Bottas edges out Hamilton to take Spielberg pole

30/06/2018
NEWS STORY

Ahead of Q1, the air temperature is 24 degrees C, while the track temperature is 33 degrees. There is a 40% chance of rain.

While Lewis Hamilton led Mercedes 1-2s in both of yesterday's sessions, it was Sebastian Vettel that topped the timesheets this morning. Indeed, in a session which saw the German, Hamilton and Bottas separated by just 0.134s it appeared that Mercedes - which has brought a raft of aero updates here - is not going to have things its own way.

While Kimi Raikkonen was fourth, fifth placed Max Verstappen suffered a late electrics issue and as the clock counts down to the start of the opening session work is still ongoing on his car.

The Haas duo were best of the rest, Romain Grosjean narrowly edging out teammate Kevin Magnussen, with the Renault pair in hot pursuit.

Tenth quickest was Charles Leclerc, however, a change of gearbox following his stoppage in the final moments of this morning's session mean a 5-place grid penalty.

This morning, as was the case yesterday, a number of drivers fell foul of the unforgiving kerbs, leaving a number of teams struggling for spare noses and wings. Hardest hit appear to be Toro Rosso and McLaren, not the best of situations when there is yet another race next week.

As drivers push that little bit harder, we can expect a few to go wide over the next hour, and therefore it would not be too big a surprise to see some shocks.

With Williams well off the pace, it will be interesting to see who joins them in failing to get through to Q2, Stoffel Vandoorne, Brendon Hartley, Marcus Ericsson, Sergio Perez and Fernando Alonso looking particularly susceptible.

In the moments before the session gets underway, work is still ongoing on Verstappen's car, but it looks as though the Red Bull driver will make it.

Indeed, in anticipation of his arrival on track, the Verstappen Stand is in fine voice as 20,000 Dutchies prepare to cheer on their hero.

Hartley is first out, followed by Ericsson, Leclerc and Sirotkin.

Auto Motor und Sport reports that Verstappen's engine shut down when he switched to party mode.

Of the first wave, Sirotkin is quickest, the Russian posting 5.598.

While most are on ultras, the Ferrari pair head out on supers.

Tyre strategy, as ever, won't really be apparent until Q2, though up to now there has been very little difference.

As the Mercedes and Ferrari duos begin their first flying laps, Ocon goes quickest with a 5.567.

Bottas posts 4.539, Raikkonen 4.698, Vettel 4.347 and Hamilton 4.294.

Leclerc improves to fifth with a 5.239 as the Bulls head out.

A 5.511 sees Perez go seventh behind Leclerc and Gasly.

Grosjean goes fifth (4.707) as Bottas goes quickest in the first two sectors. At the line the Finn posts 4.175 while Hamilton fails to improve as does Vettel.

Magnussen makes it a Haas 5-6 with a 4.761.

The Bulls sandwich the Haas pair, Verstappen posting 4.640 to go fourth and Ricciardo 4.862 to go eighth.

Hulkenberg and Sainz go ninth and tenth as Renault continues to look best of the rest behind Haas.

No sooner has Raikkonen gone second (4.234) than he is demoted when Hamilton bangs in a 4.080.

Leclerc has incurred damage after pushing too hard and damaged his car on the notorious sausage kerbs.

With 6:00 remaining, Ericsson, Stroll, Perez, Alonso and Vandoorne comprise the drop zone, with Hartley and Sirotkin hovering.

Though told he can do one more lap, Hamilton opts not to.

Stroll improves to 17th, but he'll need to do more. Sirotkin, on the other hand, goes 14th with a 5.322.

Ericsson can only manage 19th, as Hartley goes 15th. Moments later the kiwi is demoted when Vandoorne posts 5.271 to take 15th.

A 4.965 sees Alonso go tenth, typically bravura performance from the Spaniard.

With 73 seconds remaining, Perez is currently last.

Grosjean goes fourth with a 4.242 as Magnussen improves to seventh.

Perez can only manage 16th, while Ocon is also struggling but appears to have made the cut... just about.

Hartley fails to improve while Sirotkin and Ericsson both look set to improve.

Leclerc goes off at T4 thereby bringing out the yellows. At the death however, Stroll produces a 5.264 to go 15th.

We lose Vandoorne, Perez, Sirotkin, Hartley and Ericsson.

Quickest was Hamilton, ahead of Bottas, Raikkonen, Grosjean, Verstappen, Vettel, Magnussen, Ricciardo, Hulkenberg and Sainz.

Of those, only the Ferrari pair were on the supers as opposed to ultras.

Ahead of Q2 it's going to be interesting to see how tyre strategy plays out as the drivers look ahead to the start of tomorrow's race. Thus far there has been little between the supers and ultras so we await to see what the various teams think is the right way to go.

Leclerc is first out, followed by Gasly. Bottas is another early runner, the Mercedes driver now on supersofts. Hamilton is also on the red-banded rubber.

In a bold move, Alonso goes for softs, while the Ferrari pair are on ultras.

"Vibration on the front tyres," complains Hamilton.

Leclerc posts 4.982 while Gasly responds with a 4.874.

Bottas posts 3.756 but Hamilton produces a 3.577.

Raikkonen crosses the line at 3.985 while Vettel stops the clock at 3.767.

As the Bulls head out, Grosjean goes fifth and Haas teammate sixth, ahead of Gasly and Leclerc.

On those softs, Alonso goes ninth (5.058) of nine.

Verstappen goes fifth with a 4.001 with teammate Ricciardo subsequently posting 5.114 to go eleventh. Both are on the supers.

Hulkenberg does ninth (4.881) on his first flying lap, the top eight covered by 0.984.

Sainz, on the other hand, posts 4.561 to go eighth, just behind the Haas pair.

Verstappen asks for his car to be checked on the left after running over the kerbs. "I didn't hit the sausage," he insists.

"I just didn't have enough front grip," admits Ricciardo, "particularly braking."

With 4:10 remaining, the drop zone is made up of Hulkenberg, Ocon, Leclerc, Alonso and Stroll. Gasly and Ricciardo are hovering.

The Ferrari pair head out to get the final Q2 assault underway. Both have stuck with the ultras.

As more and more drivers head out, Grosjean and Verstappen remain in their garages.

Vettel posts 3.544 to go quickest as Alonso runs wide in the final corner and breaks his front wing in an incident that mirrors his teammate's off yesterday.

Hulkenberg improves to tenth, as Ricciardo goes eighth.

Ocon fails to improve and fails to make the cut.

We lose Ocon, Gasly, Leclerc, Alonso and Stroll.

Quickest is Vettel, ahead of Hamilton, Bottas, Raikkonen, Verstappen, Grosjean, Magnussen, Ricciardo, Sainz and Hulkenberg.

Vettel is being investigated for impeding Sainz, the Spaniard appearing to have gone wide in a bid to avoid a collision.

Into Q3 and it will be interesting to see how Renault's 'party mode' compares to that of Ferrari and Mercedes. While yesterday it looked as though the German team had the upper hand, today we have seen that Ferrari has no intention of rolling over.

Check out our Saturday gallery from Spielberg, here.

The lights go green and the Bulls lead the way. In moments all bar the Haas pair are on track.

"Why is Daniel swapping," asks Verstappen after Ricciardo slows to let him pass. Meanwhile, the Australian is told to "get on with it".

Ricciardo does indeed get on with it, posting a 4.252 however this is beaten by his teammate who posts 4.061.

Bottas posts 3.264 while a mistake in S1 means Hamilton can only manage 3.797.

Raikkonen goes third (3.982) while Vettel posts a disappointing 4.260 having made a mistake in T4.

As the rest head back to the pits, the Haas duo head out.

That said, Raikkonen stays out and posts a PB in S1 before going quickest in S2. At the line he posts 3.729 to go second as Grosjean goes fourth with a 3.892.

A 4.764 sees Magnussen go eighth, ahead of the Renaults.

As Grosjean is congratulated over the radio, applause can be heard in the background.

PBs in the first two sectors for both Red Bull drivers. Ricciardo improves with a 3.996 but is demoted again when Verstappen stops the clock at 3.925. Fifth and sixth, the Bulls are currently behind the Haas of Grosjean.

With 2:36 on the clock, Hulkenberg is the first to head out as the final assault gets underway. Making a third run, the Bulls are last out.

Vettel, currently seventh, is the man with it all to do.

A PB in S1 for Sainz, Vettel also. However, Bottas goes quickest in the first sector.

Raikkonen goes purple in S2, but Vettel goes quicker.

Raikkonen posts 3.660, while Vettel posts 3.464 to go second.

Bottas posts 3.130 while Hamilton responds with a 3.149 to go second and lock-out the front row.

Verstappen takes fifth (3.840) while Magnussen holds on to eighth ahead of the Renaults.

"I had a little bit more," says Vettel, "maybe a tenth, but I messed up." Even so, down 0.334s on Bottas, a tenth still wouldn't have been enough for the front row.

So, Bottas takes pole, ahead of Hamilton, Vettel, Raikkonen, Verstappen, Grosjean, Ricciardo, Magnussen, Sainz and Hulkenberg .

Ocon is eleventh, ahead of Gasly, Leclerc, Alonso and Stroll, Vandoorne, Perez, Sirotkin, Hartley and Ericsson.

Despite the promise earlier, Ferrari didn't have enough to derail the Mercedes juggernaut however, with the red cars starting on the ultras tomorrow, and the Silver Arrows on the supers we should be in for a thrilling start.

"I made a mistake on the first lap," Vettel tells Mark Webber in the post-session interview, "I knew I needed a banker to make safe. I qualified in a good position. I had a bit left but not enough to challenge Valtteri."

"I'm really happy," adds Hamilton, "this is a great result for the team and Valtteri deserves today."

"The whole weekend we've made good progress with the set-up," says pole-man Bottas. "The car felt so good, and in the last run I knew there was a tenth or so. I managed to find it and luckily as I needed it.

Asked about tomorrow, he replies: "I need a good clean start, no need to be a hero in Turn 1, and then go for it.

"I can guarantee I'm more hungry for it than anyone on the grid," he grins.

Check out our Saturday gallery from Spielberg, here.

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Published: 30/06/2018
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