Valtteri Bottas beat team-mate Lewis Hamilton to pole position for the Austrian Grand Prix by 0.019s, whilst Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel ended third fastest, however both Hamilton and Vettel made good recoveries after mistakes in their first Q3 runs.
Bottas’ fastest lap-time was a 1.03.130s, which gave him a 0.019s advantage over his Formula 1 team-mate Lewis Hamilton, whilst Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel was 0.334s off the benchmark.
Hamilton and Vettel both had to ensure for a clean second run after the two ran wide at different occasions during their first Q3 run.
Story of the session
As the light went green, Brendon Hartley was first to take to circuit, closely followed by Charles Leclerc, who was set back up a five place grid penalty following a gearbox failure in practice 3.
As the drivers finished their first runs, Williams claimed an early 1-2, with Sirotkin heading Stroll by 0.032s, as they dropped the Sauber of Leclerc to third place, but all within a tenth.
As the front-runners finished their first runs, Hamilton headed Vettel by just 0.053s, with Bottas 0.2s behind after a scruffy first run. Meanwhile, Kimi Raikkonen’s struggles continued – and was almost half a second off the benchmark. Bottas went for a second attempt and improved to a 1.04.175s, which gave him a 0.1s advantage over the field.
Whilst Vettel pitted after he couldn’t improve upon his second run, Raikkonen momentarily went second fastest until Hamilton returned to the top of the time-sheets with a 1.04.080s, which gave him 0.095s over his team-mate.
As Q1 came to an end, Vandoorne, Perez, Sirotkin, Hartley and Ericsson all faced elimination, whilst Williams’ run of consecutive Q1 eliminations came to an end as Stroll just about made the jump into Q2, whilst Perez’ elimination was one of the biggest surprises.
As the light went green for Q2, Charles Leclerc was first to take to circuit, as the young Monegasque was keen to make up the ground he was soon due to lose for the 5-place grid penalty.
In terms of tyre strategy, the Mercedes took the super-soft tyres whilst the Ferrari took the ultra-soft tyres in the first part of Q2 as their preferred race start tyre.
As the first runs came to an end, Mercedes headed a 1-2 despite running the slower tyres. Hamilton set a 1.03.577s, with a 0.179s advantage over Valtteri Bottas, whilst Vettel was 0.190s off the benchmark on the faster Pirelli Formula 1 tyres.
Upon their second runs, Vettel went fastest by 0.033s on a new set of ultra-soft tyres, whilst Fernando Alonso broke his front wing against the kerbs and hence faced elimination from Q2.
As the light went green for the shootout for pole, the two Red Bull’s headed for the circuit, whilst the two Mercedes and Ferrari’s followed suit – and all took a very slow approach to their outlap.
Bottas went provisional pole with a 1.03.264s, whilst both Hamilton and Vettel made mistakes and were third and seventh respectively after their initial Q1 runs, whilst Raikkonen went second fastest.
Upon their second runs, Bottas increased his advantage to a 1.03.130s, whilst Hamilton went second fastest, with Vettel improving to third place.