Last Updated: 04/07/20 3:16pm
Valtteri Bottas beat Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton to the first pole position of F1’s delayed 2020 season for the Austrian GP despite a huge error on his final lap.
But Ferrari’s fears about their competitiveness at the start of the year were laid bare as Charles Leclerc qualified only seventh and Sebastian Vettel was knocked out in Q2.
Bottas claimed the 12th pole of his career despite running onto the gravel and grass at Turn Five on his final lap in the brand new all-black Mercedes as that he went head-to-head with Hamilton.
It ruined the Finn’s final lap but, despite that mistake, Hamilton wasn’t quite able to make-up the time from the opening runs and wound up 0.012s adrift of his team-mate round the Red Bull Ring.
Mercedes’ advantage over the field on the shortest lap of the season, in terms of lap time, was huge – 0.8 seconds over third-placed Max Verstappen alone.
But Verstappen and Red Bull do have a potential strategic advantage for Sunday’s race after getting through to Q3 on the slower medium tyres – the compound he can now start the GP on.
Mercedes and the rest of the top 10 begins on the faster but less durable soft compound.
That includes Lando Norris, who was simply arguably the star of qualifying by claiming a fantastic career-best fourth for ever-improving McLaren.
More to follow…
The new Formula 1 season is underway Sky Sports F1 with the Austrian GP. Sunday’s race starts at 2.10pm. Find out more & subscribe.