(Spielberg) Max Verstappen continued his dominance in Formula 1 this season after taking the lead on Friday ahead of the Austrian Grand Prix.

The Red Bull driver recorded a time of one minute and 4.391 seconds during the qualifying session which took place on the Red Bull Ring, in the very courtyard of the team of the same name. It was his fourth consecutive top position.

“It was very difficult because of the track limitations. At that speed, it becomes very difficult to judge the limits of the track. Our tour was nevertheless quite interesting. I’m very happy to be able to start from the top position,” Verstappen said as he exited his Red Bull.

Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc unexpectedly set the second fastest time at 48 thousandths of a second, followed by teammate Carlos Sainz Jr. at 0.190.

“It felt good to finally have a good lap in qualifying. We came very close to Max, but he was still missing a bit today, noted Leclerc. I obviously didn’t expect to be this close, mostly because of Red Bull’s superiority. It was risky, but we are very satisfied. »

Quebecer Lance Stroll followed in sixth place, 0.502 seconds behind the Dutchman. His teammate at Aston Martin, Fernando Alonso, got the seventh fastest time.

“The track limits were very tight, and I had some of my lap taken away from me trying to attack those really fast corners, but it was the same for everyone and we’re all used to it. here on this circuit,” said Stroll.

“Weather conditions could give us surprises for the sprint race tomorrow (Saturday), so it’s good to be at the front of the pack for Sunday’s race,” he added.

Driver George Russell (Mercedes) and Sergio Perez (Red Bull) had a disappointing session and will start from 11th and 15th respectively on the grid. Perez thus missed the third portion of a qualifying session (Q3) for the fourth time in a row.

The qualifying session was notably interrupted after the Alfa Romeo driver lost control of his car in the first corner. Fortunately for the Finn, there was more fear than harm. Bottas will start 14th.

Verstappen had dominated the free practice session presented on Friday morning, ahead of Sainz fils and Leclerc, in order.

Leclerc is the defending champion at Spielberg.

Verstappen has six wins from nine races so far this season and tops the drivers standings with 195 points. Perez follows in second at 126, followed by Alonso at 117. Stroll is eighth, with 37 points.

The Austrian Grand Prix is ​​the second stage contested according to the sprint formula this season. The qualifying session presented on Friday was used to determine the starting grid for the race which will take place on Sunday.