Bottas takes pole in anti-climactic session

2017 Austrian Grand Prix qualifying

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Valtteri Bottas took pole position for the Austrian Grand Prix after a yellow flag prevented drivers improving their times in Q3.

He will be joined on the front row of the grid by Sebastian Vettel. Lewis Hamilton qualified third but will line up eighth following his penalty.


Hamilton headed the first part of qualifying but he used a set of the ultra-soft tyres to secure his place in Q2. However his team mate and Vettel both progressed beyond the first stage using only the super-soft tyres.

Kimi Raikkonen attempted to do the same but had to return to the track for another run on the ultra-softs in order to ensure his progression.

The Sauber drivers had struggled throughout practice and it was no surprise to see both drop out at the first hurdle. Williams’ struggles also continued having lacked pace for much of the weekend. Neither driver managed to progress at a circuit where they locked out the front row just three years ago.

The only other driver to miss the cut was Jolyon Palmer, who fell short of beating Stoffel Vandoorne with his final effort.

Both Haas drivers made it through despite Romain Grosjean ploughing through the gravel at turn seven. However Kevin Magnussen took no further part in qualifying beyond Q1 after suffering a suspension failure.

Drivers eliminated in Q1

16 Jolyon Palmer Renault 1’06.345
17 Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1’06.534
18 Lance Stroll Williams-Mercedes 1’06.608
19 Marcus Ericsson Sauber-Ferrari 1’06.857
20 Pascal Wehrlein Sauber-Ferrari 1’07.011


Knowing he was unlikely to start any higher than sixth because of is penalty, Mercedes and Hamilton made a tactical decision for Q2. He set his best time on the harder super-soft tyres, which he will start on tomorrow, giving him a potential strategic advantage.

This presented no problem to him taking a place in Q3, and he was joined by the usual six from the top three teams.

Though Magnussen couldn’t run in Q2, Grosjean did and duly took a place in Q3. Both Force Indias also made it through, and Carlos Sainz Jnr joined them in what was otherwise a quiet second session.

Drivers eliminated in Q2

11 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1’05.597
12 Fernando Alonso McLaren-Honda 1’05.602
13 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren-Honda 1’05.741
14 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault 1’05.884
15 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari


First blood in Q3 went not to Hamilton, but to Bottas. Hamilton made a mistake at turn three and had to settle for third place behind Vettel.

Max Verstappen also lost time at turn three which left him sixth behind his team mate. Grosjean slotted in behind him, but the Haas driver played a decisive role in the final minutes.

Driving around to begin his final lap Grosjean reported a problem with his Ferrari power unit. The VF-17 ground to a halt on the hill approaching turn nine, and the chasing pack all had to back off for yellow flags.

That prevented any further improvements, though an error for Hamilton at the first corner meant he was already unlikely to improve his time. Verstappen compounded a scruffy session by spinning off at turn eight.

Top ten in Q3

1 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1’04.251
2 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1’04.293
3 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1’04.424
4 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1’04.779
5 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-TAG Heuer 1’04.896
6 Max Verstappen Red Bull-TAG Heuer 1’04.983
7 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 1’05.480
8 Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1’05.605
9 Esteban Ocon Force India-Mercedes 1’05.674
10 Carlos Sainz Jnr Toro Rosso-Renault 1’05.726

2017 Austrian Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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84 comments on “Bottas takes pole in anti-climactic session”

  1. Ham had another lap in that run if it wasn’t for yellow flag. It is so annoying when yellows ruin quali…

    1. should have been fast on his other 2 laps.. he made mistakes on both so didnt deserve to beat bottas. the yellow flag was the same for all drivers, not just for hamilton.

    2. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      8th July 2017, 14:10

      Hamilton made a mistake on his 2nd run in the 1st corner. He backed off before the yellow flags even came out. So, even if there wasn’t any flags, I don’t think he’ll have made it in time to do a 3rd run. Vettel also made a mistake on the first turn of his 2nd run which probably will have meant his time will have been slower than Bottas’s first lap. Bottas’s 2nd attempt lookes pretty good actually until the yellow flags came out. I don’t think the top 3 positions will have changed with out without the flags. But yes, it will have changed things further down quite possibly.

      1. That’s not what I meant. I think he was fueled for 2 laps. He could have gone slower the rest of the lap and start another just before the time run out.

        1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
          8th July 2017, 14:23

          I guess that is possible, but I still think that not that much will have changed. Given the amount of mistakes and that he didn’t look very comfortable with the car, I think he will have remained 3rd, but possible gone 2nd. But Bottas looked the best out of them this time.

          1. Bottas found form in and after Q2, his laps although not great looking, he did better over all… agreed on Ham, he seemed not comfy with his brake balance somehow and sliding all over… maybe he ll take a rabbit out of his head… betting he ll be on top 5or3 after first lap… and given the chance to overtake vettel, i bet mercedes will ask Bot a favor!

        2. “Ham had another lap in that run if it wasn’t for yellow flag” This is a statement of fact.
          “I think he was fueled for 2 laps” This is an expression of an opinion/belief

          People in general should be more careful about stating their opinions as facts.Especially if they have no facts to support their belief.

          1. People are people and fans are people, they are stating their emotions, and this website is not F1 regulators or Stewards’ technical meeting ground… relax…

          2. I don’t see why having fuel for an extra lap should warrant such an admonition. The recent trend at least this season is to have enough fuel for 5 laps.
            Out lap
            timed lap
            cool down lap
            2nd timed lap
            In lap

            Considering Lewis had done less time on the Ultra Softs, that would be the safest option.

    3. Let’s hope he make his way up from eight position

  2. I believe Vettel also made a mistake at the first corner on his final lap, so Bottas would be on pole even without yellow flags.

    1. Yes, and unlike Hamilton he wouldn’t have had enough time for another lap. I think Hamilton had a lot of pace hidden.
      @jureo To me, it’s about the sport.

  3. Even if Grosjean did not have his problem, there would have been yellow flags for Verstappen…

    1. Verstappen was on a fast lap but could not use DRS because of the yellow caused by Grosjean.
      He realized that he had to take risks to better his time. So he did, and it went wrong. No use playing it safe when it won’t bring you anything.

      Without the yellow he would have been fast enough to better his time without needing to take extra risk, it might have taken him past Ricciardo and maybe Räikkönen.

      1. but it was the same for every one, a yellow flag… Verstappen would not have taken the risk and spun if he was fast on his first 2 runs, but he wasn’t. Raikonnen and Verstappen might have gone faster too.

        1. kpcart, indeed, both Red Bull drivers have acknowledged that Raikkonen could have improved on his time as well, and probably would have ended up ahead of both of them anyway with or without the yellow flag.

          Whilst I can see why Verstappen was pushing, at the same time he has said that he wasn’t improving on his time because there was no DRS, so it is one of those cases where he would have struggled to improve his position. It’s possible that, if he had improved on his times, he might even have risked an investigation from the stewards – they might well have been suspicious of a driver improving on his times on a dry track with little track evolution, as they might treat that as an indication that he had been speeding through the yellow flag zone.

  4. Apart from Bottas not showing he wants to be a Nr. 2 driver (and Kimi really, how much we love him though, he needs to slap his engineer), what surprises me the most is the utter childlike way Verstappen wasted 3(!) US runs. And people still eat though the Newey’s PR bull that he isn’t over-driving the car. Like yea, he would insult the most wanted driver on the market. Especially with the increased ride height Red Bull tried to run, I wouldn’t be surprised is the car snaps away or stalls at Max. Keep an eye on that for the betting markets. Maybe even during the expected rain tomorrow. Let that settle the fact for once and for all.

    1. You can’t blame him for trying too hard.

    2. @xiasitlo

      (and Kimi really, how much we love him though, he needs to slap his engineer)

      What on earth …

      1. There were lots and lots of traffic for Kimi in his first and only Q3 run. No chance to beat his team mate or Mercs with that kind of a mistake by the racing engineer.

        1. @huhhii
          Yeah, but resorting to physical violence because of such a mundane mistake? You Kimi fans got no chill …
          Also, it sounds like yet another lame excuse. He was half a second off Vettel’s pace during the entire weekend, he qualified half a second off the pace, and it’s miraculously still good enough to start 3rd. If I were you, I’d be thanking Perkele for making that work somehow.
          And I’m really fed up with this blame for people who are doing an extremely difficult and complex job, only screwing up occasionally and not even badly. If slaps are the new exchange currency for mistakes, Mr. R would’ve had to be slapped a lot as well.
          This really strikes a bad chord with me.

          1. It’s true Kimi trailed Vettel and Mercedes drivers throughout the weekend, but he wasn’t given a fair chance by the mistake of someone else. A story that keeps repeating itself this season (Spain, Canada, Baku…) Kimi was way off the pace in Monaco too until Q3 so FP’s and Q1 & Q2 don’t always matter.

            Obviously I don’t agree with the need to “slap his engineer”. I’m fine as long as Kimi isn’t being bashed about losing to Vettel. He had no chance to do any better.

      2. @nase Did you really take that literally?

        1. Keith Crossley
          8th July 2017, 19:48


  5. Alonso outqualfies Vandoorne again despite running a much slower engine.

    1. @mashiat
      Alonso said that the engine was but a small step forward, so I think you can safely remove the word “much” from your statement. I understand the difference between both engine specifications is around 10 bhp, which should only account for a few hundredths of a second per lap. Still, not a good day for Vandoorne.

      1. nase, some publications were suggesting that the performance boost was closer to 25bhp, perhaps even 30bhp when comparing it to some of the higher mileage “Spec 2” units which McLaren have been using up to now (and we know that Alonso’s power unit has already done close to two race weekends by now).

    2. With both coming back at the same time when Q2 ended Stoffel was most probably doing the tow for Alonso.

      1. With figuring out the engine mapping, there is a greater difference than what Alonso had experienced in practice at baku. The spec 3 engine meant the car could edge out the two Force Indias and Hulk, maybe Sainz and Grosjean. Missed opportunity for Mclaren as Alonso has been on it. His line in the corners and how he attacked through them were on the finest of edges.

    3. I think that’s 8-0.

    4. It’s actually quite funny that the biggest time loss for Vandoorne happened in sector 1, which is pretty much the power sector, where he was 0.39% slower than Alonso. He was actually closer in the twisty bits. It’s also weird that Stoffel’s speed trap was slower than Alonso’s.

  6. Aditya (@adityafakhri)
    8th July 2017, 14:18

    I think nobody would improve last run anyway if there’s no yellow flag. Track evolution seems going backwards in terms of grip. Almost all drivers had moments in the exit of corners. Props to Bottas, he snatched it while it’s on.

    1. Josh (@canadianjosh)
      8th July 2017, 14:29

      That’s what I saw as well, it looked tougher as soon as those clouds came over the track but am I wrong in saying a cooler track should have more grip?

      1. @canadianjosh
        Only if you can get the tyres in their operating window to begin with. It’s only a short lap so I guess overheating isn’t so much of an issue. Most people seemed to be losing traction in T1 which probably suggests they took it too easy on their outlap.

  7. Dear oh dear Verstappen. All that potential and it fizzles out. Interesting race set up with this grid though.

    1. That is Mad Max for you. Too much push and too little plan. That is where he differs from Ricciardo who tends to make best use of every opportunity that comes his way.

  8. Pierre Racine
    8th July 2017, 14:35

    Stroll under 1/10 sec. from Massa. Quite a massive difference from the over 1 second difference in the first 5 or 6 race week-ends. I expect him to be a tad faster than Massa before the year end.

  9. Arghh…. Max made too many mistakes in Q3. He tried to make up for the time lost because of the yellow flag (and losing DRS because of it) in his last run but that was too aggressive and resulted in the spin.

    Let’s see what happens in the race

  10. OmarRoncal - Go Seb!!! (@)
    8th July 2017, 14:57

    Encouraging signs from McLaren. If Force India and Williams keep going backwards, the midfield battle will start including Alonso and Vandoorne more often. Magnussen has also improved (a little) so the only ones being so behind are now Sauber. Good for them they have some points to defend from McLaren.

  11. Soooo, now that british driver is hurt by gearbox change I hope people start a regulation change.

    Hamilton being sloted 5 places does nothing to improve the show.

    1. Lesser of 2 evils or the big teams will just use new engines and gearboxes everyday and the gap to the midfield will be even larger.

  12. Hamilton made a tactical decision for Q2. He set his best time on the harder super-soft tyres, which he will start on tomorrow, giving him a potential strategic advantage.

    How? Even though the SS tyres can run longer than the US ones, Hamilton has to fight past several other drivers in front of him, in particular Verstappen & Grosjean. Apart from a higher incidence of first corner incidents, will this not increase the wear factor on his tyres in the first few laps, thus negating the distance advantage to some extent?

    Also, by the time the front-runners stop for their first ( and only?) change to SS tyres, Hamilton’s old SS tyres will be slower than the fresh ones the rivals pick-up. That would mean that he has to stop soon afterwards to negate that disadvantage or leave it longer only to risk the potential gap growing further.

    1. Ham will then be changing to nice and fresh US, while the others will be on SS.

      1. Ham will then be changing to nice and fresh US, while the others will be on SS.

        Yes, true. But it looks like there is not all that big a difference in performance between fresh US and SS tyres on this track. If Hamilton is more than 6 or 7 seconds behind after the tyre changes, it may be difficult to catch-up on this high wear circuit.

    2. You are forgetting that in the final stint he will be on the faster tyre than the rest. Also in the event of a safety car the field will be bunched up and he will be right behind on faster tyre.

      Only danger is he may lose any places at the start.

      1. Only danger is he may lose any places at the start.

        Quite a bit. With SS tyres it might take Hamilton a bit longer to fight past Max Max and we all know how “easy” that is.

        1. @loup-garou

          Very easy. Just hang back, and after 5-10 laps his engine will stop.

        2. @loup-garou
          Told you so :) It was even easier than I predicted.

    3. @loup-garou better tyres in the slower-degrading 2nd half of the race (I mean, that’s what Spain looked like)

      1. Better tyres in the slower-degrading 2nd half of the race

        But on this track, fresh SS tyres did not seem significantly slower than US ( as Hamilton himself showed in Q2). That already small lap time difference could become even smaller as the US tyres degrade slightly faster than the SS in the second half of the race. Therefore, while hamilton might be able to close the gap in the first 5 to 6 laps after the tyre change, keeping it up would be more difficult.

        1. I think the time advantage between the US and SS is minimal. But I think the SS will have an advantage getting thru traffic, maybe they are more durable when ducking and dodging the slower cars?

  13. Hamilton refuses to shake hand with Vettel at the request of Davide Valsecchi (probably it was the FOM), I understand his frustration but that was also an anti sportive behaviour especially after Vettel’s apology.
    I don’t know if Hamilton was singing the new “Satanize Vettel & Ferrari for the rest of the season ” song which was very popular BTW within the British media in the last couple of weeks or he was just simply being himself.
    Anyway, this will only increase the pressure on Vettel’s shoulders ahead of Silverstone, I think he should expect himself not just to be simply booed…

    1. I think you will find that Seb and Ham shook hands while waiting for the interviews, why should Hamilton dance through hoops for the media.

    2. Hamilton refuses to shake hand with Vettel at the request of Davide Valsecchi (probably it was the FOM), I understand his frustration but that was also an anti sportive behaviour especially after Vettel’s apology.

      Erm, Hamilton did shake Vettels hand. He did before that cringy interview. He’s not going to do it again just because some nob head wanted it.

    3. I was not an anti sportive behavior. This guys are racing each other, HAM has just finished a bad qualy, he is starting from P8, so you cannot expect him to take selfies with VET. I am a Ferrari fan but this nonsense that all drivers need to be an example for future generations is garbage. They are there because they are the fastest drivers on earth, not because their contributions to world peace. Now, if all this doesn’t convince you, they did shake hands just before the interview:

      1. @naylamp
        This nonsense of drivers being example for future generation was initiated by Hamilton after the Baku incident :)

        1. Yes, Hamilton called Seb a disgrace and a bad example for the younger generation.

          This from a driver who questions and at times belittles his team’s orders over the radio for the world to hear, often pouts on the podium when not winning, refuses team orders yet expects favors from his teammate when the situation is reversed. And other examples such as stopping his car on track after losing in Monaco a couple of years ago then intentionally driving into a sign.

          Not such a good example for the young yourself Lewis.

          1. Aren’t you describing Vettel more there?

      2. OmarRoncal - Go Seb!!! (@)
        8th July 2017, 16:58

        @naylamp total off-question. Are you from Peru? For the Naylamp reference I mean. I am.

        1. Yes I am.

    4. They did shake hands earlier as they walked onto the track.

    5. @tifoso1989

      Hamilton refuses to shake hand with Vettel at the request of Davide Valsecchi

      1. They shook hands before in full view. They are not children or puppets that will be forced to do something by some interviewer. They should of asked the interviewer to go up and down the grid doing his best chicken impression 1st.

      2. @davidnotcoulthard
        That doesn’t cancel the fact that when asked to do so Hamilton refused to shake Vettel’s hand

        1. OmarRoncal - Go Seb!!! (@)
          8th July 2017, 17:04

          @tifoso1989 shake hands… well. Good right?
          I’m getting ready to change my profile picture again by this time tomorrow!

    6. @tifoso1989 Personally I feel weird with the sudden request and the interviewer tone is kinda patronizing. I bet neither drivers want to have the brake test debacle in their head right now and for them its settled matter. As other people pointed out, they already shake hands and even Vettel body language also shows he doesn’t want to do that staged hand shake. It’s just the camera was focused at Hamilton so we see his body language most.

    7. Neil (@neilosjames)
      8th July 2017, 17:03

      I actually cringed when he said that and was pleased it didn’t happen.

      They’ve both said their piece about and it Bottas is the guy on pole. It’s not only pointless to have them shake hands in some silly, staged ‘ooh, friend’ moment, it’s incredibly rude to treat Bottas as an afterthought when he’s just beaten both of them in qualifying and is, so it appears, still a third title contender.

      1. Why was Ham even there, he is not third on the grid?

        1. he was 3rd in qualy so, well, there’s that. I think it’s a bit like what happened with this one

        2. Grumpy (@)
          9th July 2017, 1:14

          Do you even understand F1, it seems not by the dumbass question.

  14. Hamilton refuses to shake hand with Vettel at the request of Davide Valsecchi (probably it was the FOM), I understand his frustration but that was also an anti sportive behaviour especially after Vettel’s apology.

    I think that they did shake hands just before that media bod came along. Shaking hands just because some fool asked them to do so would be meaningless. Hamilton probably walked away because he had to go to the loo urgently.

    1. That interviewer is a bit of a prat. For a minute I thought it was some prize winning member of the public who got to interview the top 3 or something!

      1. @psynrg To be fair, given the choice between some random celebrity and a GP2 champion…..

        1. @davidnotcoulthard This whole Liberty post quali, out on the track ‘spectacle’ doesn’t really work well on TV, but it’s great for the people at the circuit. Although there’s always just something amateurish about it, Valsecchi just makes matters worse!

          1. Valsecchi and Eddie Jordan together doing the interviews….or add Croft in as well. F1 answer to the 3 stooges.

          2. I agree. What’s next, post FP1, FP2 and FP3 on-track interviews?

          3. Valsecchi and Eddie Jordan together doing the interviews….or add Croft in as well. F1 answer to the 3 stooges.

            Great! Eddie Jordan should be called “Hopping Joe”

  15. I think the yellow flag and stoppage on track was rather beneficial to Haas. There’s over regulation in F1 but I think this rule should be in. If you cause a red flag or a yellow flag on a qualifying session you are affecting everyone and for that matter you should be penalised as a consequence of your actions or your bad luck.

  16. Poor qualifying for HAM but it wasn’t going to be a good weekend since the grid penalty announcement, has it all to do on Sunday. Awesome job again by BOT he needs to keep his place at MERC. Close with the Redbulls still crossing fingers that VER has a engine-trouble free race, reckon it will be business as usual for VET and RAK will be cursing his poor luck.

    Predicting a VET win.

    HAM and VET did shake hands when they were prepping for their interviews, the “Baku Beef” has been squashed and they’ve moved on, trying to re-ignite it was just plain dumb.

  17. How did Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull manage to get 7 drivers for Q2?

    An official FIA inquiry will only serve to prove Monisha was a genius. And ahead of her time.

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