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Austrian GP: Qualifying team notes - Pirelli

NEWS STORY
04/07/2020

Valtteri Bottas took pole (with Mercedes going fastest in all the free practice sessions as well) to claim a unique rainbow Pirelli Pole Position Award tyre: symbolising the fight against Covid-19 and promotion of inclusivity that is a key message of Formula 1.

Max Verstappen will be the only driver in the top 10 to start on the medium tyres, having used them to set his fastest time in Q2. Last year's Austrian Grand Prix winner will start from third on the grid.

The midfield in particular is very close (the Red Bull of Alex Albon in P5 and the Racing Point of Sergio Perez in P6 actually set identical times in Q3). With such a short lap and just one pit stop expected, the timing of that stop will be even more crucial than usual when it comes to gaining track position.

Starting from P11, Sebastian Vettel's Ferrari will be the highest-placed car with a free choice of tyres, handing him the opportunity to do something quite different from his immediate rivals.

Mario Isola: "Bottas's pole position time set the all-time track record at the Red Bull Ring today, underlining that the cars have evolved while this year's P Zero tyre range stays the same as 2019. The most interesting strategic moment from qualifying was Verstappen's decision to start the race on the medium tyre, which should allow him to plan a more flexible strategy - with potentially a longer first stint than his rivals. This could be crucial to the race outcome. As expected with a short lap and tightly-matched field, we saw mostly the soft tyre used from start to finish of qualifying. Each team needed to be sure to get the most out of their cars, given how close the margins were. But in the race tomorrow, all three compounds should have an important role to play."

Check out our Saturday gallery from Spielberg, here.

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