Bottas takes pole position at Austria

Valtteri Bottas scored an advantage on his Mercedes Formula 1 teammate Lewis Hamilton by claiming pole position for the Austrian Grand Prix despite taking a trip into the gravel on his final Q3 run.

Max Verstappen claimed third place for Red Bull and will start on a different tyres to the Mercedes drivers, with Lando Norris an incredible fourth for McLaren as Racing Point’s pace was only good enough for sixth place for Sergio Perez and Ferrari’s performance faltered further than expected.

Bottas broke the track record at the Red Bull Ring with a lap time of one minute, 02.939 seconds on his first run in Q3, with Hamilton unable to get under 63-seconds on his own first effort in the final qualifying segment as he lost time in the second and third sectors.

On their final flying lap, Bottas improved his time in the first sector but then slid into the gravel at the exit of Turn 4 – later spinning on the grass as he returned to the track – while Hamilton looked to be improving.

The world champion did better his time to a one minute, 02.951 seconds but wound up second on the grid for the race having topped all three practice sessions.

Verstappen took third but will start the race on the mediums after getting through Q2 on the yellow-compound, with Norris rising to fourth with a fantastic final effort in his MCL35.

Alex Albon qualified fifth for Red Bull ahead of the much-fancied RP20 of Perez, who nevertheless beat Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc to P6.

Leclerc was the remaining Ferrari runner in Q3 after Sebastian Vettel did not make it past Q2, but last year’s polesitter ended up nearly a second slower than Bottas’ time.

Carlos Sainz took P8, with Lance Stroll and Daniel Ricciardo rounding out the top ten.

In Q2, which Bottas topped fractionally ahead of Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel was dramatically knocked out when Albon leapt up the order with a late improvement in the second segment.

Vettel had been at risk as he was only tenth after the first Q2 runs, and on his final effort he bounced over the kerbs at the first and final corners, sliding wide on each occasion and not improving as a result, with Leclerc only just getting into Q3 with P10 at the end of Q2.

Behind Vettel came Pierre Gasly in the AlphaTauri, with his teammate Daniil Kvyat in P13, ahead of Esteban Ocon – making his first Formula 1 qualifying appearance since the 2018 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – and Romain Grosjean.

In Q1, which was topped by Verstappen while Albon had a nervous wait as he was not sent out again for a final run in the opening segment, last-gasp improvements from the Haas drivers cost Williams a Q2 slot.

Grosjean squeaked through ahead of his teammate Kevin Magnussen, while Russell, who was P15 before the final Q1 runs, did not improve on his last effort – possibly losing out thanks to a snap of oversteer exiting the downhill right of Turn 4 – and will start P17.

Antonio Giovinazzi ended up P18 after he skated into the Turn 4 gravel trap on his final run, with Kimi Raikkonen behind in P19, ahead of Williams rookie Nicholas Latifi, who took to the track immediately in Q1 to make up for the time lost in his FP2 crash.

So congratulations to Valtteri Bottas with pole position, heading a Mercedes front row. Going to be a fascinating race at the Red Bull Ring.

Qualifying positions for the Austrian Grand Prix:
1 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:02.939
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:02.951
3 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda 1:03.477
4 Lando Norris McLaren-Renault 1:03.626
5 Alex Albon Red Bull-Honda 1:03.868
6 Sergio Perez Racing Point-Mercedes 1:03.868
7 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:03.923
8 Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren-Renault 1:03.971
9 Lance Stroll Racing Point-Mercedes 1:04.029
10 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1:04.239
11 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:04.206
12 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri-Honda 1’04.305
13 Daniil Kvyat AlphaTauri-Honda 1’04.431
14 Esteban Ocon Renault 1:04.643
15 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 1:04.691
16 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 1:05.164
17 George Russell Williams-Mercedes 1:05.167
18 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1:05.175
19 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1:05.224
20 Nicholas Latifi Williams-Mercedes 1:05.757

5 thoughts to “Bottas takes pole position at Austria”

  1. Austrian Grand Prix qualifying report as provided by

    Mercedes continued their vice-like grip on the Austrian Grand Prix weekend, with an emphatic one-two finish in qualifying as Valtteri Bottas escaped an off-track excursion to beat team mate Lewis Hamilton to take the first pole position of 2020.

    Formula 1 has been in a holding pattern as the coronavirus pandemic struck the world, but after nearly four months, the cars finally hit the track – and it was Mercedes, running a black livery in a stand against racism – who continued their rampant form in F1 who seized the advantage.

    Bottas set an early marker with a new track record, pipping Hamilton after the opening salvos. The Finn looked immense in the first sector on the second run, but threw it all away as he lost control of the car and bounced across the track before re-joining.

    That opened the door for Hamilton to take advantage, the Briton running last on track, and while he did improve on his first effort, he couldn’t quite make the difference, finishing 0.012s off Bottas’ pace.

    Max Verstappen, winner of the last two Austrian Grands Prix, was third, albeit it nearly half a second off the pace, but the Red Bull driver will fancy his chances of spoiling the Mercedes party on Sunday, given he’ll be starting on the more durable medium tyre with everyone else in the top 10 on the softs.

    Lando Norris was a brilliant fourth, the McLaren driver recovering from an error on his first run which forced him to back off to put everything together when it mattered in the second runs, edging out Alexander Albon by just 0.024s.

    Racing Point had looked strong on Friday, with Sergio Perez confirming that encouraging pace with sixth and his team mate Lance Stroll ninth. There was not so good news for Ferrari, though, with Charles Leclerc a disappointing seventh, having just scraped through to Q3 in 10th.

    His team mate Sebastian Vettel didn’t even manage that, the German getting the boot in Q2 – he’ll start Sunday’s race from 11th, albeit as the leading driver with free tyre choice.

    READ MORE: ‘I thought we had more in hand’ – Vettel ‘surprised’ by Q2 exit as Ferrari struggle in Austria

    Carlos Sainz was eighth for McLaren, with Daniel Ricciardo making sure Renault had at least one car in Q3 as the Australian completed the top 10.

    So it’s advantage Mercedes heading into race day, with Verstappen lurking in the position he managed to convert into victory this time last year. The scene is set.

    Q1 – Verstappen sets the pace as Russell outqualifies both Alfa Romeos

    Verstappen hooked up his Red Bull nicely early doors to go quickest after the first runs, as Hamilton ran wide at Turn 10 and was forced into doing a second run, which popped him up to second.

    Second time around, Verstappen went one step better, improving on his earlier best – after Stroll briefly went top of the pops – with Bottas beating his more decorated team mate, slotting in just under a tenth clear of the Briton.

    Only Albon opted against a second run, the Thai driver easily progressing in 12th, allowing him to take an extra set of soft tyres into the remainder of qualifying.

    Down the other end, there was misery for Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi and Kimi Raikkonen as they couldn’t escape the drop zone, the duo outqualified by a brilliant George Russell in the Williams, who was inside the top 15 after the first runs, only to get bumped down to 17th, 0.073s from the cut-off, which nonetheless was an impressive result.

    Knocked out: Magnussen, Russell, Giovinazzi, Raikkonen, Latifi

    Q2 – Vettel booted out of qualifying as Verstappen goes bold with strategy

    Red Bull rolled the dice with Verstappen in the first runs, bolting a set of the medium tyres while everyone else went straight for the softs in a bid to offset his strategy for Sunday’s Grand Prix.

    His first run wasn’t too good, but he improved on his second to go sixth quickest, three tenths above the cut-off. His team mate Albon made an error on his first run, but fortunately, he had an extra set of tyres to go again – doing enough to go through in third.

    Up front, Hamilton was the quickest on the first runs, but he was usurped by his team mate Bottas on the seconds, the Silver Arrows in a league of their own as they comfortably occupied the top two spots in the rankings.

    Norris was impressive, too, the McLaren driver going fourth quickest, ahead of the impressive Racing Point duo and his more experienced team mate Sainz.

    There was bad news for Ferrari, though, Leclerc just scraped through in 10th, but a scrappy final lap from Vettel meant he wasn’t so lucky, the German ending up 11th to force him out of qualifying. It was super close, though, with just four tenths splitting fourth and 11th.

    Knocked out: Vettel, Gasly, Kvyat, Ocon, Grosjean

    Q3 – Bottas fends of Hamilton as Norris stars

    It was advantage Bottas after the first runs, the Finn beating Hamilton, ahead of the two Red Bulls of Verstappen and Albon, as Stroll and Ricciardo opted for just one run.

    After the first runs, the eight boxed for new boots and splash of fuel, with the two Mercedes the last two rejoin the fray. Bottas seemed to have his Mercedes hooked up perfectly as he nailed the opening sequence of corners, only to run wide at Turn 4 and bounce across the gravel.

    Hamilton will have seen his team mate run off track, and kept his head down, setting a couple of purple mini-sectors in the middle loop, but he couldn’t find enough time in the first sector to usurp his team mate.

    This was Mercedes’ 65th front row lock out, tying Ferrari’s all-time record, and their first since Silverstone almost exactly one year ago. Bottas, meanwhile, now has three poles in Austria, more than at any other venue.

    Norris was on the pace from Q2 and he delivered when it mattered once more in Q3 to secure a career-best fourth on the grid, while Albon and Perez clocked exactly the same time, Albon taking fifth by virtue of achieving the feat first.

    Intriguingly, Leclerc took seventh with a time that was a massive 0.920s slower than he managed last year, when he took pole position in Austria.

  2. Ferrari’s lack of performance in qualifying was a real “surprise” for Sebastian Vettel. has the news story.

    Sebastian Vettel has called Ferrari’s disappointing performance in qualifying for the Austrian Grand Prix “a surprise” after being eliminated in Q2.

    Ferrari was expecting to struggle at the Red Bull Ring after revealing it had delayed bringing any updates for its SF1000 car until the Hungarian Grand Prix, opting to change its aerodynamic approach.

    But 12 months on from Charles Leclerc’s charge to pole position at the same track, Ferrari got just one car through to Q3 after Vettel finished 11th in the second stage of qualifying.

    Leclerc scraped through to the final stage of qualifying in 10th before ultimately finishing seventh in Q3, trailing cars from Mercedes, Red Bull, McLaren and Racing Point.

    After learning he had only placed 10th in Q2, Leclerc told his engineer it was “crazy”, while Vettel was also left shocked by Ferrari’s struggles.

    “Obviously it’s a surprise,” Vettel said of his qualifying performance.

    “We thought we had a little bit more in hand, but it looks like the others were probably running a bit more fuel, a bit more conservative in practice.

    “I wasn’t quite happy with the car, I was not so happy with the car, quite more oversteer on entry than I would have liked. But we’ll see.”

    Vettel was more upbeat about Ferrari’s chances for the race on Sunday, believing the higher temperatures compared to Friday’s practice running had worked against the team.

    “Tomorrow is a different picture,” Vettel said.

    “I think with the track getting a bit hotter, it was a bit more costly for us today.

    “It’s a long race. I think in race trim we are always better. I think we will be there to make up some good ground and score some good points.”

    Leclerc only rose to P7 after improving on his second lap time, having been the slowest of the drivers to set a time during the first Q3 runs.

    He narrowly out-qualified McLaren’s Carlos Sainz, and trailed midfield leaders Lando Norris and Sergio Perez.

    Valtteri Bottas scored pole position for Mercedes in Austria ahead of teammate Lewis Hamilton, with Red Bull also getting both of its cars in the top five.

  3. Mercedes in its “own league” in Austria, admits Valtteri Bottas. has the details.

    Mercedes Formula 1 driver Valtteri Bottas says that his team is in its “own league” after a dominant performance in qualifying in Austria, while teammate Lewis Hamilton insisted he didn’t expect to see such an advantage.

    Bottas was fastest on the first runs in Q3, but went off the road on his second. However teammate Hamilton failed to beat Bottas’ time, allowing the Finn to hold onto pole position.

    The closest challenger to the Mercedes drivers, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, was over half a second behind in third.

    “It feels really good,” said Bottas. “I’ve missed these feelings – after the qualifying ‘shakes’, it’s something special when you’ve pushed the car to the limit, and I’ve obviously been preparing this for a long time. It feels so good. You can’t say more than that, and our team, amazing job, we seem to be in our own league.

    “It’s very impressive to see, it’s only the first qualifying of the season, but I’m so impressed, so thanks everyone in the team, all the factories. It’s a truly amazing car to drive, but tomorrow is what matters.”

    Hamilton said that the team’s form came as a surprise.

    “We definitely didn’t expect to have that gap,” said the reigning world champion. “But it’s a true showing of the great work that everyone back on the factory continues to do. Valtteri did a better job with his lap, and it’s amazing. I don’t know what to say really, we did not expect to have that sort of gap.

    “Definitely quick enough to be fighting for the lead, but there were different showings of the other teams, sometimes quick, sometimes a little bit further behind. That’s the true showing of our car, and we plan on trying to improve that.”

    Hamilton said there are good reasons why Mercedes started the year so strongly.

    “I think we show year-on-year that we are the best team, that’s because we are open-minded, we’re current with the times,” he said. “The guys that I work with are never too stubborn to admit that they might be wrong, and we’re constantly always learning from each other.

    “We’re always pushing the boundaries. There’s not really any politics within the team, so it’s a united team that we push together. That’s why every year we come back, because that’s not necessarily always the same in teams.

    Regarding his own performance he added: “The car was great, I just didn’t manage to put the greatest lap together, so work for myself to do. I’ll just go back to the drawing board and work harder.”

    Hamilton said his lap was not compromised by Bottas running off the road in front of him.

    “I came round Turn 4 I think, and there as a big puff of dust. I didn’t know where the car was or anything like that, but I managed to see that Valtteri was just about to come back on the track. Fortunately it didn’t really affect the lap, and he kept his position.”

  4. Qualifying star Lando Norris admitted he never expected to outqualify Racing Point cars. has the news story.

    McLaren Formula 1 driver Lando Norris admits he was surprised to outpace the Racing Point cars in qualifying for the Austrian Grand Prix.

    Norris put on a superb performance to finish fourth behind the two Mercedes and the Red Bull of Max Verstappen.

    Racing Point’s Sergio Perez was the best-placed driver from the Silverstone team in sixth place, and blamed the lack of a tow in Q3 for a slight loss of performance when it mattered.

    Norris also qualified four places and over 0.3s ahead of his teammate Carlos Sainz.

    “We have our expectations of where we thought we want to be,” said Norris. “And from the very beginning the Racing Points have been extremely quick, so we never really thought we’d be within the chance of beating them or getting close to them.

    “But as we went to lower fuel and into qualifying the car started to come alive and feel much better. This track last year was very good for us.

    “We had good confidence in the car and it suits it. Hopefully the race tomorrow goes well and we have two weekends of this.”

    Norris conceded that Racing Point will be strong on Sunday.

    “They were definitely quicker than us on Friday. And like we said, we weren’t expecting this at all.

    “So I’d 100% take it for now, but as much as I’ll be looking ahead in the race, and trying to go forward, I think there’s a lot of cars behind us – the Ferraris especially, their race pace is very strong.

    “For some reason their qualy pace is a long way off. But so is the Racing Point. They have a good car, they have a lot of downforce. I think they can look after their tyres slightly better than us, so it’s gonna be a difficult job, but if I can stay around where I am, then I’ll be happy.”

    Perez could not better his Q2 lap in Q3, and set the same qualifying time as fifth placed Alex Albon. However the Red Bull driver takes priority, as he logged it first.

    “I matched my Q2 time, I didn’t find anything more in Q3,” said Perez. “I probably lacked a bit of a tow, which I didn’t have in Q3, I was on my own. I was unlucky, I did the same time as Albon, unfortunately he did it first. Otherwise, I think a good performance.

    “I think it was a clean lap, a good lap all around, as I say I think I was losing a bit too much lap time on the straights, not having the tow really hurt me compared to my Q2 time.

    “But I think we are in a good place for tomorrow, I think our race pace should be competitive, and we should be aiming to move forward already from lap one.”

    Perez stressed that the consistency of the RP20 was a great strength.

    “It really makes a difference,” said the Mexican. “I think the car has been so consistent since we took it out of the truck. It’s been working in all different scenarios. So I’m very confident, and especially for tomorrow I think our race pace should be strong. Obviously it’s a bit of an unknown, but we’re certainly in the mix.”

    Regarding the potential for a battle with Norris he said: “I think the McLarens, we expected them to be up here with us. I think tomorrow we should be able to entertain the fans.”

  5. Max Verstappen says balance issues with his Red Bull meant the gap to Mercedes in qualifying for the Austrian Grand Prix was bigger than it should be.

    The Dutchman has spent the weekend trying to get the best out of a new wing philosophy that his team has brought to the Red Bull Ring, and he admitted that he still had not got a perfect set-up for qualifying.

    After ending up 0.538 seconds adrift of pole position man Valtteri Bottas, Verstappen reckoned that his car had potential to do better, although he was sceptical about being able to beat the dominant Mercedes.

    “I wasn’t entirely happy with the balance, like some corners were good and some were not,” he said. “So then, you know, the gap can be a bit bigger. But still I think half a second is still quite a decent gap.

    “But what do you say about it? You know we just need to work harder and try to close up.”

    While Verstappen said his home fans may be alarmed by how far behind Mercedes he has ended up after promising form in pre-season testing, he still thinks there is promise in the Red Bull package.

    “Of course it’s not what we want,” he said about the half second difference. “But anyway I was not very happy with the overall balance we had in the car.

    “As soon as we can sort that a bit better, then maybe it looks already a bit nicer. I don’t say that we would have beaten them, but let’s see.

    “I mean, it’s eight races, and we have another weekend here anyway. So we’ll just take this on board, learn a lot throughout this weekend, and hopefully we can do better next week.

    “I mean there are no dramas yet. Maybe in Holland there is but I don’t care. I just focus on myself and the team.”

    Strategy bid

    Despite lacking the pace to beat Mercedes, Verstappen thinks there is still a chance to make life difficult for his rivals in the race having opted for a different starting tyre strategy.

    He scraped through Q2 on the medium, and that could help him with temperatures expected to be much warmer for Sunday’s race.

    “It’s going to be interesting,” he explained. “It’s going to quite a bit warmer tomorrow, so I hope that’s going to play in our advantage.

    “Clearly today Mercedes was on a different level, unfortunately, Let’s see how we can do tomorrow.

    “Last year we were also a little bit off in qualifying, so I expect we are a little bit better in the race. I’m the only one on a different tyre in the top 10, so I’m just looking forward to it. We have nothing to lose, so I’ll try to make it as difficult as possible for them.”


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