Outstanding rookie Jorge Martin feels under pressure to follow up his first MotoGP victory with another at the Austrian Grand Prix after qualifying on pole.

Martin converted pole into a dramatic victory at last week's Styrian GP at the same Red Bull Ring track.

The Spaniard – the 12th rider from his country to win in MotoGP – had set a circuit record in qualifying with a time of 1:22.994. Remarkably, he went even faster on Saturday.

Poor performance in practice saw Martin enter Q1, but he made it through to the second session and went round in 1:22.643 to lead the way again.

The Pramac Racing sensation has not won back-to-back races since he was in Moto3 in 2018 but has a fine record at the Red Bull Ring, with five podiums and wins in two of his past three outings.

Another triumph for Martin – already with 48 points, three shy of this year's three other rookies combined – would make him the first rider since Marc Marquez in 2013 to celebrate consecutive wins in his first year in MotoGP.

The 23-year-old feels the weight of expectation, saying: "I'm not thinking about winning. I feel maybe some pressure because everybody is talking about it.

"But I'm a rookie, I need to learn. For me, if tomorrow [Sunday] I'm in the top five, it will be fantastic because I need to learn.

"These guys have a lot of experience and they understand better than me how to manage the race.

"For sure, today I did not believe that I was going to make the pole. So, I don't want to be too optimistic for tomorrow but I'm one of the strongest for tomorrow.

"I think there are four or five guys who can fight for the win, so we will enjoy a good battle."

Six-time champion Marquez is one of those in contention, having qualified in fifth, along with runaway 2021 leader Fabio Quartararo, who starts from second.

Quartararo had taken Martin's track record before the rookie pole-sitter responded.

The Frenchman is the only rider to have claimed points in every race this season, including three consecutive podiums – a career best.

Should Quartararo make the podium again in Austria, he would equal Christian Sarron's French record of 18 in this category.

Provisional classification

1. Jorge Martin (Pramac Racing) 1:22.643
2. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha) +0.034s
3. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati) +0.420s
4. Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) +0.477s
5. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) +0.584s
6. Jack Miller (Ducati) +0.677s
7. Joan Mir (Suzuki Ecstar) +0.735s
8. Alex Espargaro (Aprilia) +0.780s
9. Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM) +0.856s
10. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM) +0.925s
11. Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda) +1.095s
12. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda) +1.347s

Monster Energy Yamaha have withdrawn rider Maverick Vinales from Sunday's Austrian Grand Prix following his "irregular operation of the motorcycle" in last week's race.

The 26-year-old failed to finish the Styrian Grand Prix due to what he put down to multiple electrical issues.

However, Yamaha said in a statement on Thursday that Vinales' actions "could have potentially caused significant damage to the engine" and have withdrawn the Spaniard from the 11th round of the championship.

Yamaha's decision was taken after "an in-depth analysis of telemetry and data over the last days".

Vinales, who races alongside championship leader Fabio Quartararo, will not be replaced by another rider at the Red Bull Ring.

The nine-time MotoGP race winner announced in June that he is to leave Yamaha a year early at the end of the 2021 season.

Toto Wolff believes assessments of Mercedes' season to date have been overly negative, even as Max Verstappen and Red Bull have control of the title race.

The Silver Arrows had Valtteri Bottas second and defending champion Lewis Hamilton fourth at the Austrian Grand Prix on Sunday.

Hamilton is now five races without a win for only third time over a single season since 2014. Red Bull have won all five of those, with Verstappen triumphing in four.

Damage to his car apparently sustained over a kerb at Turn 10 saw Hamilton fall behind both team-mate Bottas and third-placed McLaren man Lando Norris.

But Wolff, despite describing himself as "a sceptical person, cup is half empty rather than half full", tried to look at the positives.

"First of all, the result looked worse than it was in terms of pace," he told Sky Sports. "We were stuck behind the McLaren.

"In terms of pace, we probably could have been there, maybe not enough to win the race but right there, which is a step forward.

"The damage occurred at Turn 10, over the kerb; I don't think he was particularly running too hard over the kerb – it was just the part that fell away.

"We looked at the loads and they were the same as in the laps before, so we need to find out why that happened.

"So, overall, damage limitation? Maybe. I think we're going to go to Silverstone, blow everybody away, finish one-two, 30 seconds in advance of everyone else."

He added: "We're one DNF away from being right there in the constructors' and in the drivers' championship, so this is far from over."

This was not the result Hamilton – still two victories shy of a landmark 100 – would have wanted to celebrate his new two-year contract.

But Wolff said: "The morale is good, but we have to be working on these feelings actively.

 

"If you come from a run of seven world championship titles, everything looks like a defeat, whatever result you have. I think this is a switch in mindset we have to achieve now.

"Today we finished second and fourth, it's not the end of the world. You see how happy the McLaren guys are about their position [P3] and I think we have to just recognise this is a tough, tough championship.

"This is the Formula One world championship and you can't expect every year to cruise away in the sunset.

"We will make everything that's needed to not make Red Bull do exactly that."

Perhaps Hamilton himself could use a more optimistic outlook, rueing "a lot of damage" despite insisting he "wasn't going over the kerb any more than anyone else".

"There were a lot of points lost today," Hamilton said, adding: "I would have been second. I was in second when all of a sudden it obviously broke.

"It would have been an easy second generally, but obviously not able to catch up with the guys ahead."

A home race for the seven-time champion at Silverstone is up next, but Hamilton said: "We're miles away from [Red Bull], so we've got a lot of work to do.

"We need all hands on deck, which I know there already are. They brought a lot of upgrades, clearly, over these last few races, and we haven't brought any.

"We've got to find as much performance as possible, otherwise this will be the result most often."

Max Verstappen relished being able to deliver another win at the Red Bull Ring in front of his 'orange army' in Sunday's Austrian Grand Prix.

The Formula One drivers' championship leader secured a third straight victory and second at Spielberg in two weeks.

As at the Styrian GP, Verstappen led from start to finish having taken pole position on Saturday.

The Dutchman now has two poles, four wins, six podiums and 139 points at the Red Bull Ring, reserving his best returns at any circuit for Red Bull's home race.

"It was incredible, to be honest," Verstappen said. "The car was unreal, every tyre set we put on was really enjoyable to drive.

"It's pretty insane. I'm a bit amazed myself how it went – I didn't expect it to be like this.

"Incredible job by everyone to deliver something like this. Of course, when you go into the weekend, everyone sees you as the favourite, but it's never easy to actually always deliver what we did.

"It's a great effort by the whole team and also by Honda, I think the whole package...

"These two weeks, especially here, it's been incredible."

Verstappen had the support of a large, loud crowd, dressed in orange and cheering their man home.

"It was insane to see all the fans here," he added. "There's so much orange, it's incredible. A great motivation as well.

"Especially the last lap, there was a lot of orange all over the track. Thank you very much for coming."

 

Lando Norris, who recovered from a controversial five-second penalty, also earned encouragement from the fans, though, finishing third ahead of Verstappen's title rival Lewis Hamilton.

His run of 14 straight races in the points is the best of his career and the best ongoing streak in F1.

"It was a lot of fun," Norris said, before giving his take on the incident involving Sergio Perez. "It was a good race, exciting, but I'm disappointed because it should have been second place.

"I thought lap one was just racing really – he tried to go around the outside of me, which was a bit stupid. He ran off the track himself, I didn't even push him. I don't know.

"I was frustrated, but I'm also happy with P3. We had very good pace and I'm happy."

Valtteri Bottas clung to second in front of Norris, but the Briton was confident his McLaren could tussle with the best.

"I could keep up with him a lot, even in the dirty air – just not enough to get into the DRS," he said. "As soon as I got close to within one second, I started struggling too much.

"Shoulda, woulda, coulda, in the end.

"It's nice to know that we could be there and we could race them. It's probably the first race in many years I'm actually racing the Mercedes and the Red Bulls.

"Hopefully we can keep it up next time."

Max Verstappen eased to yet another victory at the Red Bull Ring in Sunday's Austrian Grand Prix, completing a triumphant triple-header in front of home support.

The Red Bull superstar and Formula One season leader won for the third week running to stretch his drivers' championship advantage to 32 points over Lewis Hamilton.

Verstappen had become the first F1 driver to win three times at this circuit in the previous week's Styrian Grand Prix and led from start to finish again after claiming pole.

Hamilton's hopes of reeling in Verstappen – dismissed as "out of the question" after qualifying – were hindered by another fine drive from Lando Norris, with the Mercedes great starting where he finished in fourth.

Valtteri Bottas was the big mover, up from fifth to second, benefiting from keeping clear of controversy as numerous drivers – notably including Norris and Sergio Perez – tangled in costly fashion.

Verstappen displayed his superior straight-line speed from the outset to disappear into the distance, only to find his early progress checked by Esteban Ocon's crash that prompted a safety car.

The Dutchman – backed by swathes of orange-clad supporters – pulled clear again from the restart but team-mate Perez had more difficulty as he doggedly pursued Norris.

Norris' determination forced Perez off the track in an incident that was subsequently investigated.

Even Red Bull team principal Christian Horner dismissed the clash as "one of those things", but a five-second penalty for Norris was confirmed just as Hamilton passed him, having been held up for 20 laps – already around 10 seconds shy of Verstappen.

Perez's attempts to recover from his early setback saw the Mexican twice earn five-second penalties of his own for nudging Charles Leclerc out of his path.

However, Norris regained his composure in far more impressive fashion, serving his penalty and falling behind Bottas but then attacking Hamilton, getting ahead of the seven-time champion amid Mercedes tyre trouble for a third podium of the year.

MAX MAKING MOST OF HOME COMFORTS

Verstappen now has four wins, six podiums and 139 points at the Red Bull Ring, his best returns at any circuit.

Saturday's pole had seen him make Spielberg – Red Bull's home grand prix – the first track at which he has qualified first twice, following on from last week's effort.

Five victories and four poles have made this is his best season to date, but Verstappen has bigger fish to fry with the title in his sights.

UNLUCKY LANDO STILL THE BREAKOUT STAR

It was hard not to feel for Norris, who so bravely battled against Hamilton and then learned of his penalty for essentially holding his line.

Informed of the punishment, he first replied: "What for?"

Norris added: "What did the guy expect running around the outside?"

Regardless, he had built enough of a buffer to only fall to fourth and recovered to make the podium, meaning the McLaren man has now collected points in 14 consecutive races – his longest streak and the best ongoing run in the series.

Fernando Alonso, in the first 14 races of 2007, was the last McLaren driver to enjoy such a stretch of points returns.

IN THE POINTS

1. Max Verstappen (Red Bull)
2. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) +17.973s
3. Lando Norris (McLaren) +20.019s
4. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) +46.452s
5. Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) +57.144s
6. Sergio Perez (Red Bull) +57.915s
7. Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren) +60.395s
8. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) +61.195s
9. Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri) +61.844s
10. Fernando Alonso (Alpine) +1 lap

CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS

Drivers

1. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) – 182
2. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) – 150
3. Sergio Perez (Red Bull) – 104
4. Lando Norris (McLaren) – 101
5. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) – 92

Constructors

1. Red Bull – 286
2. Mercedes – 242
3. McLaren – 141
4. Ferrari – 122
5. AlphaTauri – 48

Lando Norris described his "epic" second place in qualifying for the Austrian Grand Prix as one of the best laps he has driven in Formula One.

McLaren are back on the front row for the first time since 2012 after Norris incredibly finished just 0.048 seconds behind Max Verstappen, marginally missing out on a historic pole.

Verstappen became the first F1 driver to win three times at the Red Bull Ring as he beat Lewis Hamilton to victory last time out.

Having also won in France, the Dutchman looks well placed to make it a treble.

He was boosted as his team-mate Sergio Perez qualified third, meaning the two Mercedes of Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas were left in fourth and fifth respectively.

George Russell – reportedly in the running to drive for the German team next year – took a brilliant ninth for Williams on a day of surprises.

Verstappen – unhappy with his team for the position he was put out in the running order in Q3 – could not improve in his second run, giving surprise challenger Norris the chance to come agonisingly close to pole.

But Verstappen has shown impressive form this weekend and it continued with another strong result, even if Norris was understandably attracting the attention after Saturday's session.

"I feel epic!" Norris said to Sky Sports. "It's one of the best laps I've done – I'm really happy with P2, my best qualifying in Formula One.

"One of my best laps in Formula One. It's a good feeling, so I'm looking forward to Sunday.

"It feels pretty cool. After the last race I wanted to take one more step [after qualifying fourth] – but we went two more! 

"It's nice to be in a good position for Sunday. I don't know how far I was off pole, bit gutted I didn't get pole – Sunday will be tough but we did the best job we could."

 

After a third straight pole and his fourth overall in 2021, Verstappen warned victory would not come easily as he looks to extend his 18-point lead in the drivers' standings.

"I think Q3 was pretty bad. Of course I'm happy to be first but not the way we got it," he said.

"Pole again is good. Hopefully we can finish it off on Sunday – it is never straightforward though.

"Softer compounds compared to last week, so it will be tough to manage those in the race but aside from that, we'll just try to focus on our own race and of course, we'll try to win it."

Both Ferraris and Fernando Alonso – who was angry at being held up by Sebastian Vettel in an incident that could result in a grid penalty – all missed out on progression from Q2.

It meant Yuki Tsunoda and Vettel were able to claim seventh and eighth, with Lance Stroll taking the last spot in the top 10 behind the impressive Russell.

Perez claimed third for Red Bull having initially looked poised to start further down the order after his first Q3 run.

"It's been a hard weekend up to now," the Mexican explained. "We have been chasing the balance and just exploring the car.

"It didn't come easy. It was very hard work – harder than you think.

"In the end we got a good lap and we have a good position. I believe we have got a better race car than qualifying."

Six consecutive top-five finishes have put Perez third in the championship prior to the ninth race of the campaign, with Norris fourth in the standings ahead of Bottas and Charles Leclerc.

 

PROVISIONAL CLASSIFICATION

1. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) 1:03.720
2. Lando Norris (McLaren) +0.048s
3. Sergio Perez (Red Bull) +0.270s
4. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) +0.294s
5. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) +0.329s
6. Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri) +0.387s
7. Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri) +0.553s
8. Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin) +0.850s
9. George Russell (Williams) +0.871s
10. Lance Stroll (Aston Martin) +0.898s

Lewis Hamilton is refusing to give up on defending his Formula One title as rival Max Verstappen aims for another triumph in Austria this weekend.

Verstappen became the first F1 driver to win three times at the Red Bull Ring as he raced clear of Hamilton last time out, triumphing by more than 35 seconds despite showboating as he crossed the line at the Styrian Grand Prix.

Red Bull and Verstappen return to their home circuit for the next race – the Austrian Grand Prix – and Mercedes, who have typically fared well on the track, will be aiming to drag Hamilton back into contention.

Mercedes are also 40 points behind Red Bull in the constructors' championship, yet when asked if he was having to accept the idea of missing out on the title for the first time since 2016, Hamilton gave a bullish response.

"Well, I don't accept anything," Hamilton told F1's official media channels.

"I think we've still got many races ahead of us and we've got to keep pushing. We're world champions and we can definitely improve if we put our minds to it."

LAST TIME OUT

The Red Bull ring is Verstappen's favourite – in terms of track victories – after his efforts last Sunday.

Having qualified in pole, Verstappen swiftly pulled clear of Hamilton to clinch Red Bull's fourth straight victory – the first time the team has achieved such a feat in the hybrid era.

It was Verstappen's fourth win of 2021, marking his best return in a campaign, though Hamilton, who took the fastest lap, finished second and his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas fought off Sergio Perez in the other Red Bull car to clinch a podium place.

Further back, Williams' George Russell had his race cut short by a power unit issue, while Pierre Gasly crashed out following a collision with Ferrari's Charles Leclerc.

WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR IN SPIELBERG

Hamilton is hoping for more support from his team, stating: "If we're not going to develop and improve our car for the rest of the year, this is the result you're going to see, because, as I said, they've [Red Bull] really eked out performance in these last few races, wherever it's been, whether it's been in France with the engine or the new wing, whichever it is."

While Mercedes will look to improve, Red Bull have history firmly in their sights.

Verstappen comes into this contest having become the driver to have won most races at the Red Bull Ring (three), though Hamilton and Bottas are the drivers to have taken the most pole positions (three for each).

Indeed, Verstappen has achieved five podiums and collected 113 points at Spielberg, more than any other circuit in his F1 career, and he is aiming to take more than one pole position at the same circuit for the first time after qualifying in top spot last week.

His Red Bull team-mate Perez is also just one win away from surpassing Pedro Rodriguez as the Mexican driver to have won the most races in F1 (three).

Sebastian Vettel, meanwhile, will be looking to mark his 34th birthday on Saturday with a good run in qualifying. The four-time world champion is the third-highest driver in the record books in terms of race victories (53) and fourth for pole positions (57).

However, his last time on pole was at the 2019 Japanese Grand Prix; that run of 29 races is his second-worst streak to date without starting at the front of the grid, following a 31-race stretch between 2014 and 2015.

TOP FIVE OPTA STATS

Spielberg short of twists and turns – With only 10 turns, seven to the right and three to the left, the Red Bull Ring has the fewest amount of corners of any track currently on the F1 calendar.

Mercedes' miserable run – Mercedes (79) are looking to equal Ferrari (80) as the team with the most one-twos in F1 qualifying, but the German constructor is suffering its worst run without a race win in the hybrid era, with Red Bull triumphing in the last four events.

Bottas far from finished – Should he claim pole, Bottas would equal Kimi Raikkonen as the second Finnish driver to have taken the most pole positions in F1 (18), after Mika Hakkinen (26). He has taken three pole positions at this race in the past, more than any other grand prix in his career (three: 2017, 2018 and 2020).

Leclerc's poor conversion rate – Ferrari's Leclerc has recorded only two wins out of the nine pole positions in his F1 career (22.2 per cent). If he takes pole this time around, but then fails to win, only Rene Arnoux (11.1 per cent, two of 18 pole positions) and David Coulthard (16.7 per cent, two of 12 poles) will have lowest ratio of victories from pole.

Hamilton daunted by his hundred? – With 100 pole positions in his F1 career, Hamilton is two shy of his 100th race victory. However, the Brit is one grand prix away from matching his worst run without winning in a single season since 2014.

CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS

Drivers

1. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) – 156
2. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) – 138
3. Sergio Perez (Red Bull) – 96
4. Lando Norris (McLaren) – 86
5. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) – 74

Constructors

1. Red Bull – 252
2. Mercedes – 212
3. McLaren – 120
4. Ferrari – 108
5. AlphaTauri – 46

The Turkish Grand Prix has been withdrawn from the Formula One calendar for June and replaced by a second race in Austria.

Istanbul was was added to the schedule two weeks ago as a replacement for the Canadian Grand Prix, which was called off due to coronavirus travel restrictions.

However, that June 13 event has now been dropped for the same reason, with Turkey added to the travel 'red list' for many countries.

The weekend of June 11-13 will now be left clear, while the French GP has been brought forward by a week to June 18-20.

There will then be consecutive weekends of action at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, with the Styrian GP followed by the Austrian GP.

A record 23 races therefore still remain scheduled for the 2021 season, which continues with the Monaco GP next week.

F1 president Stefano Domenicali said: "We were all looking forward to racing in Turkey but the travel restrictions in place have meant we are not able to be there in June.

"F1 has shown again that it is able to react quickly to developments and find solutions and we are delighted that we will have a double-header in Austria, meaning our season remains at 23 races.

"I want to thank the promoter and authorities in Turkey for all of their efforts in recent weeks and want to thank the promoters in France and Austria for their speed, flexibility and enthusiasm in accommodating this solution.

"We have had very good conversations with all the other promoters since the start of the year and continue to work closely with them during this period."

Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton prevailed at the Spanish Grand Prix last time out and leads the drivers' standings after the first four rounds of the 2021 season.

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