Lewis Hamilton has taken a commanding pole position for the Formula 1 Styrian Grand Prix in a rain soaked qualifying session.
Qualifying for the Styrian Grand Prix was delayed due to torrential rain conditions, but the FIA made the decision to get the session underway 45 minutes later than planned, and when the session finally got going it did not disappoint.
Fastest lap times were being traded by a number of drivers throughout the qualifying session, and in Q3 it appeared to be a shoot-out between Hamilton and the Red Bull of Max Verstappen, until the Red Bull driver made a mistake on his final flying lap, right at the end of the session.
Verstappen spun on the final corner after appearing to be distracted by a car that was pitting, and it meant he failed to improve his time and take provisional pole position from Hamilton.
But, unaware of Verstappen’s mistake, Hamilton continued on his last lap, setting a best time of 1m19.273s, an incredible 1.216s faster than the Red Bull in second.
McLaren once again starred at the Red Bull Ring with Carlos Sainz qualifying third for Sunday’s race, while Valtteri Bottas could only manage fourth.
Esteban Ocon had been fighting for a top three position for most of Q3, but he ended the session fifth fastest, with Lando Norris just 0.003s behind in sixth.
Although Norris ended qualifying sixth fastest, he has to take a three place grid drop and will start the race from ninth.
Alex Albon had a mixed afternoon, struggling for pace in his Red Bull in the opening two qualifying sessions, and although he appeared to improve his pace in Q3, he still ended up seventh, ahead of Pierre Gasly and Daniel Ricciardo.
Ferrari struggled once again to find pace in qualifying, and only one car made it through to Q3, with Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc starting 10th and 11th respectively.
The Williams of George Russell put in an impressive performance to end up 12th fastest, his best qualifying result so far in his career, and Williams’ first Q2 appearance since the 2018 Brazilian Grand Prix.
Lance Stroll could only manage 13th fastest, with Daniil Kvyat and Kevin Magnussen 14th and 15th respectively.
Antonio Giovinazzi caused Q1 to end early after hitting the barrier on the final corner towards the end of the session.
He was able to rejoin the track and continue but, as he returned to the circuit, his Alfa Romeo deposited debris on to the start/finish straight, and the Italian eventually pulled over at Turn 4 with the red flag appearing shortly after.
That meant Kimi Raikkonen, Sergio Perez and Nicholas Latifi were confined to 16th, 17th and 18th, with Giovinazzi 19th.
Romain Grosjean was the only driver not to set a time and will start tomorrow’s Grand Prix from the back of the grid.
Styrian Grand Prix Qualifying Result
|2||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||+1.216|
|7||Alex Albon||Red Bull||+1.738|
|8||Pierre Gasly||Alpha Tauri||+1.755|
|13||Lance Stroll||Racing Point||+0.017|
|14||Daniil Kvyat||Alpha Tauri||+0.089|
|16||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo||1m21.372s|
|17||Sergio Perez||Racing Point||+0.235|
|19||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo||+0.459|
|20||Romain Grosjean||Haas||No Time|