Bottas Edges Out Vettel For Austria Pole

by Alasdair Lindsay

Valtteri Bottas will start from pole position for the Austrian Grand Prix, while his Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton will only start from eighth after a gearbox penalty.

Bottas took advantage of a tow on the run towards Turn 3 to set the fastest time, half a tenth ahead of Sebastian Vettel in second, the German looking to capitalise on the misfortune of his championship rival Hamilton being docked five places. The Brit had gone third quickest overall, but will start from eighth after accounting for his grid drop.

Hamilton’s attempt at damage limitation was hampered by a sideways moment through the first turn on his last flying lap, and yellow flags being shown in the dying seconds of the final qualifying session. One of the causes for the late yellows was a spin through the gravel by Max Verstappen, lighting up his tyres exiting Turn 8. The Dutchman will start in fifth, just behind his Red Bull team-mate Daniel Ricciardo in fourth.

Romain Grosjean had a wild ride on his way to qualifying sixth for tomorrow’s race. The Frenchman flew through the gravel trap at Turn 7 in Q1, only narrowly missing the barriers on the outside, and had another near miss after getting crossed up driving through the final turn in Q2. He went seventh fastest in the final session, but caused a yellow flag with a minute to go in Q3 when he car kicked into anti-stall mode and ground to a halt at the exit of Turn 3.

The two Force Indias were split by Hamilton, with Sergio Perez marginally quicker than Esteban Ocon to inherit seventh, the latter staying put in ninth place for the grid tomorrow.

Carlos Sainz Jr had shown promising pace in Q1 having gone fourth fastest – ahead of both senior Red Bull drivers and eventual polesitter Bottas – but had to settle for tenth in the last qualifying session.

McLaren will line up 12th and 13th on the grid, Fernando Alonso a tenth and a half up on rookie team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne. This comes despite only Vandoorne running the new ‘Spec 3’ Honda engine, Alonso having to revert to the earlier model after an MGU-H failure overnight.

Kevin Magnussen was bitterly disappointed to qualify in 15th place by default, his left-rear suspension breaking during Q1 whilst riding the kerb at the exit of Turn 3. He had progressed to Q2 after ending 12th fastest in the previous session, but Haas were unable to repair his car in time to take part.

“We were looking good so it was really frustrating not getting through qualifying,” he told Sky Sports F1. “I have to assume there was some fault in the production, as I didn’t hit anything. It’s just bad luck.”

Both Williams drivers suffered a shock elimination from Q1, with both Felipe Massa and Lance Stroll forced to cope with a lack of rear grip, the massive oversteer relegating them to the second-last row of the grid.

177Valtteri BottasMercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team1:04.251
25Sebastian VettelScuderia Ferrari1:04.293
37Kimi RaikkonnenScuderia Ferrari1:04.779
43Daniel RicciardoRed Bull Racing1:04.896
533Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing1:04.983
68Romain GrosjeanHaas-F1 Team1:05.480
711Sergio PerezSahara Force India F1 Team1:05.605
844Lewis HamiltonMercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team1:04.424*
931Esteban OconSahara Force India F1 Team1:05.674
1055Carlos Sainz JrScuderia Toro Rosso1:05.726
1127Nico HulkenbergRenault Sport Formula One Team1:05.597
1214Fernando AlonsoMcLaren Honda Formula 1 Team1:05.602
132Stoffel VandorneMcLaren Honda Formula 1 Team1:05.741
1426Daniil KvyatScuderia Toro Rosso1:05.884
1520Kevin MagnussenHaas-F1 TeamNo time
1630Jolyon PalmerRenault Sport Formula One Team1:06.345
1719Felipe MassaWilliams Martini Racing1:06.534
1818Lance StrollWilliams Martini Racing1:06.608
199Marcus EricssonSauber F1 Team1.06.857
2094Pascal WehrleinSauber F1 Team1:07.011

* Five place penalty for gearbox change

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