

  12. Qualifying was never Hamilton’s strength so it’s rather funny to see people writing his epitaph after Max gets a handful of poles. Recency bias at it’s best.

    1. Odd, I’d say hamilton was a pretty good qualifier, not cause he has the pole record, but cause he got poles even in difficult circumstances, just like senna did: senna got poles even against the dominant williams, and hamilton got poles even with the horrible mclaren 2009.

    2. He has more poles than wins and has always been celebrated as a one lap master.
      Sorry to point that out, mate.

      1. @liko41 Plus add rain and a Hamilton poll is virtually guaranteed.

        1. Verstappen is clearly better than Hamilton under the rain.
          Even more than in dry conditions

          1. I disagree @liko41. In plenty of qualifying sessions in the rain in recent seasons, Hamilton has ‘blown Verstappen away’ as you like to put it.

          2. @david-br probably because Merc was eras in front of Red Bull! If merc’s margin became just a bit smaller, max would easily jump on his head.

    3. @velocityboy Well, never his biggest strength, as he admitted at the start of his career. He improved that aspect though. Plus I think that assessment is skewed in recent years by his tendency to focus on race pace rather than one lap. On most tracks he’s faster over one lap than team mates, but used that edge to focus on races: that way he tends to be considerably faster in the race and/or works the tyres much better. Sometimes that emphasis means that Rosberg or Bottas beats him in qualifying at certain tracks but the trade off usually proves worth it. That’s against someone in the same car. With a serious challenge from outside the team, he may need to reevaluate the one lap / race pace balance.

      1. Just excuses, when Hamilton attains pole there’s never a mention of this. It is always brought up though whenever Bottas is faster.
        Just accept the fact that Bottas was quicker on the day.
        You think Bottas would sacrifice race results to look faster in qualifying, try another mate.

      2. @david-br Never his biggest strength? Over his first three seasons he had 17 poles and 11 wins. He wiped the floor with Alonso in 2007 on one lap, and Kovalainen was no competition. Yes, Piquet outqualified him in GP2, but come on, that’s a senseless comparison.

        1. @wsrgo It depends how you read what I said :)
          Only recently I saw an early F1 interview with Hamilton where he says it isn’t his strongest area (!). It may not have been but he sorted that out quickly. I think the point is that however fast he is over one lap, his speed over many laps has tended to be even stronger.

          1. @david-br was definitely not true in 2008 or 2009. And in the first few years after the ban on refueling, Lewis was worse than Jenson over a race distance, and definitely worse than Alonso and Raikkonen when it came to relative race performance. You can compare it with Vettel and Webber, who were in rubber-consuming RBRs. Even in his first year in Merc it was Rosberg with the better proportional race pace. Lewis only aced this from 2015 onwards.

          2. @wsrgo Yes that’s true. I think there’s a difference between multiple laps and multiple laps plus tyre conservation. So Hamilton has always been good at adapting to conditions over a race, consistent fast laps, conserving fuel by maintaining speed through corners and so on, but the refuelling ban exposed his aggressive use of tyres with the extra weight.

  13. As much as I like Kimi, I think it may be time to put Schumacher in the car.

    1. Almost a given at season end

  14. Once again a top notch lap from Max, I hope Norris and Gasly get in the podium tomorrow.

    Great lap from Bottas, it wasn’t looking good for him but still managed to outperform Lewis.

  15. Well done, Max!

  16. Not sure about poles but think it is 4/4 actually between Max and Lewis in qually not bad for an over the hill driver. People always underrate Lewis’s teammates Bottas is no slouch over a lap. Hamilton beating Max in Baku qually where Merc were awful shows we can all have good and bad days. Is Hamilton as fast as he was? No and it would be stupid if he was. Max will hit this one day too happens to all of them.

  17. Why cant we just all agree that both Lewis and verstappen are excellent drivers both extracting the maximum from their cars as expected by 1st class drivers. With the occasional mistake here and there only proves they are both pushing which os what we want. Their packages is what makes the difference. Mercedes since the aero changes have lost alot of speed and drivability. Which has brought the redbulls closer if not ahead of them. Its not a lack of talent from either but which team can give them the fastest drivable car at every race. Right now redbulls seems to have the slightest edge. Hats off to vers and redbull for getting pole. Well done to lewis and merc for searching amd searchong for that little extra. This is what we want to see. No need to puah 1 driver down to lift the other.

  18. Its the Car. That Red Bull is a rocket ship. Anyone can win in that car. Sounds familiar?

    1. Well, you can’t deny the 1-lap advantage and race pace advantage the Mercs had in the majority of the hybrid era. And those advantages were really bigger than the situation this year. Especially because this year some tracks favor RB and others MB. So this year it’s a match.

  19. Stunning laps by Verstappen. That’s pulling it out of the bag when it counts.

    But Norris and McLaren is maybe just as impressive. A tenth away to beat both Mercedes for the front row. Such a comeback for the team.

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