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Max Verstappen claims pole position for sprint race at Austrian Grand Prix

Max Verstappen put his father Jos' row with Christian Horner to one side to take pole position for Saturday's sprint race in Austria.

Verstappen beat McLaren's Lando Norris to top spot by just 0.093 seconds at the Red Bull Ring, with Oscar Piastri third.

George Russell qualified fourth for Mercedes, two places and two tenths clear of team-mate Lewis Hamilton.

Prior to qualifying, Red Bull team principal Horner was forced to deny he stopped Verstappen Snr from taking part in a parade of former Formula One drivers ahead of Sunday's Grand Prix.

Remarks from Verstappen Snr, and Horner's subsequent denial, reignited a feud between the two which started in the wake of the scandal which engulfed Red Bull at the beginning of the season.

However, despite the off-track distraction, Verstappen Jnr held his nerve to secure pole, with McLaren's Norris less than one tenth behind the Red Bull.

"It is great to be first here in front of what feels like my home fans," said Verstappen, who was roared on by his orange-clad fanbase who have made the short journey from the Netherlands to the Styrian Mountains.

"It is a good start to the weekend. I am happy with today. We will find out what will happens tomorrow. I am not too stressed. I will enjoy my evening and try again tomorrow."

Norris has emerged as Verstappen's closest challenger and the British driver is primed to take the fight to the reigning world champion once more in Saturday's 24-lap race, which takes place ahead of qualifying for Sunday's main event.

Hamilton claimed his first podium of the season last time out in Spain, but he endured a scrappy afternoon on Friday, crashing into the opening kerb and running through the gravel in his very first quick lap.

The seven-time world champion managed to sneak through to Q2 but his confidence appeared rocked and he was unable to challenge at the sharp end, finishing more than half-a-second behind.

Ferrari's Charles Leclerc spluttered in the pit lane in Q3, denying him the chance to set a lap, leaving him 10th on the grid, with team-mate Carlos Sainz fifth. Verstappen's Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez finished seventh.

Daniel Ricciardo's RB seat is looking increasingly vulnerable after Red Bull's motorsport adviser Helmut Marko this week indicated the Australian's days could be numbered.

And Ricciardo did little to ease the internal pressure after he failed to make it out of Q1. Ricciardo qualified 16th.

Fernando Alonso could manage only 13th as he was out-qualified by Aston Martin team-mate Lance Stroll who will start 12th.

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