SPIELBERG, Austria – Valtteri Bottas outran his Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton to earn the pole for the season-opening Formula One Austrian Grand Prix on Saturday at the Red Bull Ring.
Bottas’ fast lap on his first attempt in Q3 was enough to earn him the pole over Hamilton. His 1:02.939 lap was barely enough to nip Hamilton, who put down a 1:02.951 lap to fall just shy of Bottas’ time.
The Finn could have bettered his fast lap during his second run in Q3, but he ran wide in turn four and went through a gravel trap before returning to the track. That off-track escapade cost him a shot to improve his time, but it didn’t cost him the pole.
“This feels really good. I missed this feeling – I was shaking after qualifying,” Bottas said.
“It’s something really special to be able to push the car to its limits. We’ve been preparing for this for such a long time now and you never now where you really stand. But our team did such an amazing job, it’s very impressive to see. It’s still very early days, this was only the very first qualifying session of the season, but I’m so impressed by what our team has been able to achieve. A big thank you to everyone in the team, both here at the track and back home at the factories – this is a truly amazing car to drive. I’m very happy with the result today, but it’s tomorrow that counts, so we need to keep our heads down and keep working hard.”
Max Verstappen was the best of the rest, qualifying third in his Red Bull Honda entry. He was around half a second slower than Bottas in the final round of qualifying.
Lando Norris impressed by qualifying fourth for McLaren, with the second Red Bull driven by Alexander Albon taking fifth. Racing Point’s Sergio Perez qualified sixth, with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc slotting in seventh.
McLaren’s Carlos Sainz, Racing Point’s Lance Stroll and Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo completed the top-10. Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel struggled for pace during qualifying, settling for 11th after failing to advance to Q3.