Austrian Grand Prix – Charles Leclerc secured pole position for Ferrari ahead of Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen, as team-mate Sebastian Vettel hit technical troubles.
Taking only his second pole position in Formula One, the hopes of Ferrari are now firmly on the shoulders of the young Monegasque driver after team-mate Sebastian Vettel hit technical troubles in the final part of qualifying.
With Ferrari going against Mercedes’ and Red Bull’s strategy of starting the race on the medium-compound tyre, taking pole position was paramount to Ferrari’s chances of winning the Austrian Grand Prix.
Leclerc duly delivered with a lap time of 1:03.003, beating championship leader Hamilton by one-quarter of a second.
Hamilton, however, will be investigated by the stewards for potentially blocking Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen in the opening part of qualifying. The Briton appeared to be unaware of Raikkonen’s presence at turn three and was on the apex of the corner when the Finn arrived on a flying lap.
Max Verstappen will be the first man to benefit, should a penalty be handed to Hamilton, with the Dutchman taking third place in qualifying, edging ahead of the second Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas.
An ecstatic Kevin Magnussen took fifth place for Haas, out-qualifying midfield rivals Lando Norris (McLaren), Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi (both Alfa Romeo). The Dane, however, will take a five-place grid penalty, handed to him earlier in the day, and start the race from tenth.
Pierre Gasly endured a tough Q3 session, finishing ninth in the final session, although this will be promoted to eighth due to Magnussen’s penalty.
Romain Grosjean was a few hundredths of a second away from making Q3, whilst Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg qualified in twelfth and Toro Rosso’s Alex Albon in thirteenth.
The second Renault of Daniel Ricciardo could only manage fourteenth, ahead of the already-penalised McLaren of Carlos Sainz, who refrained from properly contesting Q2.
The two racing Point drivers of Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll were narrowly knocked out of Q1, whilst Daniil Kvyat’s final flying lap held up by Williams’ George Russell, leaving the Toro Rosso driver down in 18th.
The Williams duo of Russell and Robert Kubica will line up on the back row of the grid once again.