Bottas secures pole position at Austrian Grand Prix

Valtteri Bottas sets a new track record to claim pole position at the Austrian Grand Prix

2018 Großer Preis von Osterreichisch, Freitag - Steve Etherington

Valtteri Bottas will start the Austrian Grand Prix from pole position as Mercedes locked out the front row at the Red Bull Ring in qualifying this afternoon.

Bottas’s first flying lap set a new track record, while his teammate was over 0.5s down after running wide and Sebastian Vettel was also off the pace at the start of Q3.

Kimi Raikkonen was Bottas’s nearest challenger ahead of the final runs, while Romain Grosjean threatened to cause an upset, going faster than both Red Bull cars.

Vettel managed to improve his time with his final lap, edging ahead of Raikkonen, while Hamilton also improved, but couldn’t match Bottas, who took further time off previous effort to set a time of 1:03.130.

Max Verstappen was able to overhaul Grosjean on his second run, but Daniel Ricciardo ran wide onto the grass to stop him improving, leaving Grosjean in the top six.

Charles Leclerc headed into qualifying needing a strong performance to minimise the impact of a five-place grid penalty after Sauber changed his gearbox. Despite breaking his front wing when running over a kerb, last year’s F2 champion made it through to Q2, but will start near the back due to the penalty.

Force India’s lack of pace was clear from the start, with Sergio Perez unable to progress from Q1, while Esteban Ocon improved in the second part of qualifying, narrowly missing out on a place in the top 10.

Fernando Alonso’s chances of claiming a spot in Q3 ended on his final flying lap of the session when he ran over a kerb, damaging his front wing.

Provisional qualifying result:

1 Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes)

2. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)

3. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari)

4. Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari)

5. Max Verstappen (Red Bull)

6. Romain Grosjean (Haas)

7. Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull)

8. Kevin Magnussen (Haas)

9. Carlos Sainz (Renault)

10. Nico Hulkenberg (Renault)

11. Esteban Ocon (Force India)

12. Pierre Gasly (Toro Rosso)

13. Charles Leclerc (Sauber)*

14. Fernando Alonso (McLaren)

15. Lance Stroll (Williams)

16. Stoffel Vandoorne (McLaren)

17. Sergio Perez (Force India)

18. Sergey Sirotkin (Williams)

19. Brendon Hartley (Toro Rosso)

20. Marcus Ericsson (Sauber)

*Charles Leclerc has a five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change

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