Notebook – Austrian Quaiflying

Features Notebook

Valtteri Bottas has beaten his Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton by .01 of a second to take back to back pole position for this weekends Austrian Grand Prix. It was a very close battle between the top three teams with less than a second covering the top six.

Pole Lap – V. Bottas 01:03.130

Valtteri Bottas comes into the final corner from the outside carrying all the speed at goes straight on to the outside running his car along the kerb and stays there as he climbs the hill towards Castrol Edge. He breaks around seventy metres before the corner. Turns in opening up the speed as he runs to the outside.

He then allows the car to drift across to the inside and back carries the speed all the way to 100m before Schlossgold. He comes in from the outside, slowing the car right down and has already gone faster. Hits the apex before running the car to the outside. He briefly goes through the centre before returning to the outside, breaking just after the 100m board. Hits the apex of Schlossgold, before opening the car up towards Rauch. He lifts on entry before opening the power and runs along the inside.

Be breaks briefly going toward Wurth Kurve, hits the apex on entry and exit running the car to the outside. Breaks as he turns into Rindt going to the inside, and back to the outside running he then nips back to the inside for the final corner. Returning to the outside where he stays to take pole with a 01:03.130.

Hamilton loses rhythm

Lewis Hamilton says the reason his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas beat him to pole was because of his own error. Bottas beat his teammate by .01 of a second or 1.3 metres to pole.

Hamilton says he made the error at the beginning of Q3 at Remus, where he missed the apex and ran off the racing line. Which ruined the rhythm he had taken into the final session. He said “It had gone relatively well, a good weekend, pace was relatively good throughout qualifying. It was obviously very close between us all.”

“Right at the end, I think I made a mistake on the first run. When you don’t have your first lap as a banker, you kind of go from scratch on the second one.” Hamilton says that it will not make any difference to his preparation for the race.

Hamilton and Mercedes way to victory looks easier following a three-place grid penalty for his title rival Sebastian Vettel after he impeded Carlos Sainz during qualifying

Red Bull don’t understand slipstream row

Red Bull’s team principal Christian Horner says he doesn’t understand the complaints made by Daniel Ricciardo about Max Verstappen about their qualifying tactics.

The Australian was unhappy after the session because he felt that Red Bull had a chance to lock out the third row of the grid because his teammate had declined to help offer him a slipstream.

Horner insisted that his team’s policy had always been that one driver would be designated to run in front of the other.  He told Sky Sports, “We have a very simple policy here that has operated for the last seven years that we alternate from weekend to weekend who drives out of the garage first.”

“That is the only way to keep it as scrupulously fair from circuit to circuit. So this weekend it was Daniel’s time to drive out of the garage first in front of Max, and obviously, he felt that Max might be benefiting from that. onset weekends, and that hadn’t changed.”

Vettel guilty of impeding

Sebastian Vettel has been awarded a three-place grid penalty for impeding Carlos Sainz in Q2. The Ferrari driver had qualified third behind both the Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton at the Red Bull Ring.

But Vettel has been relegated to sixth after the stewards imposed a three-place penalty for the incident with Sainz during Q2.

Vettel told Sky Sports, he hadn’t slighted the Renault and wasn’t warned by the team that the Spaniard was closing in. While stewards accepted Vettel was not warned of the oncoming Renault over Ferrari team radio and could not see Sainz in his mirrors, they ruled that ‘being aware of the issue of rear vision with his mirrors, [Vettel] should not have been so slow and on the racing line, during a slowdown lap in qualification’.

The stewards concluded that a three-place penalty was “consistent with all other similar incidents” so far this season. They also placed an additional penalty point on Vettel’s super licence, taking him on to six for the last 12 months.

Vettel’s penalty promotes team-mate Kimi Raikkonen to third, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen to fourth and Haas’ driver Romain Grosjean to fifth.

Engine modes not noticed

Renault’s drivers have played down the impact of the new engine modes they used in qualifying. When it was introduced in France last week, team boss Cyril Abiteboul said it was “great news” that it would be “making an impact for the first time” at the Red Bull Ring.

After filling the fifth row of the grid, well beaten by the Haas team, drivers Carlos Sainz and Nico Hulkenberg said it made little difference to their qualifying performance.

Hulkenberg lapped three tenths slower than his teammate and said “you don’t notice a bit more performance” like a qualifying mode.

Asked by if he had used the new mode, Sainz said: “Yeah, but everyone has qualifying modes. Once you arrive to qualifying, yes it’s a bit of performance, but we were certainly very far away from Haas to feel any kind of qualifying mode advantage.”

Renault’s chief technical officer, Bob Bell had warned he would not “describe our qualifying opportunities as a party mode, probably not quite in the same league as previously run at other engine manufacturers”.

He added: “We are always finding new ways with these engines to operate them, to get a little bit more performance. Renault have been a little bit behind the curve on that but we are starting to pick it up now. We have a small improvement but it is not night and day stuff.”

Bell said Renault would be refining its higher-power modes over the course of the season.

Race Prixview

Tomorrow’s race looks like it will favour Mercedes as the statics show that the race is likely to be won from the front row. The team has shown really good straight line speed, however looking at the long run pace Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari have been evenly match.

But now Vettel has that penalty, it moves Red Bull much closer to Mercedes. Having said that, from Vettel’s point of view they could cause a headache as he could be stuck behind them in the race. This may be a one-stop race which may cause interesting strategies with tyres.



Jack is responsible for the day-to-day running of Formula One Vault. He brings you all the brilliant content. Has an obsession with all things Formula One and anything with an engine.

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