FORMULA ONE was given the prefect tonic after a dreary Frserftggh ujench Grand Prix with a thrilling qualifying for this weekend’s Austrian GP.
Charles Leclerc took pole position for Ferrari, beating Lewis Hamilton into second place – pending an investigation from the stewards – while Red Bull’s Max Verstappen will start in third place.
The three-way fight for pole was exactly the qualifying the sport needed after Hamilton’s Mercedes team had dominated the season so far, winning all eight races in 2019.
The only blot was for Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, who had a mechanical problem and means he starts ninth on the grid.
Leclerc said: “It was a big pleasure to drive this car on the limit and I am very happy to bring this car home.”
Hamilton, who will be hauled in front of the stewards for blocking Kimi Raikkonen, added: “Congratulations to Charles, he has been quick all weekend and we have not been able to keep up with him.
“It was very tight at the end and a bit of a panic, but Max has also been driving well as well, it is cool to see three different teams in the top three.
“I have got the fight the young’uns. I am representing the more-grown men!”
Verstappen, who won this race last year, was cheered on by an army of orange-clad Dutch fans, said: “I am happy up here. It is an amazing result on a track that is not easy for us so really happy to be in the top three. The support brings a big smile to my face.”
Meanwhile, Vettel’s poor season continued after he was forced out of qualifying during Q3 without setting a lap time.
It means he will start in ninth place due to Kevin Magnussen’s grid drop, barring of course Vettel not needing any new engine parts himself, which could trigger his own penalty.
Ferrari listed his problem as problem with the air pressure line to his engine, which meant he went for an early bath.
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Daniel Ricciardo also had another miserable afternoon in his Renault as he was given the flick from Q2.
The Aussie paid the prize after Kevin Magnussen’s mistake on his flying lap caused a train of slowing cars, meaning Ricciardo was unable to better his lap time.
And there were no surprised as the Williams duo of Robert Kubica and George Russell, plus Racing Point’s Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll were also eliminated in Q1 along with Daniil Kyvat.