Austrian GP - Saturday - Qualifying Session Report

Take a Record and Take Five

Valtteri Bottas, Austrian GP 2017

Valtteri Bottas, Austrian GP 2017 

 © RV Press


By Dan Knutson in Spielberg

Valtteri Bottas set a new qualifying lap record to win the pole for the Austrian Grand Prix in his Mercedes. He will share the front row with Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel. Lewis Hamilton qualified third, but will have to take a five-place grid penalty because his Mercedes needed a new gearbox, and therefore he will start eighth.

So, heading into qualifying Hamilton already knew he would be at a disadvantage in the race. But Hamilton set his fastest lap time in Q2 on Pirelli's super soft tires. He will, therefore, use that compound at the start of the race. Everyone else will be on the ultra soft slicks. Unless it rains of course. Thus Hamilton will be on a different strategy that might help him move forward in the order.

The lineup for the weekend was: Mercedes – Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas; Red Bull TAG Heuer – Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen; Ferrari – Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen; Force India Mercedes – Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon; Williams Mercedes – Felipe Massa and Lance Stroll; McLaren Honda – Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne; Renault – Nico Hulkenberg and Jolyon Palmer; Toro Rosso Renault – Daniil Kvyat and Carlos Sainz; Haas Ferrari – Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen; Sauber Ferrari – Marcus Ericsson and Antonio Giovinazzi.


The ambient temperature at the start of qualifying was 84 degrees Fahrenheit (29 degrees Centigrade) and the track temperature was 109 degrees Fahrenheit (44 degrees Centigrade).

Most of the drivers of the slower and even faster cars immediately fitted Pirelli's ultra soft tires for Q1, but the Ferrari drivers used the super soft compound slicks. Vettel went to the top of the times with a 1:05.585. Hamilton, on the ultras, did a 1:05.238.

Magnussen had a suspension failure, so he was done for the day.

Q1 lasted 18 minutes. With six minutes to go, Massa was 15th and on the bubble.

Out front, it was Hamilton, Vettel, Bottas, Verstappen, Ricciardo, Perez and Ocon. Raikkonen was in 11th and had to go out on the ultras to get up to second.

When the runs were done, the fastest 15 drivers who could move on to Q2 were: Hamilton, Raikkonen, Vettel, Sainz, Bottas, Verstappen, Ricciardo, Grosjean, Perez, Kvyat, Ocon, Magnussen, Alonso, Hulkenberg and Vandoorne.

The five drivers who were eliminated at the end of Q1 were: Palmer, Massa, Stroll, Ericsson and Wehrlein.


Hamilton and Bottas were the first out in Q2. Hamilton was on the super softs and turned a 1:04.800.

The Ferraris had the ultra softs as did Bottas. Vettel did a 1:04.823, Bottas a 1:04.640, and Raikkonen a 1:05.004.

The early order, therefore, was Bottas, Hamilton, Vettel, Verstappen, Raikkonen, Grosjean and Ricciardo.

Alonso was tenth, with Sainz ninth and Ocon 11th. Then Hulkenberg moved into 11th.

Everybody then pitted, and some teams prepared for one final fling in Q2.

Fling flung, the five drivers who were eliminated at the end of Q2 were: Hulkenberg, Alonso, Vandoorne, Kvyat and Magnussen.

The fastest 10 drivers who moved on to Q3 were: Bottas, Vettel, Hamilton, Verstappen, Raikkonen, Ricciardo, Grosjean, Perez, Sainz and Ocon.


Verstappen was first out in Q3 that lasted 12 minutes. Everybody, of course, was on the ultra soft Pirellis.

Bottas flew to a 1:04.251 as Vettel went second with 1:04.293. Hamilton could only manage a 1:04.424.

Raikkonen moved into fourth while Ricciardo headed Verstappen, Grosjean, Perez, Ocon and Sainz.

Verstappen immediately tried again, improved, but stayed sixth.

Next, Ricciardo had another go, but it was a slow lap.

Then the rest of the drivers came rushing out. Grosjean's car came to a stop on track at Turn 3, thus ruining the first sector for the others. Verstappen slid off at Turn 8 and continued.

The top 10 qualifiers (prior to Hamilton's penalty) were: Bottas, Vettel, Hamilton, Raikkonen, Ricciardo, Verstappen, Grosjean, Perez, Ocon and Sainz.

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