Valtteri Bottas has escaped an off-track excursion to trump teammate Lewis Hamilton for the first pole position of 2020 at the Austrian Grand Prix.
After dominating all three practice sessions in the lead up to Qualifying, Mercedes kept their vice-like grip on the competition to lead their nearest rival home by over half-a-second.
The opening laps in Q3 saw Bottas lay an impressive marker, setting a new track record of a 1:02.939 to lead Hamilton by a narrow margin as the duo began preparations for their final timed runs.
The Finn went first, but after an incredible first sector Bottas made a critical error when he lost control of the car and ventured off the circuit.
Consequently, it allowed Hamilton the opportunity to steal the pole, and while the defending world champion did improve, he could not better his teammate’s lap time and finished 0.012s behind his rival.
Last year’s race winner Max Verstappen would end up third but enters tomorrow’s race with an ace up his sleeve after Red Bull opted to run the more durable medium tyre in Q2 meaning Verstappen will start the race with a different strategy to those around him.
Lando Norris was fourth in a giant-killing performance edging out Alexander Albon in the sister Red Bull by just 0.024s.
Racing Point saw both of their drivers in the Top 10 with Sergio Perez in sixth, ahead of the leading Ferrari of Charles Leclerc while Lance Stroll was ninth quickest.
The biggest upset was five-time world champion Sebastian Vettel who was knocked out of qualifying in Q2 and will start the race from 11th.
The German voiced his concern over Ferrari’s lack in performance coming into the weekend though little expected the Prancing Horses to be so far off the pace.
As expected, it is advantage Mercedes heading into race day, though Verstappen could throw in a challenge if Red Bull capitalise on their strategy.