Saturday’s nightmare for Mercedes: not a single driver above 15th place!
Evgeny Kustov July 1, 2023, 14:05 Moscow time Audio version: Your browser does not support the audio element.
Verstappen had no competition this time, but Norris and Hulkenberg did very well.
The second Formula 1 sprint qualifying was bound to be interesting. And for the numerous violations of the limits of the Red Bull Ring on Friday, and for the rain that drenched the track in the morning. It is true that at the beginning of the session, a dry trajectory was already visible on the pavement.
Q1: Sainz and Leclerc survived, Hamilton did not
All the pilots, except for Albon, who decided to outwit everyone, immediately went into battle with slicks, and they turned out to be right. Alex immediately returned to the pits and also switched to dry weather tyres. Well, then we were in for a fest of improvements until the end of the segment, because the track condition was getting better with every lap, every minute.
True, Carlos Sainz could not participate in this festival: his car had problems with the brake-by-wire braking system, so the Spaniard returned to the pits. The Ferrari mechanics ended up winning the race against time: Carlos got loose in 1:50, meaning Sainz only had time for one lap! And Carlos succeeded, but how, with the best result in the segment!
Curiously, Leclerc had many more problems, although he had the entire session. Charles barely reached 15th place, ahead of Guanyu Zhou by only one thousandth! Well, the Monegasque was lucky that Lewis Hamilton failed: on the account of the Briton, only the 18th result. A lap was taken from the seven-time champion, and then Verstappen avoided Lewis: Max crashed into the Mercedes at the start line and at the end of his lap he did not go off course, so Hamilton no longer had a chance to recover at the last minute.
Apart from Zhou and Hamilton, Piastri, Bottas and Sargent did not go further. The American closed the protocol, losing five tenths to Albon, not good enough. Also, Logan made regular mistakes during the session. But then de Vries went further with a solid eighth finish.
Q2: The last failure of Mercedes
In the second part of sprint qualifying, things went completely wrong for Mercedes: Russell’s car had problems with the hydraulics, and the mechanics quickly shrugged their shoulders: George was not meant to go on track. So the Silver Arrows drivers had to start 15th and 18th. But the Ferrari drivers this time went further relatively calmly, with a margin, even if Leclerc improved enough only on the final flying lap.
At full force, the Alpha Tauri drivers did not make it to Q3: 13th and 14th places, Tsunoda was ahead of De Vries by two tenths. 12th place in Gasly: such a thing compared to Okon, ahead of his teammate by up to seven tenths! Finally, Albon became eleventh, 61 thousandths from reaching the top 10, that’s how much the Williams driver lost to Hulkenberg.
By the way, about Niko: only thanks to the replays did we see that the German lived the most spectacular moment of the session. After a pit stop in the middle of the segment, the German backed off and ran into a newly replaced wheel – the car bounced spectacularly, but received no damage.
Who is the most efficient driver in F1 history? Schumacher and Hamilton are not even in the top three
Q3: no competition today
In the final segment, not everyone had new tires, so on the first try someone used the already old “software”, and someone decided to switch to “medium”. It was a bit confusing, but in any case, there was a feeling that Verstappen would have no competitors today: he kept a reserve of four tenths.
The second attempt did not create a sensation: Max also improved and secured the sprint pole. Pérez worked his way up to second place, albeit with a loss of half a second. Sergio led Norris by less than a tenth of a second.
And what about Ferrari? Yesterday’s speed of the Scuderia drivers disappeared somewhere: Sainz lost seven tenths of pole time, Leclerc – eight. In this way, they left ahead not only the Red Bull and Norris drivers, but also Hulkenberg, who shines again in qualifying (this time in sprint). By the way, the German quite successfully used two sets of “half” in the third segment.
Racers “Aston Martin”, as on the eve, were not in the forefront. Alonso even passed Stroll, but only by one tenth and one place, seventh against eighth. Okon finished ninth, while Magnussen rounded out the top 10. On the ‘soft’, the Dane couldn’t match Hulkenberg’s pace, but still both drivers were in the top ten, which is great.
The start of the Austrian Grand Prix speed race is scheduled for today at 17:30 Moscow time.
This was the main qualifier on Friday:
The collapse of the Red Bull driver in the F-1 classification: he managed to break the rules three times in a row