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
- Max Verstappen now starts P2 to mark youngest front row in history
- McLaren’s Lando Norris also benefits to start from career best fourth place
- 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
Lewis Hamilton was handed a three-place grid penalty for the Austrian Grand Prix, which means 19-year-old Lando Norris will start one position in front of his fellow Briton.
World champion Hamilton, who was deemed to have impeded Kimi Raikkonen during qualifying, will now start fifth with a host of next-generation youngsters ahead of him in a topsy-turvy line-up.
On the front row are Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, who took his second pole, and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen. Both are 21 – the youngest front row in history. Valtteri Bottas is third for Mercedes, with Norris, the teenager from Somerset, fourth for McLaren.
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
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
‘I’m going to fight the young drivers tomorrow – they’re so talented,’ said Hamilton, 34. ‘I’m representing the old guys.’
But how will Norris feel on the 300-yard drag into the first corner with his illustrious countryman behind him?
‘Why do you always talk about Lewis?’ he said, smiling.
‘I’ll just do my best as I would with any other driver. He will probably pass me at some stage because he has a faster car but I’ll try to stay ahead for as many laps as possible.’
Leclerc was on pole from Hamilton and third placed Red Bull’s Max Verstappen
Hamilton though was investigated by the stewards following the session
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.’
Norris qualified sixth on the road but first moved up a position when Haas’s Kevin Magnussen was bumped down five places for a change of gearbox before moving up again after Hamilton’s indiscretion.
Now Norris has to finish fifth or higher to beat the best results of his putative career, sixth in Bahrain earlier this year.
Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel qualified 10th but will start ninth with little chance of making an inroad into his 72-point deficit to Hamilton in the drivers’ standings.
Hamilton, who leads Bottas by 46 points going into today’s ninth round of the 21-race season, was called to the stewards for obstructing Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen while the Finn was on a fast lap in early in qualifying.
Raikkonen was incensed by the incident at Turn Three and flashed a finger at Hamilton in protest.
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
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. He later said: ‘How can it be so difficult to move out of the way for people? There are radios and the team telling people who is going fast or not.
‘He should have slowed down and let me go. But he slowed down and then sped up.’
Hamilton did not protest his innocence, save to say he saw the Alfa Romeo late and was caught in two minds as how to take evasive action.
The interesting grid answers Hamilton’s recent cry for improvements in the fare – admitting his lights-to-flag victory in France last week was boring.
The third Brit on the grid, George Russell, made it 9-0 in qualifying over Williams team-mate Robert Kubica, though he, like Hamilton, was handed a three-place penalty for blocking Daniil Kvyat.
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
Lando Norris was among those benefitting from Hamilton’s penalty as he now starts fourth
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
Leclerc will now be hoping to end Mercedes’ run of 10 straight race victories on Sunday