Mercedes has the most poles at the Red Bull Ring, with six between 2015 and 2020 – but things aren’t quite that simple this weekend due to the Sprint.
That means qualifying will take place on Friday afternoon, establishing the grid for Saturday’s Sprint, which will in turn establish the grid for Sunday’s Grand Prix. There is a chance of rain on Friday morning, but the sessions are expected to be dry.
While Mercedes has the most poles in Austria, the story has changed in recent seasons, with Verstappen winning the pole for both the 2021 Styrian and Austrian Grands Prix, and one might back the Red Bull driver to get back on track after acing Canadian Grands Prix qualifying.
However, due to the tight confines and higher altitude in Austria, this could be another venue that favours Ferrari’s F1-75 in qualifying. With that, Leclerc could get his first pole since Azerbaijan, or Sainz could get his second consecutive P1 grid spot (for the Sprint, mind). But it will be close, and Verstappen will be eager to get the jump on Saturday.
P1 is crucial for victory at the Red Bull Ring, with the qualifying winner having won the Grand Prix six times since 2016, with the last four races here won from P1. Sprint will set the grid for the Grand Prix this weekend.