Leclerc claims superb pole in Austria as Vettel suffers more woe

Charles Leclerc after claiming pole position in Austria

Sebastian Vettel was unable to set a time in Q3, but Charles Leclerc lifted Ferrari spirits with an impressive pole in Austria.

Charles Leclerc claimed a superb pole position at the Austrian Grand Prix by topping Lewis Hamilton, while Sebastian Vettel was unable to set a time in Q3.

Max Verstappen qualified in third position with Valtteri Bottas in fourth, but there could be further movement on the grid with Hamilton facing an investigation from race stewards for an alleged block on Kimi Raikkonen during Q1.

Ferrari driver Leclerc’s lap-record time of 1:03.003 in Spielberg was 0.259seconds better than championship leader Hamilton, who will hope not to incur a grid penalty.

Monegasque Leclerc, who had also topped two of the three practice sessions, led after the first runs in Q3 and went quicker in his second attempt, but it was a day of contrasting fortunes for his team, who have shown impressive speed all weekend.

Vettel remained in the garage at the start of Q3 and exited the car without setting a time due to a mechanical issue.

“It feels good, the car felt amazing, but I’m very sorry for the team for what happened to Seb,” Leclerc said after hearing the result on team radio.

Verstappen, who won last year’s race, was 0.436s behind and will hope he will be promoted to the front row after impressively beating Bottas, who was 0.534s off the pace.

Vettel is set to start in ninth, with Kevin Magnussen – who qualified fifth – facing a five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change prior to qualifying.

Lando Norris and Raikkonen are therefore set to line up on the third row, ahead of Antonio Giovinazzi and Pierre Gasly.

It is the second pole of Leclerc’s Formula One career. He also started first at the Bahrain Grand Prix in the second event of the season and had appeared destined for victory until being struck by a power issue towards the end of the race.

PROVISIONAL CLASSIFICATION

1. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) 1:03.003
2. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) +0.259s (driver under investigation)
3. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) +0.436s
4. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) +0.534s
5. Kevin Magnussen (Haas) +1.069s (has five-place grid penalty)
6. Lando Norris (McLaren) +1.096s
7. Kimi Raikkonen (Alfa Romeo) +1.163s
8. Antonio Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo) +1.176s
9. Pierre Gasly (Red Bull) +1.196s
10. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) no time set

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