It was an exciting qualifying in Austria, where Red Bull Ring's long straight help Ferrari to be back in pole position. Charles Leclerc took his second career pole position and will share front row with five time world champion Lewis Hamilton. Second row for Max Verstappen and Valtteri Bottas, as Sebastian Vettel closes 10th after skipping Q3 for a reliability issue on his SF90.
The session started and it’s already drama: Hamilton blocked Kimi Raikkonen in Turn 3, who gives him the middle finger and puts the Finn on elimination zone. The “block” has been noted and it will be investigated after the race.
Leclerc immediately topped the chart with a 1:04.304, three tenths of a second faster than Vettel. Superb second for Gasly in 1:04.412, but he is on red tyres. Ferraris are both on yellows and improves in 1:04.138.
Verstappen goes second in 1:04.339 with softs, while Gasly said he lost power – as this morning - after second lap.
In the battle for Q2, Raikkonen, Kvyat, Stroll and the two Williams are in the elimination zone with 2 minutes to go.
Verstappen last minute go to take P1 with 1:03.807. Raikkonen goes ninth as Norris is a spectacular fifth. Hamilton is second at 1.03.818. The two Racing Point of Perez and Stroll are 16th and 17th and they’re out. Russell and Kubica closes the starting grid for tomorrow. Kvyat found a lot of traffic in his good lap and he is out in 18th place: the Russian driver took a big risk avoiding accidents into Turn 9, which has been noted by the stewards.
Hamilton opened up the session in 1:04.157, immediately beaten by Bottas and then Verstappen, who goes faster in the early stages with a 1:03.835. All three drivers are going with medium tyres, when Ferrari chose softer compounds. Using red tyres, Leclerc put himself in first with 1:03.459, Vettel is second in 1:03.667.
After first run, great seventh place for Lando Norris, just in front of Kimi Raikkonen, as they are both close to Gasly in sixth. Drivers at risk are Hulkenberg, Albon, Grosjean, Ricciardo and Sainz.
Another medium tyres run for both Mercedes, with Bottas improving fourth, while Hamilton aborted his lap as the Brit goes off to the external kerbs once again in Turn 1.
In the fight for Q3, great 7th and 8th for Raikkonen and Giovinazzi from Alfa Romeo Racing. Ninth place for Lando Norris in front of Kevin Magnussen. The drivers who are not making it into third qualifying are Grosjean, Hulkenberg, Albon, Ricciardo and Sainz. Bad qualifying for Renault, with both drivers struggling from Friday here in Austria.
But even more drama are happening for Ferrari as Sebastian Vettel’s SF90 is having problems inside the box. The Scuderia will have very little time to fix the car, all under FIA technical delegate’s eyes.
The two Alfa Romeo drivers are the first to get on track, with Raikkonen beating Giovinazzi by just 8 thousandths of a second. Every top 10 drivers goes then on track, but Vettel who is still in the garage with his car open. Leclerc goes P1 after first run with a 1:03.208 and it’s three tenths faster than Bottas who is second. Third Max Verstappen in 1:03.861, just in front of Lewis Hamilton.
4 minutes to go and Sebastian Vettel is now out of the car. The German thanks all his mechanics but there’s no time to repair is car. The four time world champion will start with his Ferrari from P10 in the grid.
Last round of laps and Leclerc goes even faster with a 1:03.003, new track record. Second is Lewis Hamilton in 1:03.262. Second row is about Verstappen and Bottas, half a second behind. Third row is for Kevin Magnussen with an incredible fifth place and Lando Norris. Top ten is closed with Kimi Raikkonen, Antonio Giovinazzi, Pierre Gasly and Sebastian Vettel who didn't have a lap in third qualifying.