Valterri Bottas recorded a record-breaking lap of 1:04.251 to grab pole for tomorrow’s Austrian Grand Prix ahead of championship rivals Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton.
It looked like Bottas would play second fiddle to Hamilton this weekend, however in a dramatic final session, the championship challenger could not string a lap together. On his first lap, Lewis made a mistake at Turn 3, and on his second lap he made mistakes at Turn 1 and 4, leaving him to settle for third on the grid, which will become eighth after serving a five place penalty for a gearbox change.
This left Bottas to challenge Vettel for Pole and it was his second career pole that he would take ahead of Vettel by just under half a tenth of a second. Talking to Davide Valsecchi on the grid post qualifying, Bottas said, “I enjoyed it today. The car was getting better and better as the day went on and I’m very happy to be on pole.”
Hamilton’s penalty means that it moves Raikkonen, Ricciardo, Verstappen, Grosjean and Perez up a position. Verstappen and Grosjean had dramatic ends to Q3, with Grosjean stopping on the exit of Turn 3 and Verstappen spinning into the gravel at Turn 8. Ocon and Sainz completed the top 10 for Force India and Toro Rosso respectively.
Nico Hulkenberg missed out on a spot in Q3 by just half a tenth and will line up eleventh ahead of the McLaren’s of Alonso and Vandoorne. Daniil Kvyat could not improve on 14th, and Kevin Magnussen will provisionally line up 15th after the suspension broke during Q1.
After not even competing in qualifying in Baku, Jolyon Palmer could only manage 16th, but lines up in front of the Williams cars of Massa and Stroll, who have struggled all weekend, and the two saubers who make up the final row of the grid for tomorrow’s race.
The 2017 Austrian Grand Prix starts at 12:00UTC on Sunday 9th July.