Max Verstappen set himself up for back-to-back Austrian GP victories as the Red Bull driver stormed to pole position by four-tenths ahead of Lando Norris.

The reigning World Champion dominated qualifying at Red Bull’s home track and would’ve lined up ahead of a McLaren 2-3 had it not been for Oscar Piastri getting caught for exceeding track limits and losing P3.

Lance Stroll eliminated at the first hurdle

As the sun baked down on the Red Bull Ring, raising the track temperature to a sweltering 47’C, Q1 got underway with Max Verstappen delighting his Orange Army as the first driver to leave the pits.

He laid down a 1:06.054 as the opening gambit before returning to the pits, but down to eighth and with George Russell P1 with a 1:05.614, Verstappen was back out on a set of used softs.

The Red Bull driver regained the top spot before Carlos Sainz went 0.073s faster with Oscar Piastri sliding into second place. His team-mate Lando Norris was told McLaren need him “to do another run”. He was P4.

A last-gasp effort saw Lewis Hamilton make it out of the drop zone but only as high as P7. The drivers eliminated were Alex Albon, Lance Stroll, Valtteri Bottas, Logan Sargeant and Zhou Guanyu.

The drivers were all separated by 0.798s, the closest Q1 interval in F1 history.

The big headlines from the Austrian GP sprint

???? Max Verstappen’s telling ‘two cars’ comment after McLaren sprint battle

???? Fernando Alonso revisits ‘I’m Spanish’ dig as FIA announce verdict on Hulkenberg incident

Daniel Ricciardo and Fernando Alonso out in Q2

Only four drivers opted for an early run in Q2 with Charles Leclerc leading the way ahead of the Alpine team-mates. His time though, was blitzed by Verstappen with a 1:04.577. First Russell and then Sainz slotted into second place behind him but both were over four-tenths down.

Fernando Alonso was the slowest of the 15 runners, a full second down on the P1 time and reported: “Ahhh, I nearly crashed in Turns 7 and 10.”

Nico Hulkenberg found himself in hot water with the stewards for the second time in qualifying. Having pushed in ahead of Albon in Q1, Race Control announcing he would be investigated after qualifying, he did the same to Sergio Perez in Q2.

Alonso wasn’t able to improve his time and finished slowest of all, out of qualifying along with Daniel Ricciardo, Pierre Gasly, Kevin Magnussen and Yuki Tsunoda.

Max Verstappen clinches Austrian GP pole position

Q3 got off to a delayed start as the marshals ventured down to Turn 6 to sweep away the gravel that had been dumped onto the track by drivers running wide.

Hamilton caught the attention of the stewards as he took out a jack on his way out of his garage. He was P6 in the first run, seven-tenths down on Verstappen who once again blitzed the competition. He clocked a 1:04.426 to sit 0.361s ahead of Norris.

Finding more pace on his second run, Verstappen upped his time to a 1:04.314 to put 0.404s between himself and Norris. It would’ve been a McLaren 2-3 but Piastri lost his time for exceeding track limits.

Russell therefore qualified third ahead of Sainz, Hamilton, Leclerc, who had a big off on his final flying lap, and Piastri. Perez, Hulkenberg and Esteban Ocon completed the top ten.

Times

1 Max VERSTAPPEN 1:04.314
2 Lando NORRIS +0.404
3 George RUSSELL +0.526
4 Carlos SAINZ +0.537
5 Lewis HAMILTON +0.589
6 Charles LECLERC +0.730
7 Oscar PIASTRI +0.734
8 Sergio PEREZ +0.888
9 Nico HULKENBERG +1.071
10 Esteban OCON +1.569
11 Daniel RICCIARDO 1:05.274
12 Pierre GASLY 1:05.335
13 Kevin MAGNUSSEN 1:05.347
14 Yuki TSUNODA 1:05.412
15 Fernando ALONSO1:05.639
16 Alexander ALBON 1:05.736
17 Lance STROLL 1:05.819
18 Valtteri BOTTAS 1:05.847
19 Logan SARGEANT 1:05.856
20 Guanyu ZHOU 1:06.061

Read next: Follow PlanetF1.com’s WhatsApp channel for all the F1 breaking news!