Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton took pole for the 2020 Styrian Grand Prix following a dramatic wet qualifying session, following the cancellation of FP3.
Hamilton set a pole time of 1m 19.273 on his final lap of Q3 to edge out Max Verstappen by 1.216s, with the Dutchman having set the initial Q3 pace.
Speaking post session, Hamilton described today as a “tricky day” with “incredibly difficult” weather, although he “love these days.” after suffering a big aquaplane on his penultimate lap.
Carlos Sainz produced a stunning lap to put his McLaren third on the grid for tomorrow’s race, ahead of Valtteri Bottas and Esteban Ocon.
Last weekend’s third-placed podium finisher, Lando Norris qualified sixth but will begin the race from ninth after a three place grid penalty is applied, promoting Alex Albon, Pierre Gasly and Daniel Ricciardo each up a position.
Further down the order, Williams’ George Russell qualified in a new F1-career high of 12th position, which became 11th after Leclerc was handed a three place grid penalty for impeding Daniil Kvyat and drops to 14th.
Q1Embed from Getty Images
Q1 started 46 minutes later than initially scheduled with Sebastian Vettel setting the initial pace, only for times to rapidly start tumbling as drivers pushed to find lap time in evolving conditions as Lewis Hamilton eventually finished fastest with a 1m 18.188.
Giovinazzi brought out the only red flag during Qualifying when he pulled over at Turn Four with damage, following a massive slide at the end of his final flier.
Q1 ultimately wasn’t resumed with 13s left on the clock which meant that Kimi Raikkonen headed the Q1 exits ahead of Sergio Perez, who had struggled “to get the wet tyre up to temperature,”
Williams’ Nicholas Latifi qualified in 18th position ahead of Giovinazzi and Romain Grosjean, of whom failed to set a time due to an ERS water pump issue.
Everyone once again ventured straight out with Hamilton and Verstappen setting the pace as they traded fastest laps, whilst everyone else behind battled to find time further down the field.
Heavy rain however arrived in the closing minutes which prevented the bottom five of Leclerc, Russell, Lance Stroll, Kvyat and Kevin Magnussen escaping elimination at Vettel’s expense, despite 0.100s separating Leclerc, Russell and Stroll from Vettel’s 1m 19.545.
With the rain increasing in intensity, Verstappen was first out and rapidly set down the gauntlet with a series of chart topping laps, only for Hamilton to then seize control and dip below the 80 second mark with a 1m 19.273 with a minute left on the clock.
Verstappen however was responding until he came across Vettel slowly pitting on exit of penultimate corner, which sent him sliding across the track to ruin his hopes of pole position.
Sainz and Bottas meanwhile popped up in third and fourth to demote Ocon to fifth and round out the top five.
|1||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||1m 19.273|
|2||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||+ 1.216|
|3||Carlos Sainz||McLaren||+ 1.398|
|4||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes||+ 1.428|
|5||Esteban Ocon||Renault||+ 1.649|
|6||Lando Norris||McLaren||+ 1.652|
|7||Alex Albon||Red Bull||+ 1.738|
|8||Pierre Gasly||Alpha Tauri||+ 1.755|
|9||Daniel Ricciardo||Renault||+ 1.919|
|10||Sebastian Vettel||Ferrari||+ 2.378|
|11||Charles Leclerc||Ferrari||1m 19.628 (Q2)|
|12||George Russell||Williams||+ 0.008|
|13||Lance Stroll||Racing Point||+ 0.017|
|14||Daniil Kvyat||Alpha Tauri||+ 0.089|
|15||Kevin Magnussen||Haas||+ 0.583|
|16||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo||1m 21.372 (Q1)|
|17||Sergio Perez||Racing Point||+ 0.235|
|18||Nicholas Latifi||Williams||+ 0.387|
|19||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo||+ 0.459|
|20||Romain Grosjean||Haas||No Time Set|