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Formula 1 Austrian GP

F1 Austrian GP Live Commentary and Updates – FP1 & Sprint Qualifying

Friday's action from the 11th round of the 2024 Formula 1 season.

The sprint format will be run for the third of six times in 2024 at the Austrian Grand Prix, with drivers being granted only a single practice session to get to grips with the Red Bull Ring and especially the new kerbs.

Max Verstappen heads to Red Bull's home race on the back of successive grand prix victories for the first time since April, but McLaren, Ferrari and Mercedes will be hopeful of keeping the pressure on the Dutchman. 

First practice will get under way at 11:30BST (12:30 local time), with sprint race qualifying at 15:30BST (16:30 local time). 

By: Sam Hall, James Newbold

Leaderboard
  1. Verstappen, Red Bull
  2. Norris, McLaren
  3. Piastri, McLaren
  4. Russell, Mercedes
  5. Sainz, Ferrari
  6. Hamilton, Mercedes
  7. Perez, Red Bull
  8. Ocon, Alpine
  9. Gasly, Alpine
  10. Leclerc, Ferrari
  11. Magnussen, Haas
  12. Stroll, Aston Martin
  13. Alonso, Aston Martin
  14. Tsunoda, RB
  15. Sargeant, Williams
  16. Ricciardo, RB
  17. Hulkenberg, Haas
  18. Bottas, Sauber
  19. Albon, Williams
  20. Zhou, Sauber

Summary

  • Verstappen claims sprint pole from McLaren duo Norris and Piastri
  • Leclerc only 10th after failing to set a lap in SQ3
  • Out in SQ2: Magnussen, Stroll, Alonso, Tsunoda, Sargeant
  • Out in SQ1: Ricciardo, Hulkenberg, Bottas, Albon, Zhou
Status: Stopped

That's all for us on the live text blog today. But we'll be back tomorrow to bring you all the updates from the track sessions as it happens. We hope to see you then. In the meantime, do check out the website for all the news and reaction to sprint qualifying. Thank you as always for joining us. Goodbye!

Anybody fancy a repeat of last week's feisty squabble to Turn 1 between Norris and Verstappen? We may get just that in tomorrow's sprint after both men qualified on the front row. That will be at 11am BST on Saturday, followed later in the afternoon, at 3pm BST, by qualifying for the Austrian Grand Prix. 

In case you missed any of the action from that dramatic sprint qualifying session ultimately topped by Max Verstappen after anti-stall problems struck Charles Leclerc, then you can find the full report here.

Another individual you suspect might be quietly pleased is Logan Sargeant, who ends up ahead of Alex Albon on the grid following the Thai's SQ1 elimination. That's not a feat that has been especially common since he arrived in F1 in 2023, but he'll need a little more than that to help his case for remaining on the grid next year.

"Immediately the car was well balanced," Verstappen explains after his pole lap. "And then, of course, you make some little adjustments going into the sprint quali and everything has been working really well." He adds that he's "not really too stressed" about the prospect of another scrap with fellow front-row man Norris after the McLaren man squeezed him towards the Barcelona pit wall last week.

So, all told a slightly scruffy SQ3 session, but aside from Red Bull you'd imagine some of the happiest faces in the paddock might be found at Alpine. Getting two cars into the top 10, ending up eighth and ninth thanks to Leclerc's dramas, would have been a pipe dream back in Bahrain.

Verstappen radios in to his engineers to tell them he reckoned the outlap was "a bit too quick". F1 teams will leave their flying laps until right at the last minute...

Verstappen then will head Norris and Piastri away from the grid for the sprint tomorrow, with Russell fourth and Sainz fifth. Hamilton ends up sixth, while Perez, Ocon and Gasly all got in each other's way and ended up way down on the leading pace. Leclerc ran out of time to get to the line and start his flying lap.

It's sprint pole for Max Verstappen! He smashes in a 1m04.686s to slot in 0.093s ahead of Norris. Wowzers.

Both McLarens are faster than the Mercedes pair, with Norris ahead of Piastri. But what can Verstappen do?

The Ferrari driver had to pull off to one side of the pit exit, but appears to have got the issue sorted. It won't be the ideal preparation for a single push lap however.

Hamilton is the first man out on track, so he won't have the benefit of any tow - or the potential downside of any aerodynamic interference. It'll be a one-lap shootout for sprint pole. Who can make it count?

Out go the Mercedes drivers. Piastri follows them onto the circuit.

Everyone is leaving this until the end of the session. One lap on the tyre will be all they get with the soft.

Everybody will be going out on the soft, when they do emerge from the pits. Who will be first to blink?

A green light at the pit exit signals we're go for SQ3. Again, it's a bit of a waiting game for the time being.

There looks to be some attention being paid to the right-rear corner on Verstappen's Red Bull, but none of the mechanics whose faces we can see look unduly concerned as the Dutchman seeks to complete a clean sweep of fastest times today in the session he'll care most about.

At the sharp end, Verstappen had the edge on Russell, Piastri, Sainz, Leclerc, Hamilton and Norris, with Perez, Ocon and Gasly seeing out the top 10. Which of these drivers will earn sprint pole in the decisive session coming up?

Could Stroll have made it into SQ3 without a big old wobble at the final corner? "I had a big slide in the last corner," he tells his engineer in what amounts to a severe understatement. Still, outqualifying Alonso can be considered a job well done.

The margins really are tiny in Formula 1 currently. Just 0.049s was all that kept Magnussen out of a place in the top 10, while Stroll was 0.090s away in P12. But the Alpine team will be chuffed to have Ocon bang on half a tenth away from the top spot, and Gasly sneaking in to join him in SQ3 with tenth spot.

Out comes the chequered flag, and there is no more time for improvement. So knocked out at this stage are Magnussen (after setting the fastest sector one time of anyone), Stroll, Alonso, Tsunoda and Sargeant.

Ocon and Gasly are in the top 10 as it stands, Magnussen the man just on the outside looking in currently. 

Only the top eight have set times so far. Now we see the remaining drivers that have yet to appear in the session, with Stroll joined on track by team-mate Alonso, the two Alpines, Magnussen, Tsunoda and Sargeant. And here come some of the leading bunch too, with Hamilton, Norris and Perez deciding they don't feel too safe in sixth, seventh and eighth.

No track limits violations on those first runs now the drivers have their eye in a little bit. But Leclerc comes mighty close to having a Tsunoda moment at Turn 9 as he flicks up stones with his left-rear wheel just dipping into the gravel. No holding back for the Ferrari driver who won the Austrian GP in 2022.

After Piastri took a brief turn at occupying second, Russell becomes the latest driver to become the closest challenger to Verstappen as he clocks in 0.139s in arrears.

A 1m05.186s is the first time on the board from Verstappen, and it survives initial assaults from Sainz, Leclerc and Norris who sit second, third and fourth currently.

We're go for SQ2. This time drivers are out early from the start of the session, once more on the medium tyres.

Not unsurprisingly, we can see there is some attention being paid to the floor section of Tsunoda's car. Presumably there will be some gravel that needs removing too.