Bottas Puts Mercedes On Pole In Austria

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Valtteri Bottas captured the pole for Sunday's Austrian Grand Prix. (Steve Etherington Photo)

SPIELBERG, Austria – Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas secured the second pole of his Formula One career on Saturday at the Red Bull Ring in Austria.

Bottas bested Ferrari driver and championship leader Sebastian Vettel by just four hundredths of a second for his second pole of the season. Bottas’ best lap in Q3 was a 1:04.251, which was just enough to beat Vettel’s 1:04.293.

 

“What a special feeling. It’s only the second pole for me and hopefully there’s more to come,” said Bottas, who also earned the pole for the Russian Grand Prix earlier this year. “It was a good lap in Q3, if not quite perfect. Today was all about building up the confidence in the car. I got it set up nicely and it’s great to get the second pole position of my career. I’m going to focus on my own race, rather than looking behind me tomorrow, but we will not underestimate the Ferraris. It’s going to be close and should be an interesting fight.”

Lewis Hamilton qualified third, but will have to start the race from the eighth position after a five-place grid penalty that was handed down from officials when his Mercedes team made an unapproved gear box change.

As a result, Kimi Raikkonen will move up to third for Sunday’s Austrian Grand Prix. He’ll be followed by Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen.

Two issues on track slowed Q3 in the final moments, preventing drivers from making improvements. First Romain Grosjean’s Haas stopped on track. Not long after that Verstappen’s Red Bull went off into a gravel trap, stopping the session again.

Despite his issues late in the session, Grosjean will start sixth alongside Verstappen in the third row. Sergio Perez will start seventh, with Hamilton lining up eighth after his grid penalty. Force India’s Esteban Ocon and Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz Jr. will start ninth and 10th, respectively.