Styrian Grand Prix – Qualifying

The second of three back-to-back-to-back race weekends, and the first of two at the Red Bull Ring in Austria. Last weekend’s Grand Prix of France saw some questionable strategy calls from Mercedes, resulting in VER passing HAM in the final laps and putting VER 12 points ahead of HAM in the Drivers’ Championship.

It may only have been a few days but there’s been some news since France:

  • FIA announced there will be a capacity crowd for the British Grand Prix at Silverstone in 3 weeks time (July 16-18)
  • Formula 1 have announced that the Turkish Grand Prix will return to the calendar this season, with the race at Istanbul Park set to take place in early October, on the weekend originally scheduled to host the Singapore Grand Prix. [updated calendar]
  • Track limits for this weekend: “Any driver leaving the track […] on the exit of Turn 10 will have both that lap time and the following lap time invalidated” [FIA tweet]

Free Practice:

  1. FP1: VER (1:05.910), GAS, HAM, BOT, TSU, ALO, OCO, STR, GIO
    SAI spins at Turn 1, blocks the pit exit [video]
  2. FP2: VER (1:05.412), RIC, OCO, HAM, ALO, VET, NOR, STR, PER, GIO (BOT P12)
    GAS didn’t run in FP2 due to a power unit issue discovered after FP1
    SAI touched the gravel trap and spun in Turn 5
    LAT spun in T6 and then MAZ spun also in T5
    VER was frustrated with LAT for not moving out of the way
    It was BOT’s spin that was the weirdest – he pitted for new tyres, but when he pulled away from the box he spun his Mercedes, just missing McLaren’s pit crew [video]
    After FP2 BOT said “We tried something different getting out from the box and it was… yes – there were some variables to what we normally do with the wheelspin and that’s why I spun. I would be surprised if there is [a penalty]. It’s a normal mistake, it happens, but yes, I’m sure they’ll understand what happened.”
    Well, prepare to be surprised: BOT’s been given a 3-place grid penalty and two penalty points on his licence [FIA]
  3. FP3: HAM (1:04.369), VER, BOT, PER, TSU, GAS, LEC, ALO, STR, VET
    Heavy rain overnight has cleaned away some of the rubber laid down yesterday
    MAZ spun, as usual

Weather forecast for Quali is unsettled (40% chance of rain) and much the same for the race.

Qualifying session 1 (Q1)
*Reminder: BOT has a 3 grid spot penalty to be applied for his pit lane spin in FP2
Air temperature 25°C; track 55°C; 29% humidity
LAT, SCH and MAZ first to leave the pit lane
LAT 1:05.963
MAZ’s lap time deleted for exceeding track limits
RUS 1:05.752
GIO 1:05.536
STR 1:05.218
TSU 1:05.136
GAS 1:05.019
NOR 1:04.584
VER 1:04.489
(PER P9)
(BOT P2)
(HAM P4)
5mins left of Q1; bottom 5 are GIO, RUS, RAI, SCH, MAZ
GAS goes P4 but then his time is deleted
RAI runs wide, into the gravel trap but keeps his foot in and returns to the track
Everyone except the top 4 (VER, BOT, NOR, HAM) on track for a final run
Chequered flag
GIO P9, VET to P16
TSU P4, ahead of HAM!
RIC P14, OCO P16
RUS P12, LAT P16
Back of the grid: LAT, OCO, RAI, SCH, MAZ

Qualifying session 2
BOT 1:04.724 on medium tyres
(RUS P2 on softs)
VER 1:04.540 on medums
(HAM P4 on mediums) – he locked up into Turn 3
(PER P2 on softs)
(VET P4)
VER 1:04.433
(HAM P3)
GAS 1:04.429 on softs
(BOT P3)
5mins left of Q2; bottom 5 are LEC, VET, RUS, RIC, GIO
0.26sec covers the top 9, so no-one is safe
HAM the only one on track, but will that mean traffic when he starts his quick lap?
No, a couple of cars in the pit exit but the track is still clear for HAM
HAM doesn’t improve; stays P5
(LEC P8)
Chequered flag; bottom 5 are SAI, VET, GIO, RUS, RIC
RUS P10, ALO P11
ALO P6, RUS P11
NOR 1:04.298
RIC P14
PER 1:04.197
SAI’s lap time deleted; so do STR and VET
Middle of the grid: RUS, SAI, RIC, VET, GIO

RUS missed Q3 by 0.008sec!
PER will start the race on those soft tyres; rest of the front runners will start on mediums

Qualifying session 3
Top 10 shootout is between PER, NOR, GAS, VER, BOT*, HAM, ALO, TSU, LEC and STR (*Reminder: BOT has a 3 grid spot penalty to be applied for his pit lane spin in FP2)
Pit lane opens; HAM the only one leaving the pits (he’s on softs)
HAM 1:04.205
Rest of the garages empty out; everyone except BOT and STR on track
BOT exits the pits
TSU P2
GAS P2
ALO P4
VER 1:03.841
LEC P3
PER P3
NOR P3
BOT P4
Order after first run: VER, HAM, NOR, BOT, PER, GAS, LEC, TSU, ALO; no time yet from STR
STR leaves the pits as everyone else is on their cooldown lap
HAM improves his time but still P2; almost 0.7sec behind VER
STR P8
3mins left; VER, HAM, NOR, BOT, PER, GAS, LEC, STR, TSU, ALO
Replay shows BOT lost time behind TSU
Incident involving TSU and BOT will be investigated after the session
Lots of backing up, finding gaps for their final flying lap, but HAM passes a few of them
Chequered flag: VER, HAM, NOR, BOT, PER, GAS, LEC, STR, TSU, ALO
TSU P8
LEC P7
HAM P3 – he ran wide in Turn 9
BOT* P2
GAS P4
ALO P9
NOR P4
PER P5
VER faster than HAM but doesn’t improve his P1 time
Front of the grid: VER, BOT*, HAM, NOR, PER, GAS, LEC, TSU, ALO, STR

Interviews:
VER: “It’s been a very good weekend, the car has been good to drive, super happy to be on pole here at home. It’s a small track, but really hard to get a good lap out of it. I’m sure again tomorrow it will be very tight; hopefully as interesting as it was in France.”
BOT: “I would have preferred to start second, in practice I struggled a bit but we found the right direction. With Tsunoda, I lost a couple of tenths there so maybe there was more to come.”
HAM: “Well done to Max, they’ve been so fast this weekend. Front row after Valtteri’s penalty – I’ll give it everything I’ve got. They’ve had a quarter of a second on us all weekend, so it will be interesting to see if we can manage it – I don’t think we have the raw pace to overtake them. We’ll be giving it everything. Maybe it rains, who knows.”

Provisional grid: VER, BOT*, HAM, NOR, PER, GAS, LEC, TSU**, ALO, STR, RUS, SAI, RIC, VET, GIO, LAT, OCO, RAI, SCH, MAZ
*BOT will drop to P5, behind PER
**TSU is under investigation for blocking BOT in Q3

[2021 calendar] [2021 line-up] [Points standings]

2 thoughts on “Styrian Grand Prix – Qualifying”

  1. “Tsunoda hit by three-place grid drop for impeding Bottas in qualifying”
    https://www.formula1.com/en/latest/article.tsunoda-hit-by-three-place-grid-drop-for-impeding-bottas-in-qualifying.4zBSUhPPvTvmoZ4wms2msU.html
    “Yuki Tsunoda qualified a strong eighth for Sunday’s Styrian Grand Prix but will start the race 11th having been penalised three grid positions by the stewards for impeding Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas in qualifying. It means that Fernando Alonso, Lance Stroll and George Russell have been promoted one place each for tomorrow’s race.”
    “Tsunoda has also received a penalty point for the incident, bringing his total up to two points in a 12-month period – well below the threshold for a race ban.”

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