Verstappen claims F1 pole in Austria

·1-min read

Formula One leader Max Verstappen has claimed his third straight pole position ahead of the Austrian Grand Prix while title rival Lewis Hamilton had to settle for fourth fastest.

McLaren's Lando Norris joined Red Bull's Verstappen on the front row, a sensational career best for the young Briton.

But Norris' teammate - Australian Daniel Ricciardo - could not match his pace and qualified 13th.

Verstappen's Mexican teammate Sergio Perez qualified in third place at the scenic Red Bull Ring.

Verstappen is now eyeing off a hat-trick of wins after claiming the Styrian Grand Prix last Sunday and the French race the previous weekend.

The 23-year-old is 18 points clear of seven-times world champion Hamilton after eight races, with Red Bull chasing a fifth successive victory to pull further ahead in both championships.

Verstappen's pole lap of one minute, 03.720 seconds was only 0.048 faster than Norris's effort, marking Mercedes-powered McLaren's first front row since 2012.

"I think Q3 was pretty bad. I'm of course happy to be first but not the way we got it," said Verstappen of the tight margin.

"Something to look into, but nevertheless to be twice on pole here is very good.

"Hopefully we can finish if off tomorrow."

Hamilton's teammate Valtteri Bottas will line up fifth on the grid, with Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda sixth and seventh for AlphaTauri.

Sebastian Vettel qualified eighth for Aston Martin but was then handed a three place grid drop for blocking Alpine's Fernando Alonso, who ended up 14th.

That lifted George Russell to eighth instead for Williams.

Alonso was furious over the radio with Vettel, a four times world champion.

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