Qualifying report Steiermark: Hamilton beats Verstappen for pole, Sainz on P3!

11-07-2020 15:51 | Updated: 11-07-2020 16:02
by Thierry Bakker
Qualifying report Steiermark: Hamilton beats Verstappen for pole, Sainz on P3!

A wet qualifying and what a session it was! It was unclear for a long time whether the session would go ahead. It did go ahead and just like the first qualifying session, a week ago, this qualifying was full of surprises. One Ferrari once again dropped out and didn't make it to Q3 with one of the Williams drivers making it through to Q2. In the end it was Lewis Hamilton who took pole position. In the end, the Mercedes was faster than Max Verstappen, who will start P2 on Sunday. Carlos Sainz will start in third place.

From the start of the race weekend it was clear that Saturday would be very wet. The third free practice session was already cancelled, but after a short delay qualifying went ahead. After three-quarters of an hour of waiting for the green light, at 14:46 it was finally time to go on the track.

Verstappen quick out of the box

For Sebastian Vettel this was a huge relief, as he was sixteenth fastest in FP2. He was also the first driver to enter the track. Romain Grosjean was also the first driver to make a mistake at turn four. It was clear to see that the cars were getting faster and faster on the Red Bull Ring.

It was the Ferrari drivers who set the fastest times at the beginning of Q1. Soon Max Verstappen showed that he was one of the favourites for this weekend. The drivers were constantly improving because the track was getting faster and the tyres were getting warmer and warmer. 

Giovinazzi crashed on the wet track

At the end of the first qualifying session, it was Antonio Giovinazzi who lost his car in the last corner, which forced him to put his Alfa Romeo next to the track. Striking among the losers was Sergio Perez. The driver of Racing Point had high expectations for this weekend, but due to the rain, they didn't live up to any of those expectations at all.

In the first session Romain Grosjean, Giovinazzi, Nicholas Latifi, Perez and Kimi Raikkonen were eliminated. In the second part of qualifying, Verstappen showed once again that he is one of the favourites for victory on Sunday. The Dutchman was tremendously fast in the second part of qualifying, together with Lewis Hamilton.

Ferrari eliminated again in Q2

Last week it was Sebastian Vettel who qualified in eleventh place, which prevented him from competing in Q3. This week it was the other Ferrari, Charles Leclerc, who qualified in eleventh place in the second qualifying session. So Leclerc was eliminated in the second session, together with Magnussen, Kvyat, Stroll and Russell, who performed tremendously well for Williams in twelfth place.

The final qualifying session seemed to be a battle between Verstappen and Hamilton. Both drivers were very evenly matched in the first two sessions and also in the third session, they managed to bring out the best in each other. Verstappen was ready to enter the track a few minutes before the green light in Q3, to stay out of the spray of the other drivers. 

Hamilton finally on pole position

It was a very exciting battle for pole position in the third session, with several teams battling for pole. Not only Hamilton and Verstappen but also Norris, Gasly and Ocon were at the top of the field. The track was constantly changing, so the right spot on the track was very important. 

Verstappen spun on his final flying lap and therefore it was Hamilton who came away with all the glory. It'll be an interesting start to tomorrow's race. 

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