Valtteri Bottas charged to his first pole position of the Formula 1 season in qualifying for the Austrian Grand Prix on Saturday, heading up a one-two finish for Mercedes as teammate Lewis Hamilton fell two-hundredths of a second shy in the final fight for P1.

After starting second at three of the last four races, Bottas was finally able to go one better and grab his first pole position since last year's season finale in Abu Dhabi with a fastest lap of 1m03.130s.

Bottas sat on provisional pole by half a second following the first runs in Q3 after Hamilton and Ferrari rival Sebastian Vettel both made mistakes, only for the title contenders to close in with their final efforts.

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Hamilton was just 0.019 seconds shy of Bottas with his final lap in Q3, and while he was unable to beat his teammate, it was nevertheless enough to complete a front row lock-out for Mercedes in Austria.

The result marks back-to-back Austrian Grand Prix poles for Bottas, with the Red Bull Ring becoming the first track at which he has claimed multiple pole positions following his success there in 2017.

Vettel recovered from a scruffy first lap that left him P7 to finish qualifying third for Ferrari, lapping three-tenths slower than Bottas, with teammate Kimi Raikkonen set to line up alongside him on the grid in fourth place.

Tension brewed at Red Bull as the team tried to get Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo to work together and create a slipstream, only for both drivers to vent their frustrations, with Ricciardo claiming there was "no point" in his running. Verstappen was told to simply pass Ricciardo on-track, but refused, saying: "It's discipline."

While Verstappen was able to qualify fifth, Ricciardo slipped to seventh in the final classification as the pair was split by Haas' Romain Grosjean in sixth. The Frenchman produced a stunning lap to match Haas' best qualifying result of the season, acting as a boost following his point-less start to the year. Kevin Magnussen took eighth in the sister Haas car, finishing more than half a second clear of Renault drivers Carlos Sainz Jr. and Nico Hulkenberg who completed the top 10.

Esteban Ocon led Force India's charge in qualifying to secure 11th on the grid, edging out Toro Rosso's Pierre Gasly with his final lap to put his fellow Frenchman P12. Charles Leclerc wound up 13th for Sauber, continuing his record of at least making Q2 that dates back to Baku, but will drop to P18 on the grid due to a penalty for changing his gearbox.

Fernando Alonso was left a lowly 14th for McLaren as he paid the price for completing just a single run on the Ultrasoft tyre in Q2, making a mistake on his final hot lap that saw him run wide at the last corner and fail to improve his lap time.

Lance Stroll put in one of the surprise performances of qualifying to reach Q2 for the first time since Baku, clinching 15th on the grid after squeezing through Q1 for Williams. While the Canadian finished well off the pace compared to his rivals in the second session, it nevertheless marked a decent breakthrough for the struggling British team at the site of its most recent pole position four years ago.

Stroll's late improvement in Q1 bumped Stoffel Vandoorne out at the first hurdle in qualifying as the McLaren driver fell 0.007 seconds shy of a Q2 berth, leaving him 16th and continuing his losing streak on Saturdays against Alonso, who finished three-tenths of a second clear in theo pening session.

Sergio Perez was another surprise casualty in Q1 as the short layout in Austria led to traffic as cars bunched together on-track, with the Mexican driver finishing 17th for Force India. Sergey Sirotkin was less than a tenth slower than teammate Stroll, finishing 18th ahead of Toro Rosso's Brendon Hartley and Sauber's Marcus Ericsson in last position as a spin for Leclerc at Turn 4 forced a number of drivers to abandon their final efforts in Q1, preventing any late improvements.

The Austrian Grand Prix begins at the Red Bull Ring at 3:10pm local time (2:10pm BST) on Sunday. 

 

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