F1 2020: Austrian GP – Saturday

Mercedes enjoyed a dominant Saturday as Formula One’s 2020 season opener continued to throw up plenty of drama of the first Saturday of this new campaign. 

Valtteri Bottas snatched a dramatic pole position from teammate, Lewis Hamilton as Qualifying threw up plenty of surprises after a frantic final practice session earlier in day.

Nicholas Latifi meanwhile suffered a crash before finishing Qualifying in last place as we bring the full story behind FPP3 and Qualifying. 

 

Free Practice Three

Lando Norris led Haas’ Kevin Magnussen straight out onto track for installation laps, as many drivers instead opted to wait ten minutes before venturing out into the sunshine.

Carlos Sainz set the first benchmark of a 1m 06.307 on mediums, before lowering his time on his next flier to a 1m 06.264 prior to several drivers trading fastest laps as Ferrari focused on soft tyre runs. 

Sebastian Vettel went top after 20 minutes with a 1m 05.159 on softs ahead of Bottas and Hamilton, who both opted to do medium tyre runs in the early stages, with Hamilton eventually going top just minutes later on his second flier with a 1m 05.140.

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Williams’ Nicholas Latifi then brought out a ten minute red flag after spinning at turn one, slamming into the barrier front wing first before double pirouetting to a halt. 

Once the session resumed, Ferrari opted to bank their qualifying simulation fliers early on with Charles Leclerc edging Vettel out by 0.148s, as Red Bull’s Alex Albon eventually split the pair in sixth. 

Hamilton completed a hatrick of practice topping performances this weekend, producing a stunning 1m 04.130, once again finishing ahead of Bottas by a closer margin of 0.147s than in either of yesterday’s sessions. 

Max Verstappen rounded out the top three with a 1m 04.413 which was just 0.192s quicker than Racing Point’s Sergio Perez in fourth, as Lance Stroll, Pierre Gasly and Lando Norris rounded out the top ten.

 

Qualifying

Q1

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Latifi was first out on track in Q1 after Williams managed to repair his car in time following a FP3 crash, setting the first benchmark of a 1m 07.208 which was quickly beaten by the Alfa Romeo cars of Kimi Raikkonen then Antonio Giovinazzi. 

Q1 however saw times tumble throughout the session culminating in a breathless final minute in which Verstappen finished fastest with a 1m 04.024 ahead of Bottas and Hamilton. 

Latifi meanwhile will begin his first F1 race from last place, with Raikkonen, Giovinazzi, George Russell and Kevin Magnussen also eliminated in Q1.

 

Q2

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Q2 was a quieter affair as many drivers all ran at once after spending the opening four minutes sat in the pits, with Hamilton quickest after first runs with a 1m 03.325 from Bottas. 

Romain Grosjean, Esteban Ocon, Albon, Kvyat and Gasly meanwhile sat in the elimination zone with five minutes left, of which only Albon escaped with a strong lap to condemn Ferrari’s Vettel to a shock Q2 exit in 11th ahead of Gasly, Kvyat, Ocon and Grosjean.

Bottas meanwhile went quickest at the death with a 1m 03.015 and 0.081s quicker than Hamilton, who posted a 1m 03.096 on his final Q2 flier with Verstappen down in 8th but through on mediums of which he will start on for the race.

 

Q3

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Many drivers again chose to wait at start of Q3 before heading out at the same time, in which Bottas smashed the track record with a 1m 02.939 on his first flier to lead Hamilton and Verstappen with 0.612s splitting the top three after first Q3 runs. 

Bottas however ran wide across the gravel on his final flier but clinched pole after Hamilton fell just 0.012s short to deny the Brit a perfect Saturday, after the Brit had topped FP3. 

Norris meanwhile pitted at the end of his first attempt after a mistake but recovered  with a stunning final flier to sandwich Verstappen and Albon in a brilliant fourth-place. 

Perez, Leclerc, Sainz, Stroll and Ricciardo meanwhile rounded the top ten for the first five rows of Sunday’s grid. 

 

Results

FP3

Position Driver Team Time
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m 04.130
2 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1m 04.277
3 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1m 04.413
4 Sergio Perez  Racing Point 1m 04.605
5 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1m 04.703
6 Alex Albon Red Bull 1m 04.725
7 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m 04.851
8 Lance Stroll Racing Point 1m 04.918
9 Pierre Gasly Alpha Tauri 1m 04.949
10 Lando Norris McLaren 1m 04.950
11 Esteban Ocon Renault 1m 05.037
12 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1m 05.088
13 Carlos Sainz McLaren 1m 05.177
14 Daniil Kvyat Alpha Tauri 1m 05.290
15 Romain Grosjean Haas 1m 05.363
16 George Russell Williams 1m 05.565
17 Kevin Magnussen Haas 1m 05.648
18 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo 1m 05.654
19 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo 1m 05773
20 Nicholas Latifi Williams 1m 07.049

 

Qualifying

Position Driver Team Time
1 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1m 02.939
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m 02.951
3 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1m 03.477
4 Lando Norris McLaren 1m 03.626
5 Alex Albon Red Bull 1m 03.868
6 Sergio Perez Racing Point 1m 03.868
7 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1m 03.923
8 Carlos Sainz McLaren 1m 03.971
9 Lance Stroll Racing Point 1m 04.029
10 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1m 04.239
11 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m 04.206
12 Pierre Gasly Alpha Tauri 1m 04.305
13 Daniil Kvyat Alpha Tauri 1m 04.431
14 Esteban Ocon Renault 1m 04.643
15 Romain Grosjean Haas 1m 04.691
16 Kevin Magnussen Haas 1m 05.164
17 George Russell Williams 1m 05.167
18 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo 1m 05.175
19 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo 1m 05.224
20 Nicholas Latifi Williams 1m 05.737

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