F1 Austrian Grand Prix - QUALIFYING RESULTS

Valtteri Bottas will start the Austrian Grand Prix from pole position despite a late off in Q3, the Finn edging out Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton by 0.012s ahead of the 2020 F1 World Championship season opener.

In a dramatic first qualifying session of the year, Mercedes wound up to reveal some scintillating pace in the critical Q3 session with both Bottas and Hamilton dipping into the 1min 02secs bracket to smash Charles Leclerc’s 2019 record, putting them more than half a second clear of third place Max Verstappen.

By contrast, Ferrari endured a torrid day with Leclerc down in seventh position, while Sebastian Vettel missed out on Q3 altogether as he prepares to start the Austrian Grand Prix from a provisional 11th.

 

 

As expected, Mercedes held off revealing the W11s true pace until the closing stages of qualifying as Bottas first topped Q2 before squeezing out Hamilton at the start of Q3 with a 1m 02.939secs benchmark.

However, when the Finn attempted to go quicker on the second revolution he ran wide out of turn four and onto the gravel trap, in so doing hampering those directly behind him, including Verstappen.

Nonetheless, with not even Hamilton able to bridge the miniscule gap to the front it’s unlikely to have made a difference to the results at the sharp end. Even so, Verstappen did make it through to Q3 using the medium compound Pirelli, giving him an alternative option to Mercedes in terms of strategy for the race.

Behind Verstappen, Lando Norris produced a superb career-best fourth place to not only get McLaren ahead of main rivals Racing Point but place the British team ahead of one Red Bull and both Ferraris.

To his credit, Alex Albon showed a strong upturn in pace having risked being eliminated in Q1 by a technical issue before recovering to take fifth fastest.

Though not quite able to live up to their practice pace, Racing Point are still well placed for a good result with Sergio Perez in sixth and Lance Stroll in ninth, the latter managing only his fifth career Q3 appearance in 63 grands prix.

Leclerc gets underway from seventh as Ferrari’s fears over the competitiveness of the SF1000 appeared to be realised, with Carlos Sainz eighth and Daniel Ricciardo – who was following Bottas directly after his off – made to settle for tenth.

With Vettel uncharacteristically down the order in 11th, he will instead have the AlphaTauris of Pierre Gasly and Daniil Kvyat for company in 12th and 13th, ahead of a disappointed Esteban Ocon and Romain Grosjean.

Missing the Q3 cut, Kevin Magnussen gets underway from 16th, ahead of George Russell who confirmed Williams step forward by out-qualifying both underperforming Alfa Romeos and his rookie team-mate Nicholas Latifi.

 

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