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Leclerc on pole in Austria

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29th June, 2019
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Mainland Europe has been sweltering in some of the hottest temperatures that the continent has ever seen.

While it has been uncomfortable for millions, the good weather brought us a picturesque backdrop of the Styrian forests bathed in sunshine.

As for the on-track action, Q1 brought with it the surprise of Mercedes being off the pace here at the Red Bull Ring. Hamilton even got into a bit of trouble as he impeded Raikkonen into Turn 3, something which the stewards investigated after the session.

Daniil Kvyat was knocked out of qualifying in Q1 after being massively compromised by traffic as George Russell was positioned right on the racing line, forcing Kvyat to go out wide over the sausage kerb at Turn 9. The stewards decided to investigate this decision and it is quite likely that Russell will receive a penalty.

“I was focusing on the road ahead and didn’t realise there was anyone behind me,” Russell told Sky Sports’ Rachel Brookes.

Mercedes’ problems continued into Q2 as Hamilton admitted on team radio, “we’re not quick on the straights.”

However, their problems were not as bad as those suffered by Sebastian Vettel as his mechanics were frantically working on the left-hand side of his car. Ferrari later revealed that there was a pneumatic problem with the air pressure line to the engine and this was what ended Vettel’s qualifying session prematurely.

While Vettel’s qualifying was over, his teammate’s was only just getting started as Charles Leclerc set a new track record of 1:03.003 to claim his second career pole. Hamilton got over his initial problems to qualify second with Max Verstappen continuing his excellent performance to qualify third.

Leclerc told Paul di Resta, “The car felt amazing. [Tomorrow], it will be about management of everything and hopefully a good result.”
Hamilton admitted to di Resta, “We’ve not been able to keep up with them [Ferrari].

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Verstappen acknowledged the thousands of Dutch fans that have come to the Red Bull Ring to support him when speaking to di Resta. “It’s great [to have the support]. It brings a big smile on my face and I hope I can do well for them tomorrow.”

There is a jumbled-up grid for tomorrow which will be jumbled-up further once all the penalties have been applied, making tomorrow’s race a mouth-watering prospect. Watch out for potential coming-togethers into Turn 1 on the first lap and, as soon as everyone’s navigated the first turn safely, there should be overtakes galore. It all gets underway Sunday night at 11.10 pm AEST – well worth staying up for.