Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas took a stunning pole position for the Austrian Grand Prix. The Finn reflected on his first pole of the season and hailed Mercedes for developing a package that is quite simply on another level. Bottas believes the Brackley outfit is in a league of its own this season.
It wasn’t Bottas’ most tidy qualy session in F1. The Finn set a blistering lap on his first Q3 run but made a large error on his final flying lap. Getting the exit wrong at Turn 4, Bottas sent his Mercedes through the gravel traps before clumsily losing control.
The Finn spun his W11 in the grass, triggering yellow flags and compromising a few drivers on flying laps. But the grass on his visor didn’t dampen his spirits. Valtteri celebrated his pole position and it was apparent that the Finn has a mission on his hands in 2020.
Outqualifying arguably the best qualifier in F1 history is a bold statement. And to do it during the first Grand Prix of the season is a major achievement.
Speaking to Paul Di Resta Following Q3, Bottas said:
“It feels really good,”
“I’ve missed these feelings – the qualifying ‘shakes’, it’s something special when you’ve pushed the car to the limit, and I’ve obviously been preparing this for a long time.
“It feels so good. You can’t say more than that, and our team, amazing job, we seem to be in our own league.
“It’s very impressive to see, it’s only the first qualifying of the season, but I’m so impressed, so thanks [to] everyone in the team, all the factories.
“It’s a truly amazing car to drive, but tomorrow is what matters.
Mercedes look untouchable at the moment, with the competition seemingly well of the pace. Red Bull and Max Verstappen failed to make the Silver Arrows sweat but still hold a tire advantage for tomorrow’s race.
With Verstappen starting on mediums, Red Bull could play around with strategies to give Verstappen an edge come Sunday.
Sadly, Ferrari was nowhere in qualifying. The Maranello outfit struggled throughout the session, with Leclerc and Vettel finishing P7 and P11 respectively.