Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton stormed to pole position for the Styrian Grand Prix as he outpaced Max Verstappen by a whopping 1.216 seconds in a wet qualifying session.

Heavy rain and thunderstorms threatened to curtail qualifying but following a 45-minute delay, the session was able to start as Hamilton once again excelled in treacherous conditions.

The six-times world champion appeared untouchable throughout qualifying at the Red Bull Ring on his way to claiming a dominant 89th pole of his F1 career.

Red Bull’s Verstappen was his nearest challenger but he was over a second behind, having spun at the final corner on his fastest lap of Q3.

Carlos Sainz starred for McLaren to secure a superb third on the grid for the second race in a row in Austria, ahead of championship leader Valtteri Bottas, who was 1.4s off the pace and only fourth-fastest.

Fifth place went the way of Esteban Ocon as the Renault driver impressed to pip Lando Norris, who qualified sixth but will drop three places on the grid after he picked up a penalty for a yellow flag violation in opening practice on Friday.

Alex Albon was seventh in the second Red Bull, ahead of Pierre Gasly’s AlphaTauri and Daniel Ricciardo, who recovered from his huge crash during Friday practice to set the ninth-quickest time.

It was another difficult qualifying for Ferrari as Sebastian Vettel struggled to 10th, finishing nearly two-and-a-half seconds off the pace.

His teammate Charles Leclerc reported he was “struggling to drive the car” en route to a lowly result of 11th place as Ferrari failed to make it through to Q3 with both cars for the second weekend in a row.

Just 0.009s behind Leclerc came George Russell, whose brilliant performance ensured a Williams car made it through to Q2 for the first time since the 2018 Brazilian Grand Prix.

The Briton secured his best-ever qualifying result in F1 with 12th place and was just one-tenth shy of a spot in the top-10 shootout.

Behind Russell was Lance Stroll’s Racing Point, the AlphaTauri of Daniil Kvyat and Haas driver Kevin Magnussen, who managed 15th.

Kimi Raikkonen missed out on a spot in Q2 by just over two-tenths in 16th, ahead of Racing Point’s Sergio Perez, who was a surprise casualty from the first qualifying session.

Nicholas Latifi was unable to mirror the achievements of his teammate by making it two Williams into Q2, with a late red flag scuppering his attempt to improve from 18th.

The red flag was caused by Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi as he spun off at the final corner and damaged the rear-end of his car on his way to the 19th-fastest time.

Romain Grosjean will start from the very back of the grid after a suspected pump issue with his Haas car prevented him from being able to set a lap time.

FULL QUALIFYING RESULTS FOR THE 2020 F1 STYRIAN GRAND PRIX

 

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