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 big error on his final lap.
But Ferrari’s fears about their competitiveness at the start of the new season 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 new all-black Mercedes as he went head-to-head with Hamilton.
It ruined the Finn’s final lap but, despite that mistake, Hamilton was not quite able to make up the time from the opening runs and wound up 0.012s adrift of his team-mate around the Red Bull Ring.
Mercedes’ advantage over the field on the shortest lap of the year, 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 will now start the GP on.
Mercedes and the rest of the top 10 will start on the faster but less durable soft compound.
That includes Lando Norris, who was arguably the star of qualifying by claiming a brilliant 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.