Bottas on pole in Austria, Hamilton to start eighth

Bottas on pole in Austria, Hamilton to start eighth


Valtteri Bottas took the second pole position of his Formula 1 career during qualifying for the Austrian Grand Prix. He is ahead of Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton, who will drop to eighth with his grid penalty. Bottas produced a 1:04.251 on his first Q3 run. That put him half a tenth clear of championship leader Vettel, and two-tenths up on Hamilton.

And on the second runs, both Hamilton and Vettel made mistakes at Turn 1, before Romain Grosjean stopped, bringing out the yellow flags, and Max Verstappen ran off track. As a result,

there were no improvements, with Bottas adding to his maiden pole in Bahrain, and

ensuring that his run of top three starts continues into a ninth round.

Hamilton is set to drop from third to eighth, as a result of his five-place grid penalty for an unscheduled gearbox change. Kimi Räikkönen lapped around half a second slower than team-mate Vettel en route to 4th. He is followed by Red Bull pair Daniel Ricciardo and Verstappen, the latter making mistakes.

Although he ground to a halt late on, amid technical trouble, Grosjean still took seventh, in front of Force India pair Sergio Pérez and Esteban Ocon and Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz Jr. Nico Hülkenberg again led Renault’s charge, just missing out on Q3 in 11th, followed by McLaren pair Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne, and Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat.

Alonso, despite reverting to Honda’s ‘Spec 2’ engine, edged out Vandoorne, who nonetheless radioed that “we’re getting there”, after a tough start to the season. Kevin Magnussen reached Q2 in the other Haas but was unable to take part, after damaging his suspension when running over the exit kerb at Turn 3, leaving him 15th.

Under-pressure Renault driver Jolyon Palmer was close to team-mate Hülkenberg’s pace . But he could not progress to Q2, meaning a seventh Q1 exit from 9 rounds in 2017. Williams, which locked out the front row in Austria three years ago, suffered a double Q1 exit, amid balance woes, Felipe Massa and Lance Stroll struggling to 17th and 18th.

It marked the team’s first double elimination from the first qualifying phase since Britain in 2014. When Massa and then team-mate Bottas dropped out in wet conditions.