Charles Leclerc storms to pole position for F1 Austrian Grand Prix ahead of Lewis Hamilton

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Charles Leclerc stars for Ferrari after storming to Austrian GP pole ahead of Lewis Hamilton… but Brit will start fifth after being hit with three-place grid penalty for blocking Kimi Raikkonen

  • Charles Leclerc was fastest by over two tenths from Lewis Hamilton in qualifying
  • Hamilton recorded second fastest time before stewards’ investigation 
  • Brit was penalised for blocking Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen in Q1
  • Ferrari suffer blow with Sebastian Vettel, who was unable to run in Q3
  • German will now start ninth at the Red Bull Ring on for the Austrian Grand Prix
  • READ: All the latest F1 news, features and points tables throughout the weekend 

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc took pole position for the Austrian Grand Prix – as Lewis Hamilton set the second fastest time, before being demoted three places on the grid.

Sebastian Vettel will start ninth after a technical glitch – air pressure line to the engine – saw him step out of his car before the end of the final session. He hugged his team but has little chance of making an inroad into his 72-point deficit to Hamilton in the drivers’ standings.

Max Verstappen was third quickest for Red Bull. Valtteri Bottas was fourth for Mercedes.

Charles Leclerc (right) shakes hands with Lewis Hamilton after landing pole position in Austria

The world champion was the first to congratulate the Ferrari star's dominant pole lap

The world champion was the first to congratulate the Ferrari star’s dominant pole lap

Hamilton was left to reflect on going only second quickest during qualifying in Spielberg

Hamilton was left to reflect on going only second quickest during qualifying in Spielberg

Niki Lauda's son Lucas presents Lerclerc with the pole position trophy after taking his second P1 start of his career

Niki Lauda’s son Lucas presents Lerclerc with the pole position trophy after taking his second P1 start of his career

STEWARDS’ OFFICIAL STATEMENT

‘The stewards reviewed video evidence and heard from the driver of car 7 (Kimi Raikkonen) and the driver of car 44 (Lewis Hamilton) and the team representatives and determined that car 44 unnecessarily impeded car 7 at turn 3.

‘Car 44 had just come out of the pits and was informed of the cars approaching including car 7. Although car 44 tried to take evasive action when he became aware of car 7 approaching on a fast lap, it was not sufficient to avoid impeding car 7 which had to then abort the lap.’

World champion Hamilton was hit with his penalty following the qualifying session for obstructing Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen in Q1.

After the incident at Turn Three, Raikkonen, who was impeded while on a fast lap, was incensed and flashed a finger at Hamilton in protest.

Precedent suggested he was in line for a three-place demotion, as happened in Canada to Carlos Sainz for his hampering of Alex Albon, with the Brit also collecting one penalty point.

However in line with the stewards’ statement, Mercedes have opted to take their opportunity to appeal the decision with an answer expected over night ahead of Sunday’s race. 

Leclerc was on pole from Hamilton and third placed Red Bull's Max Verstappen

Leclerc was on pole from Hamilton and third placed Red Bull’s Max Verstappen

Hamilton though was investigated by the stewards following the session

Hamilton though was investigated by the stewards following the session

The Brit was the subject of an investigation for impeding Kimi Raikkonen in Q1

The Brit was the subject of an investigation for impeding Kimi Raikkonen in Q1

Raikkonen found his entry to Turn 3 blocked by the slow moving Mercedes of Hamilton

Raikkonen found his entry to Turn 3 blocked by the slow moving Mercedes of Hamilton

Hamilton moved off the track to take evasive action, but an angry Raikkonen gesticulated angrily at his old rival before telling his team over the radio that he had blocked him

Hamilton moved off the track to take evasive action, but an angry Raikkonen gesticulated angrily at his old rival before telling his team over the radio that he had blocked him

‘Hamilton totally blocked me,’ complained Raikkonen over the radio. 

Hamilton had called for improvements on the fare – admitting his lights-to-flag victory in France last week was boring – and the topsy-turvy grid that replaced the predictable Mercedes lockout provides hopes of excitement for Sunday’s race in the Styrian mountains.

Rookie Lando Norris qualified sixth for McLaren.

Fellow Brit George Russell made it 9-0 in qualifying over Williams team-mate Robert Kubica. How long can the Pole be allowed to go, hampered, as he sadly is, by the serious hand injury he suffered rallying eight years ago?

AUSTRIAN GP – QUALIFYING TIMES

POLE POSITION SHOOTOUT

1 Leclerc (Mon) Ferrari 1:03.003

2 Hamilton (Gbr) Mercedes 1:03.262

3 Verstappen (Ned) Red Bull 1:03.439

4 Bottas (Fin) Mercedes 1:03.537

5 Magnussen (Den) Haas 1:04.072

6 Norris (Gbr) McLaren 1:04.099

7 Raikkonen (Fin) Alfa Romeo 1:04.166

8 Giovinazzi (Ita) Alfa Romeo 1:04.179

9 Gasly (Fra) Red Bull 1:04.199

10 Vettel (Ger) Ferrari No Time Set

ELIMINATED FROM Q2 

11 Grosjean (Fra) Haas 1:04.490

12 Hulkenberg (Ger) Renault 1:04.516

13 Albon (Tha) Toro Rosso 1:04.665

14 Ricciardo (Aus) Renault 1:04.790

15 Sainz (Spa) McLaren 1:13.601

ELIMINATED FROM Q1

16 Perez (Mex) Racing Point 1:04.789

17 Stroll (Can) Racing Point 1:04.832

18 Kvyat (Rus) Toro Rosso 1:05.324

19 Russell (Gbr) Williams 1:05.904

20 Kubica (Pol) Williams 1:06.206 

* Kevin Magnussen and Nico Hulkenberg have five-place grid penalties

**Alex Albon and Carlos Sainz will start from the back of the grid

***Lewis Hamilton has a three-place grid penalty 

Sebastian Vettel was unable to take part in third qualifying due to a mechanical issue

Sebastian Vettel was unable to take part in third qualifying due to a mechanical issue 

The dejected Ferrari driver looks on ahead of starting ninth for the Austrian Grand Prix

The dejected Ferrari driver looks on ahead of starting ninth for the Austrian Grand Prix

Leclerc will now be hoping to end Mercedes' run of 10 straight race victories on Sunday

Leclerc will now be hoping to end Mercedes’ run of 10 straight race victories on Sunday

 





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