• Finn fastest by 0.006sec ahead of Mercedes teammate • Leclerc third for Ferrari, Red Bull’s Verstappen fourth
Valtteri Bottas took pole for the British Grand Prix, putting in a fine performance in qualifying under great pressure from the challenge of his Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton, who was in second place at Silverstone by just six-thousandths of a second. Charles Leclerc was in third for Ferrari but his teammate Sebastian Vettel could manage only sixth. Max Verstappen was in fourth for Red Bull with his teammate Pierre Gasly in fifth.
Bottas had to pull out an exceptional lap to deny Hamilton and delivered with an almost perfect run on his first flying lap in Q3. On the first hot runs in the final third, Hamilton was quickest in the first and third sectors but had a moment of oversteer through Brooklands in the middle sector and Bottas was able to best his teammate by three tenths, with a time of 1min 25.093sec. Ferrari, however, had work to do, with Leclerc behind Verstappen in fourth and Vettel in sixth.
• Red Bull driver’s pass on Leclerc allowed to stand • Bottas third, Vettel fourth, Hamilton fifth
There were pillars of orange smoke bellowing into the natural amphitheatre of the Red Bull Ring as the Styrian mountains echoed to the raucous celebrations of thousands of Dutch fans roaring home Max Verstappen’s victory at the Austrian Grand Prix. For the orange-clad hordes and for Verstappen it had been a glorious afternoon but one not conclusive even after the chequered flag had fallen.
In fact his win stood unconfirmed, waiting for more than three hours on the colour of smoke that would emerge from the steward’s room as they considered whether to let the his last-ditch pass on Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc stand. Long after the grandstands had emptied and with an appropriately orange sunset approaching they emerged with their decision and the win was Verstappen’s.
• Hamilton drops from second to fifth after impeding Räikkönen • Vettel misses Q3 with mechanical problem and starts ninth
Charles Leclerc took pole for the Austrian Grand Prix, pulling off a series of superb laps at the Red Bull Ring under great pressure. The Ferrari driver beat Lewis Hamilton into second, however the reigning world champion was handed a three-place grid penalty and will start fifth.
Stewards ruled Hamilton had impeded Kimi Räikkönen’s Alfa Romeo at turn three in Q1. Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, last year’s winner, will now line up alongside Leclerc on the front row of the grid. Valtteri Bottas will start third with Kevin Magnussen taking fourth for Haas.
• Hamilton holds off challenge of Bottas and Leclerc • ‘Valtteri goes in and puts in bloody good laps every time’
For Lewis Hamilton, pole at the French Grand Prix seemed an almost inevitable conclusion for a driver clearly enjoying a confidence and touch in a Mercedes that is exceptional even by his own standards. In contrast for Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, what has already been a difficult weekend looks set to end only in another largely thankless slog on Sunday afternoon after he could manage only seventh. Indeed, such was the gap between Mercedes and Ferrari, for the first time this season Hamilton clearly indicated his battle for the title was now with his teammate Valtteri Bottas.
Hamilton has 86 career poles. This is his third this season and with five wins already his form here suggests another is well within his grasp. He is, as he put it in France, firing on all cylinders. Calm and collected enough to put in an almost flawless performance with equanimity.
Ferrari presented what they described as “overwhelming” evidence in Vettel’s favour at the French Grand Prix on Friday. However the four stewards who had made their decision in Montreal and reconvened at Paul Ricard rejected it, adjudging that the presentation did not include significant or relevant new elements. They were scathing in dismissing the only original element, video footage of Sky Sport’s presenter Karun Chandhok, as “personal opinion”.
• Decision will be reviewed on Friday in buildup to French GP • ‘We bring information that maybe the stewards didn’t have’
Sebastian Vettel has said he remains dissatisfied with the penalty that cost him victory at the Canadian Grand Prix. Lewis Hamilton was awarded the win but Vettel, speaking before the French Grand Prix where his team face a stewards’ review on the decision on Friday, was hopeful new evidence would prove crucial.
• ‘He did block me, it’s the rules,’ says Mercedes driver • Vettel has until Thursday to decide whether to appeal
Lewis Hamilton has said Sebastian Vettel knew what he was doing when he incurred the penalty that cost the Ferrari driver first place at the Canadian Grand Prix.
Hamilton won despite finishing behind Vettel after the stewards penalised the German by adding five seconds to his time in Sunday’s race. Hamilton believes they were right to do so while Vettel was adamant the decision was symptomatic of the sport having taken the wrong direction with rules that are too stringent.
F1 connoisseurs were virtually unanimous in their views over the penalty that not only robbed Sebastian Vettel in Canada but also ruined a classic finish between the world’s best two drivers
As a simmering Sebastian Vettel stalked into the room where the top three drivers in a grand prix wipe away their sweat and prepare to mount the podium, the only vacant seat was one under a large portrait of another Ferrari driver, a hero of the past. As well as being the man who gave his name to the circuit on which the Canadian Grand Prix had just been held, Gilles Villeneuve remains a symbol of motor racing at its most daring and flamboyant.
Villeneuve was killed in 1982, halfway through his fifth season with the Italian team. He never won a world championship but Enzo Ferrari placed him alongside Tazio Nuvolari as the greatest of all those who had driven for him. Like Ferrari, the fans loved him for the way he allowed his emotions to show in his driving, for the way he would tear into the pits on three wheels, refusing to accept defeat, and – most of all – for the legendary duel with René Arnoux at Dijon over the last two laps of the 1979 French Grand Prix, the epitome of no-quarter wheel-to-wheel combat.
• Vettel outdoes championship leader Hamilton on final lap in Q3 • Max Verstappen out in Q2 after Kevin Magnussen crash
A long time coming, Sebastian Vettel was finally able to climb from his car and revel in once more being at the front of the grid after he took pole position for the Canadian Grand Prix. Vettel was understandably emotional, buzzing on his achievement and no doubt some relief that he had finally beaten Lewis Hamilton into second.
The German’s championship hopes had been slipping away with Ferrari seemingly powerless in the face of the Mercedes juggernaut this season, but pole in Montreal is a lifeline for Vettel and the Scuderia.
Scuderia admit risks need to be taken in Montreal, it’s looking good for Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc’s season is becoming a fast track of learning experiences
Mercedes came within a whisker of losing a win that was in their hands in Monaco. Having put Lewis Hamilton on the medium tyres, the team principal, Toto Wolff, admitted the British driver had saved their race in bringing his car home and preventing Max Verstappen having a chance to pass. It was welcome for giving the race a tense climax that would otherwise have been lacking. Hamilton was vocal about his concerns throughout, which have been criticised but are the understandable complaining of a driver in a pressure situation he could do nothing about. But perhaps what was most telling was just what type of team Mercedes are, as illustrated afterwards. The chief strategist, James Vowles, said with wry humour he hoped for a hug from Hamilton after the race. Hamilton duly burst into the engineers’ room and proceeded to spray Vowles with champagne. “That’s for fucking giving me medium fucking tyres for 68 laps,” he said, laughing, before they did indeed hug. Mercedes is an exceptionally efficient machine but one clearly functioning with very human relationships.