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Max Verstappen wins sprint to claim Austrian Grand Prix pole

Max Verstappen won the sprint at the Red Bull Ring circuit on Saturday to secure pole for the Austrian Grand Prix.

Starting from the front of the grid the world champion comfortably held off the Ferraris of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz to turn the air orange as his army of Dutch fans set off flares in celebration.

“It was great to see, a lot of smoke at the end with all the orange,” Verstappen said, after doing a lap of honour in a Red Bull buggy.

As well as claiming pole in Sunday’s 11th race of the season, Verstappen also added eight points to his world championship standings.

George Russell for Mercedes took fourth ahead of Verstappen’s Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez who made his way through much of the field after starting in 13th.

There was drama at the start when first Fernando Alonso’s Alpine refused to budge when the formation lap began with the double world champion’s race over before it had begun.

Then as the pack formed for the start Zhou Guanyu had an issue at the back. “The engine switched off guys,” the Alfa Romeo driver reported. the field were sent on a second formation lap.

Verstappen held off the Ferraris at the first corner to enjoy a smooth win, his third on the trot after taking both grand prix staged at the circuit in the Styrian mountains last year.

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