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Hamilton on pole for first Styrian Grand Prix ahead of Verstappen, Sainz

Bottas 4th, Ocon 5th

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By Olivier Ferret

11 July 2020 - 16:56
Hamilton on pole for first Styrian (...)

Lewis Hamilton will start the first FIA Formula 1 Styrian Grand Prix from pole position after a superb final lap in treacherous wet conditions saw him claim the 89thpole position of his career 1.2 seconds ahead of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen who has a spin on his final Q3 lap. Carlos Sainz scored the best qualifying result of his career with third place.

In a furiously busy Q1, in which drivers lapped throughout on an improving but still wet track, Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton led the way with three minutes left thanks to a lap of 1:18.188. Further back Sauber’s Antonio Giovinazzi was seeking improvement but the Italian driver lost control on entry to Turn 1 and spun. The yellow flags came out soon after red flags were displayed, however, as in the closing moments of the session Giovinazzi parked his damaged car at Turn 4. It meant that Hamilton headed the order with Verstappen in P2 with a time of 1:18.297.

However, eliminated at the end of the session were Sauber’s Kimi Räikkönen, Racing Point’s Sergio Pérez, Williams’ Nicholas Latifi, the unfortunate Giovinazzi and Haas’ Romain Grosjean who had an issue on his out lap and didn’t run again in the segment.

Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas led the way in the early stages of Q2, the Finn setting an opening time of 1:19.006. Verstappen crossed the line a second off that pace to take P2, with Ferrari Charles Leclerc third. Verstappen then jumped to the top of the timesheet with an impressive lap of 1:18.155 – half a second ahead of Hamilton.

With seven minutes left in the session Verstappen improved again to keep hold of P1. The Dutch driver set a time of 1:17.938, with Hamilton now 0.278s behind the Red Bull driver. Hamilton was determined to hold on to P1, however and he edged ahead of Verstappen with a time of 1:18.825.

In the drop zone with three minutes to go were Leclerc, Williams’ George Russell, Racing Point’s Lance Stroll, AlphaTauri’s Daniil Kvyat and Haas’ Kevin Magnussen and with none making an improvement in the worsening conditions at the end of the session all five were eliminated when the chequered flag fell.

Verstappen was at the front of the queue at the pit exit as Q3 went green, though the conditions were worsening quickly. The Dutchman set a solid benchmark at 1:21.800 and Hamilton was unable to get close, with the Briton taking P2, almost three tenths behind.

Verstappen then lowered the marker to 1:21.570 but Hamilton was going even quicker and he stole P1 with a time of 1:21.272 before Bottas then went faster again still to take top spot with a lap of 1:21.036. Hamilton, though, soon made his way back to top spot with a time of 1:20.649. Verstappen though was winding up again and he put his Red Bull back into provisional pole with a time of 1:20.489s. Hamilton, though, was not to be denied and he again stole P1 with a lap of 1:19.702.

Verstappen pushed hard on his final run to eclipse his Mercedes rival but as he approached the final corners he was distracted by a car heading towards the pit lane. Max lost grip and drifted through the final corner before snapping back under control as he entered the pity straight. His lap was compromised however and he failed to improve.

Hamilton, meanwhile, was lighting up the timing boards and the defending champion eventually took pole with a lap of 1:19.273, 1.2s ahead of Verstappen. Third place went to McLaren’s Carlos Sainz, with Valtteri Bottas fourth for Mercedes ahead of Renault’s Esteban Ocon and the second McLaren on Lando Norris.

Alex Albon in the second Red Bull ended the session in seventh place but that will become sixth on the grid as Norris is facing a three-place grid drop due to a yellow flag infringement in FP1. Behind Alex, Pierre Gasly qualified in P8 for AlphaTauri with the Frenchman beating Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo and 10th-placed Sebastian Vettel.

Pos.DriverTeamQ1 timeQ2 timeQ3 time
01 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes W11 1:18.188 1:17.825 1:19.273
02 Max Verstappen Red Bull Honda RB16 1:18.297 1:17.938 1:20.489
03 Carlos Sainz McLaren Renault MCL35 1:18.590 1:18.836 1:20.671
04 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes W11 1:18.791 1:18.657 1:20.701
05 Esteban Ocon Renault RS20 1:19.687 1:18.764 1:20.922
06 Lando Norris McLaren Renault MCL35 1:18.504 1:18.448 1:20.925
07 Alex Albon Red Bull Honda RB16 1:20.882 1:19.014 1:21.011
08 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri Honda AT01 1:20.192 1:18.744 1:21.028
09 Daniel Ricciardo Renault RS20 1:19.662 1:19.229 1:21.192
10 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari SF1000 1:20.243 1:19.545 1:21.651
---------------- --------------- ---------- ---------- ----------
11 Charles Leclerc Ferrari SF1000 1:20.871 1:19.628
12 George Russell Williams Mercedes FW43 1:20.382 1:19.636
13 Lance Stroll Racing Point Mercedes RP20 1:19.697 1:19.645
14 Daniil Kvyat AlphaTauri Honda AT01 1:19.824 1:19.717
15 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari VF-20 1:21.140 1:20.211
---------------- --------------- ---------- ---------- ----------
16 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo Ferrari C39 1:21.372
17 Sergio Perez Racing Point Mercedes RP20 1:21.607
18 Nicholas Latifi Williams Mercedes FW43 1:21.759
19 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Ferrari C39 1:21.831
20 Romain Grosjean Haas Ferrari VF-20 -:—.---

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