Leclerc takes pole position, Hamilton facing penalty, Vettel sets no time in Q3!

29-06-2019 14:10 | Updated: 29-06-2019 15:05
by Nicolás Quarles van Ufford
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Leclerc takes pole position, Hamilton facing penalty, Vettel sets no time in Q3!

Charles Leclerc has taken pole position for Ferrari in Austria, as his teammate Sebastian Vettel couldn't set a time in Q3 because of an issue. Lewis Hamilton is also facing a penalty for impeding Kimi Raikkonen in Q2!

Leclerc looked the man to beat all weekend, topping the tables in Free Practice on multiple occasions as well, and the 21-year-old ended the afternoon by setting a new track record and grabbing the second pole of his young career.

After Q2, Vettel's car took damage on the left side of the car, it seemed, as mechanics were grouped around the German's SF90 but couldn't get it to work so Vettel could compete for pole position with his teammate. He'll probably start from P9.

Hamilton qualified in second but will most likely receive a grid penalty for impeding Raikkonen in Q2 at turn 3, meaning Max Verstappen in P3 would move up to the first starting row at his team's home venue.

Q1

In the first of the three sessions, it quickly became apparent Mercedes had pace issues of some kind. The Silver Arrows were eighth and 12th, with Hamilton seven tenths off the pace and Bottas over a second. On top of that, both Ferrari cars were on the medium tyres as well. In the final minutes, the German team did set the record straight and put in the fastest two laps.

Two drivers knew this session wouldn't make any difference; Carlos Sainz and Alexander Albon. Both of them have grid penalties that will put them at the bottom of the grid, but both drivers did get themselves out of Q1.

The teams that didn't with either car were Williams and Racing Point, with Sergio Pérez coming 16th and Lance Stroll continuing his streak of poor qualifying performances as he got the 17th time. Splitting the teams up in P18 was Daniil Kvyat, who was left very frustrated as he was impeded in his final run by the slow Williams of George Russell at turn nine. The Russian had to take evasive action and go off track, causing his flying lap to be ruined and causing him to be out of Q2. The stewards are investigating the issue after qualifying. To be continued!

Q2

Interestingly enough, Ferrari opted to go out on the soft tyres in Q2, rather than the medium tyre (which Max Verstappen, Bottas and Hamilton did). Needless to say, they had the quickest times, with Leclerc leading the way with a 1:03.459 and Vettel following in second.

Verstappen was third, with the Dutchman keeping both Mercedes cars behind him. To add insult to injury for Mercedes, Hamilton was put under investigation as well for impeding Kimi Raikkonen at turn three, with the Ice Man putting up his middle finger to express his annoyance.

In the elimination zone were Carlos Sainz, who didn't bother to compete as he has the grid penalty anyway, as well as both Renault cars. Alex Albon and Romain Grosjean completed the group of drivers who dropped out.

Q3

That meant, of the midfield teams, Alfa Romeo had both cars in Q3, together with Lando Norris and Kevin Magnussen (who has a five-place grid penalty). 

The Ferrari garage had a bit of a panicky vibe in Vettel's part of it, with a lot of reparations being done on the left side of the car. One of those hard kerbstones damaged the side pod or the floor, it looked like, although Ferrari wouldn't let anyone look at it. In the end, Vettel climbed out of his SF90 without setting a time, meaning he'll start ninth as it stands.

On track, Leclerc was absolutely flying, setting the fastest time in his first run and improving on it in his second run. The Monegasque set a new track record at 1:03.0 and made it his second ever pole position.

Behind him, Hamilton got the second quickest time but is probably set to face a grid penalty, meaning Verstappen, who had the third time, will move onto the first row. Bottas followed behind.

In midfield, Magnussen was quickest in P5 with a massive lap, but the Dane will drop five places because of a penalty, meaning Lando Norris will leapfrog him. If Hamilton indeed gets a penalty, the teenager will even start from P4 for McLaren

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