Max Verstappen achieved pole position for the 2021 Styrian Grand Prix with relative ease and defeated the Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton, exceeded by 0.1 and 0.2 seconds of difference.
This was Red Bull’s first pole position at its home circuit, and only the third time since the era of turbo hybrid engines that Mercedes was defeated in a Saturday session at Spielberg, which had only happened in 2014 with Williams and in 2019 with Ferrari.
Christian Horner, director of Red Bull Racing, said that before the start of the final session he considered that Mercedes could defeat them after Hamilton placed first in the third free practice held two hours earlier.
“We thought they had a bit more of an advantage, but the temperatures went up a bit, and because of how that has affected the cars, and with such thin margins right now between the two teams, I think we managed to be within a window in which Max was very happy and we managed to get a good lap, ”Horner told Sky Sports F1.
“I was a bit worried because obviously Lewis had an extra set of tires available in Q3, but experience from before has told us that you can end up being a bit rushed with your starting laps and so forth. In the end I was happy with the strategy we had ”.
“This was our first pole here so it was a fantastic qualifying from the team and for Max to get two laps good enough for pole when everything is so close was a great performance.”
Horner does not want to predict race pace because of the many factors that will come into play, with the possibility of heavy rain.
“I think we could have a different challenge tomorrow, although the weather is supposed to surround us a bit more tomorrow because thunderstorms are forecast. So that could be an added dynamic. “
“But traditionally this race has been one stop, so we will have to wait, because both Mercedes and Max will start on the medium tire.”
Regarding Sergio Pérez who will start fourth, the director of the Austrian house said: “Sergio was also in a good rhythm, with worn tires, initially he did a great job. So getting pole and having Sergio up there in the second row is great for us ”.