For the second successive race, Lewis Hamilton will line up alongside Max Verstappen on the front row of the grid, again however it will be from the second place spot rather than pole!
Hamilton had no answer to Verstappen’s relentless pace in qualifying despite topping the final practice session. The world champion also gave it three goes in final qualifying in a bid to take the top spot, but it was to no avail.
Come the end of qualifying Hamilton wasn’t actually the fastest of the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team drivers, Valtteri Bottas would have been starting the race from second with Hamilton in third but of course has a three-place grid penalty.
So it’s Hamilton versus Verstappen in the Styrian hillside, can the British driver get his revenge for the French Grand Prix?
“Firstly, well done to Max – they have been so fast this weekend and they’ve had two tenths on us through every session. I have been giving it absolutely everything but it just wasn’t the greatest of qualifying sessions for me today. Nevertheless, it’s still the front row after the penalty and we live to fight another day – we’re there with the Red Bulls at the start so let’s see what we can do, it makes for an exciting race.
“I’m proud of everyone’s hard work, and for continuing to push, we’re still in the fight and we’ve done a good job given the circumstances. I’m going try and enjoy my evening, gather my thoughts and come back strong tomorrow.”
“I think we maximised what we could” – Valtteri Bottas
Valtteri Bottas had what would have been a successful qualifying, if it wasn’t for the three-place grid penalty! The Finnish driver got the closest to Verstappen than anyone else, still almost +0.2s behind though.
So it will be a fifth place start for Bottas in the race which he and the team will probably take happily after their recent struggles. Bottas will be looking to make quick progress towards the front early on.
“Today was about maximising the situation, trying to forget the penalty and just be perfect in everything you do. I think it was a good qualifying session, we worked well as a team together to find a good set-up and the changes we made gave me a better feeling in the car than I had in Practice. The lap was good, I don’t think there was another two-tenths to find with our package today so I think we maximised what we could.
“The Medium should be the better race tyre for our car, even though the Soft runners around me will have a small advantage at the start. The key will be to get past them quickly tomorrow – obviously I’d rather start second than fifth but it is what it is, I need to deal with the consequences. It will be close with Red Bull, so far this season they’ve had the edge in qualifying and it’s been tight in the races so we’re looking forward to it.”