Styrian GP: Max Verstappen holds-off Lewis Hamilton for back-to-back poles in F1 championship fight

Max Verstappen grabbed his second pole position in a week to apply more pressure on Lewis Hamilton, who qualified only third fastest for the Styrian Grand Prix.

The Dutchman set the pace, 0.194 sec ahead of Valtteri Bottas, who was second best, with a fraction further back.

Hamilton has now failed to take pole since the Spanish Grand Prix four races ago.

Max Verstappen made it back-to-back poles in Formula 1 as he bolstered his title credentials

The Red Bull driver produced an assured display in qualifying to dominate for pole position

However, he will start Sunday’s race here in the Austrian countryside second on the grid after Bottas takes a three-place drop for spinning his Mercedes in the pit lane on Friday

As for Verstappen, he set two lap times that were quick enough for pole at the Red Bull Ring, his team’s undulating home track.

Hamilton said ‘sorry guys’ after his underperformance.

Lando Norris qualified fourth for McLaren, a fine display as he clearly beat his more experienced – and better paid – team-mate Daniel Ricciardo, who qualified a chastening 13th. 

It is the fifth time in the last six races that the English driver has out-qualified the Australian.

Ferrari had a disappointing day, with Charles Leclerc seventh quickest and Carlos Sainz 12th.

It was yet another strong Saturday showing by George Russell, who came within a whisker of making it into Q3 – just eight-thousandths off.

The 23-year-old Brit qualified 11th and is still to make it into the top 10 in a Williams despite beating his team-mate on every occasion across three seasons. 

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