Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen under investigation after Austrian GP qualifying | F1 | Sport


Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton were both under investigation after qualifying at the Austrian Grand Prix. The Mercedes man has been accused of driving unnecessarily slowly at the pit exit, while Red Bull driver was involved in an ‘unsafe release’ in Q3.

Hamilton’s incident occurred on the way out of the garage for his first Q3 lap. The seven-time world champion’s car collided with a jack on the left-hand side, knocking it to the ground before engineers came to pick it up.

For Verstappen, the potential infringement relates to his speed at the pit exit. The short nature of the Red Bull Ring means that drivers have to take extra care to ensure sufficient gaps between the car ahead and behind in qualifying, and this is often done by slowing on the way out of the pit lane.

The Red Bull driver had the most to lose from any potential penalty. Verstappen carried his momentum from Saturday’s sprint race win into qualifying, dominating from start to finish despite the pre-session hopes of Lando Norris.

In the end, his fastest Q3 lap was over four-tenths of a second faster than Norris in second place, marking him out as the clear favourite for the Grand Prix as he goes in search of a third successive race win.

But the stewards decided that no further action would be taken with Verstappen because he impacted no other drivers while creating a gap, which was similar to other drivers out on track.

The stewards did however recommend that the FIA set a maximum gap time during qualifying to make it clearer in future.

“The qualifying went really well,” Verstappen said after securing pole. “We tried to adjust the car a little bit after the things that we learnt this morning, I think it worked well.

“Of course, the track is a bit warmer than yesterday so it made it trickier to drive, but the car felt a lot better for me today. I could really attack the corners a bit more, every run was on point and it was very enjoyable out there.

“It has been a while that we have actually been on pole [for a Grand Prix] so it’s great. It’s a great feeling. The team has been working really hard to make the car more competitive and I think this is a great statement. Hopefully, we can of course also show that tomorrow in the race.”

While Verstappen was in a celebratory mood, Hamilton was frustrated. The seven-time world champion bemoaned a lack of pace as early as Q1 and, in the end, qualified behind his team-mate George Russell for the ninth time in 11 races.



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