Valtteri Bottas broke the chain of Lewis Hamilton in Austrian GP to secure pole as 2020 F1 season kicks-off handsomely at Red Bull Ring.
It was a hectic first qualifying session in F1 Austrian GP at Red Bull Ring where Red Bull’s Max Verstappen set the quickest time of 1m04.024s from Mercedes’ pair of Bottas and Hamilton in the Top 3 after everyone had to do an extra run apart from Alexander Albon.
The Thai chose not to as he ended up 12th. It was tight at the lower half with Haas’ Kevin Magnussen (1m05.164s) missing Q2 by 0.070s where his teammate Romain Grosjean did get through. Williams’ George Russell (1m05.167s) did well to be 17th.
He managed to beat both Alfa Romeo Racing cars of Antonio Giovinazzi (1m05.175s) and Kimi Raikkonen (1m05.224s), where the Italian had an edge over the Finn despite a gravel moment on his quick lap. Williams’ Nicholas Latifi (1m05.757s) rounded out in 20th.
The strategy game was in display with Red Bull putting Verstappen on the medium compound, while the rest all went with the soft option for their first run. The Dutchman was only sixth, while Albon on the red-coloured tyres could only manage 13th.
Verstappen went out on the soft compound for this second run but didn’t have to improve eventually after finishing eighth. It was a huge moment for Vettel, though, who was knocked out by Albon, who shot himself up to third on his final attempt.
Replays showed an off for Vettel at Turn 1 itself which didn’t help his cause as teammate Charles Leclerc wasn’t setting up the standings either having finished 10th. Mercedes led the way again with Bottas quicker from Hamilton with a 1m03.015s lap.
With Vettel in the drop-zone were AlphaTauri duo Pierre Gasly (1m04.305s) and Daniil Kvyat (1m04.431s) in 12th and 13th, with Renault’s Esteban Ocon (1m04.643s) in 14th and Haas’ Grosjean (1m04.691s) 15th.
With the final session on, it was provisional pole for Bottas with a 1m02.999s from Hamilton and Verstappen after completing their first run. Leclerc was only seventh with Racing Point’s Lance Stroll, McLaren’s Lando Norris and Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo choosing to do only one lap.
The final run saw Bottas have a gravel trip but it was still enough to secure first pole of the 2020 F1 season to start the Austrian GP from the front as Hamilton (1m02.951s) fell short by 0.012s with Verstappen (1m03.477s) rounding off the Top 3.
With just one lap, Norris managed to be fourth with a 1m03.626s to beat Albon (1m03.868s), Racing Point’s Sergio Perez (1m03.868s) and Leclerc (1m03.923s). Remarkably, the Mexican and the Thai set the same lap time.
The Top 10 was rounded out by McLaren’s Carlos Sainz (1m03.971s), Stroll (1m04.029s) and Ricciardo (1m04.239s). The Australian was a bit pissed off with his lap which was disrupted due to yellow flags as it remains to be seen how many were caught out by that.
Elsewhere, GPDA Director Alexander Wurz has stated that the F1 drivers will be free to choose how they want to show solidarity on Sunday ahead of the start of the 2020 season with the Austrian GP, after numerous virtual meets on the topic.
— alex wurz (@alex_wurz) July 4, 2020
UPDATE: The FIA Stewards has summed Hamilton for leaving the track at Turn 10 and also failing for the yellow flag caused by his teammate Bottas. At the moment, he is the only driver in question and has to report at 18:15 local time.
Here’s how FP1 of F1 Austrian GP went
Here’s how FP2 panned out for F1 Austrian GP
Here’s how FP3 went in F1 Austrian GP
Here’s Lewis Hamilton on Sunday solidarity
More to come