Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc qualifies on Pole Position for the 2019 Austrian GP ahead of Mercedes Lewis Hamilton, who is under investigation after impeding Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen in Q1, and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen as the other Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel hits mechanical issues and doesn’t take pat in Q3.
It was a 2nd career pole for the Ferrari driver and a second pole position in the last 3 sessions for the Scuderia. The Monegasque, who topped FP2 and FP3, set the new fastest lap time round the Red Bull Ring of a 1:03:003, over 2 tenths quicker than Hamilton’s Mercedes in P2.
The Brit, however, is under investigation after impeding Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen in Q1. The Finn was on a “hot” lap and when he approached turn 2, Hamilton went off track to give the 2007 World Champion the best line through the corner. The incident is being investigated and could result in a grid drop for the Mercedes driver.
Verstappen, carried-on by the excitement of his fans, took his Red Bull to P3 and was able to split the Mercedes. It was unsure where the Red Bull would be this weekend but in the hands of Verstappen, it has the pace to match the Ferrari’s and Mercedes.
A disappointed Valterri Bottas, previous pole position holder here, was 4th and less than a tenth behind Verstappen’s Red Bull. The Finn will be hoping to have a good race tomorrow in hope of closing the gap to team-mate Hamilton in the championship.
Best of the rest was Haas’s Kevin Magnussen. The Dane put his Haas in an excellent 5th place, just ahead of Lando Norris’s McLaren to head the mid-field.
The surprise of qualifying was the pace of the Alfa Romeo’s. Unsure of the pace of the car, the team were hoping to get both drivers into Q2 and maybe even have a crack at Q3. Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi both managed to out-qualify the Red Bull of Pierre Gasly to 7th and 8th on the grid. Giovinazzi will be hoping for a clean race in order to score his first points of the season.
The second Ferrari of Vettel endured mechanical issues at the end of Q2 into turn Q3. A number of mechanics were around the 4 Time World Champion’s car and with 5 minutes to go in Q3, the German got out of his car and ended up 10th without a timed lap.
Just outside the top 10 was Haas’s Romain Grosjean who headed Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg, Toro Rosso’s Alexander Albon, Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo and McLaren’s Carlos Sainz Jr.
Failing to make it to Q2 was both Williams drivers of George Russell and Robert Kubica, both Racing Point’s of Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll and the Toro Rosso of Daniil Kvyat. Kvyat was severely hampered at the end of Q1 with a lot of traffic towards the end of the Russian’s lap.
The race tomorrow looks to be a very interesting one indeed. Both Ferrari’s of Leclerc and Vettel managed to qualify on the Soft tyre while the Mercedes of Hamilton and Bottas, along with the Red Bull of Verstappen, qualified on the Medium tyre. With different strategies in play, the race hopes to break the trend of boring and predictable races so far in 2019.
The unusual grid is set to be shuffled more with a number of drivers incurring penalties for changing power unit elements. Kevin Magnussen, Carlos Sainz Jr, Nico Hulkenberg Alexander Albon and George Russell will all take a number of grid penalties.
Austrian Qualifying Result
- Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, 1:03:003
- Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 1:03:262
- Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing Honda, 1:03:439
- Valterri Bottas, Mercedes, 1:03:537
- Kevin Magnussen, Haas Ferrari, 1:04:072
- Lando Norris, McLaren Renault, 1:04:099
- Kimi Raikkonen, Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari, 1:04:166
- Antonio Giovinazzi, Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari, 1:04:179
- Pierre Gasly, Red Bull Racing Honda, 1:04:199
- Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, no time set
- Romain Grosjean, Haas Ferrari, 1:04:490
- Nico Hulkenberg, Renault, 1:04:516
- Alexander Albon, Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda, 1:04:665
- Daniel Ricciardo, Renault, 1:04:790
- Carlos Sainz Jr, McLaren Renault, 1:13:601
- Sergio Perez, Racing Point BTW Mercedes, 1:04:789
- Lance Stroll, Racing Point BTW Mercedes, 1:04:832
- Daniil Kvyat, Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda, 1:05:324
- George Russell, Williams, 1:05:904
- Robert Kubica, Williams, 1:06:206