Max Verstappen secured his fourth consecutive pole position at the Red Bull Ring, with a time of 1m04.391s, just 0.048s ahead of Charles Leclerc. However, the qualifying session was marred by the high number of lap times that were deleted due to drivers exceeding track limits in the final two corners. In total, 47 lap times were deleted. Sergio Perez, in the Red Bull, failed to make it into Q3 for the fourth race in a row after running wide in Turn 9 and Turn 10 in Q2. Verstappen himself was caught out in Q1, dropping down to 17th after crossing the painted lines on the exit of the final corner.
Verstappen didn’t hold back his criticism of the situation, calling it “very silly” and making the drivers look like “amateurs.” He expressed his frustration, stating, “If it was that easy to stay within the white lines, then you can take my car and try it.” However, he stood up for his fellow drivers, saying, “I don’t think we’re all idiots.” The zero-tolerance policy on track limits enforced by the stewards took the joy out of the qualifying battle for Verstappen, as he had to focus more on “surviving” rather than pushing for the fastest lap.
Verstappen attributed the difficulty in judging the white lines to the high speeds and high-speed corners of the track. He noted that many drivers, including himself, were caught out by the track limits. He described the session as a matter of survival, particularly in Q3, where drivers just wanted to set a decent lap time. Despite the challenges, Verstappen believed he and the team did well enough to secure pole position.
Verstappen anticipated that the drivers would raise the track limits issue in a meeting with the FIA that was scheduled for Friday evening. However, the meeting was unexpectedly cancelled without a public reason given. Verstappen also mentioned the previous issue with yellow kerbs defining track limits and expressed a potential solution of using gravel instead, although acknowledging that it might not be feasible due to the presence of motorcycles on the track.