Rain may force cancellation of Styrian GP qualifying – Masi

It's raining hard at the Red Bull Ring today
It's raining hard at the Red Bull Ring today

(GMM) Eyes are turning to the skies above the Red Bull Ring, with qualifying likely to be affected by heavy rain.

Max Verstappen is happier with his Red Bull than he was a week ago, but his boss Dr Helmut Marko told Osterreich the weather forecast "can mess everything up".

"It is supposed to rain buckets on Saturday," he said. "I'm curious to see if we can do qualifying at all."

Indeed, F1 race director Michael Masi agreed that the weather forecast is "very bad".

"We could have to move qualifying to Sunday morning," he is quoted by La Gazzetta dello Sport.

Mercedes' Toto Wolff said: "There should be torrential rain all day tomorrow, so I don't rule out that the second practice session will be regarded as qualifying."

In that session on Friday, Dutchman Verstappen was fastest ahead of last weekend's winner Valtteri Bottas.

World champion Lewis Hamilton is struggling.

"We're a little in the dark," Wolff told RTL. "The balance was not good on either car, but it was a catastrophe for Lewis.

"We are certainly the team that has lost the most compared to Verstappen."

A stand-out performer is Racing Point, whose Sergio Perez was never outside the top three on Friday.

"If we stop making strategic mistakes, we can be the third best team," said team boss Otmar Szafnauer. "We can keep up with Albon and we are faster than McLaren, Ferrari and Renault."

Ferrari, meanwhile, still do not look fast in Austria despite running a new front wing and floor. A more upbeat Sebastian Vettel said it felt like "a different car compared to last week".

Finally, Daniel Ricciardo admits he is "bruised" but otherwise fine after a heavy practice crash, while Lando Norris only got through the session thanks to painkillers for back and chest pain.

"Outside the cockpit I feel nothing, but as soon as my body is under strain I'm struggling," said last week's podium-getter.

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