Lewis Hamilton will start the Styrian Grand Prix from pole position after setting the pace in a wet qualifying session at the Red Bull Ring.
Lap times started to fall throughout the session as drivers got more confident in the rain, but Max Verstappen pushed too hard on his final flying lap, forcing him to settle for second.
The Dutchman looked to challenge Hamilton, but the rear of his Red Bull stepped out, sending him skidding into the run off area, while the reigning champion went faster again with his last lap, posting a time 1.2s faster than his nearest rival’s best effort.
Carlos Sainz completes the top three, while teammate Lando Norris was also in the top six, but the Briton will drop back three places after picking up a grid penalty for ignoring yellow flags during practice.
Last week’s pole-sitter Valtteri Bottas looked like he had the pace to push Hamilton early in Q3, but appeared to struggle with the conditions on the last couple of laps, leaving him on the second row.
Esteban Ocon, on his second race after a year out of F1, outperformed teammate Daniel Ricciardo, while Pierre Gasly put in a strong performance with Alpha Tauri.
An early trip through the gravel ended Romain Grosjean’s hopes, as his damaged Haas remained in the garage for the rest of the session.
Q1 was cut short by a few seconds, as Antonio Giovinazzi spun into the barrier, before having to stop his Alfa Romeo in a dangerous position, bringing out the red flag.
Sergio Perez was a surprise casualty in the first part of qualifying, with Racing Point having looked one of the strongest cars in practice on Friday.
Williams reached Q2 for the first time since the 2018 Brazilian Grand Prix as George Russell found pace where others struggled, posting the 12th best time in the opening session, and matching his performance in the second part of qualifying, putting him alongside Charles Leclerc on the sixth row for tomorrow’s race.
Ferraris qualifying woes continued for a second week, with Leclerc failing to reach the top 10 shootout, and Sebastian Vettel the slowest of the cars to make it through to Q3.
Provisional qualifying result:
1 Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
2. Max Verstappen (Red Bull)
3. Carlos Sainz (McLaren)
4. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes)
5. Esteban Ocon (Renault)
6. Lando Norris (McLaren)*
7. Alex Albon (Red Bull)
8. Pierre Gasly (Alpha Tauri)
9. Daniel Ricciardo (Renault)
10. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari)
11. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari)
12. George Russell (Williams)
13. Lance Stroll (Racing Point)
14. Daniil Kvyat (Alpha Tauri)
15. Kevin Magnussen (Haas)
16. Kimi Raikkonen (Alfa Romeo)
17. Sergio Perez (Racing Point)
18. Nicholas Latifi (Williams)
19, Antonio Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo)
20. Romain Grosjean (Haas)
*Norris will drop back three places due to a grid penalty