Charles Leclerc flies to Austrian GP pole, setback for Sebastian Vettel

Charles Leclerc in action for Ferrari F1 in Austria

Ferrari youngster Charles Leclerc set a new track record at the Red Bull Ring as he stormed to pole position for Formula 1’s Austrian Grand Prix.

Leclerc, who led the way through practice, was on top throughout Q3 as he posted a provisional pole position effort of 1:03.208.

On his final Q3 run he improved further by posting a 1:03.003, leaving him 0.259s clear of World Champion Lewis Hamilton, to secure the second pole position of his career.

Hamilton, though, faces an investigation for allegedly impeding Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen in Q1, with the pair set to meet the stewards at 17:00 local time.

Defending race winner Max Verstappen split the Mercedes drivers as he took third position, leaving Valtteri Bottas in fourth spot.

Sebastian Vettel was in the mix towards the front of the pack but upon completing Q2 Ferrari mechanics rushed to the left-hand-side of his SF90.

Vettel remained sat in his car through the early stages of Q3 as work continued but with four minutes left he clambered out of the cockpit and shook his mechanics’ hands.

He did not set a time and is set to start from ninth position, with Ferrari confirming that his car suffered a problem with the air pressure line to the engine.

Kevin Magnussen took a fine fifth for Haas but an unscheduled gearbox change means he will drop to the foot of the top 10.

Lando Norris will therefore move into fifth position, in front of the Alfa Romeo pairing of Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi.

Pierre Gasly had another subdued session for Red Bull and took only ninth – though will be promoted to eighth owing to Magnussen’s penalty – ending Q3 as the slowest runner.

Romain Grosjean was just 0.024s behind Magnussen in Q2 but he failed to make it through to the top 10 shootout.

Renault suffered a double Q2 elimination with Nico Hulkenberg 12th and Daniel Ricciardo 14th; Hulkenberg will drop five places owing to a power unit tweak.

Alexander Albon and Carlos Sainz were 13th and 15th respectively but will drop to the back of the grid due to an entire change of power unit.

Racing Point suffered a double Q1 elimination as Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll were 16th and 17th respectively, consigning the Canadian youngster to another early exit, albeit just 0.054s down on the cut-off time.

Daniil Kvyat was 18th but had his final lap compromised by traffic through Turn 9, forcing the Russian to run wide in avoidance of Williams’ George Russell.

Russell preserved his unbeaten qualifying record against team-mate Robert Kubica, with the Pole three-tenths down on the reigning F2 champion.

Sunday’s 71-lap race is scheduled for 15:10 local time

Austria - Qualifying Result

Pos Driver Team Time Gap
1 Flag   Charles Leclerc Ferrari Car Icon 1:03.003
2 Flag   Lewis Hamilton Mercedes Car Icon 1:03.262 0.259
3 Flag   Max Verstappen Red Bull Car Icon 1:03.439 0.436
4 Flag   Valtteri Bottas Mercedes Car Icon 1:03.537 0.534
5 Flag   Kevin Magnussen Haas Car Icon 1:04.072 1.069
6 Flag   Lando Norris McLaren Car Icon 1:04.099 1.096
7 Flag   Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo Car Icon 1:04.166 1.163
8 Flag   Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Car Icon 1:04.179 1.176
9 Flag   Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso Car Icon 1:04.199 1.196
10 Flag   Sebastian Vettel Ferrari Car Icon
11 Flag   Romain Grosjean Haas Car Icon 1:04.490
12 Flag   Nico Hulkenberg Renault Car Icon 1:04.516
13 Flag   Alexander Albon Red Bull Car Icon 1:04.665
14 Flag   Daniel Ricciardo Renault Car Icon 1:04.790
15 Flag   Carlos Sainz McLaren Car Icon 1:13.601
16 Flag   Sergio Perez Racing Point Car Icon 1:04.789
17 Flag   Lance Stroll Racing Point Car Icon 1:04.832
18 Flag   Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso Car Icon 1:05.324
19 Flag   George Russell Williams Car Icon 1:05.904
20 Flag   Robert Kubica Williams Car Icon 1:06.206