Lewis Hamilton takes pole position by 1.2 SECONDS at rain-soaked Red Bull Ring as Ferrari suffer ANOTHER qualifying disaster with Charles Leclerc qualifying in 11th for first ever Styrian Grand Prix
Lewis Hamilton proved himself master of all seasons by not merely dominating a wet qualifying session for the Styrian Grand Prix but bestriding it as a man apart.
As so often before in his long career, the world champion made light of tricky conditions to take pole position for Mercedes with a masterclass of sure-footed brilliance.
A week on from a sub-perfect performance on the same Red Bull Ring track, Hamilton was quickest in all three sessions of the rain-delayed running.
Lewis Hamilton put in a sublime drive in torrential rain to take pole for the Styrian Grand Prix
The six-time champion was a class apart from the rest of the field and was deservedly on top
Cars continued to produce spray from rain on track as visibility proved a major problem
Hamilton (left) celebrated his pole position finish with an elbow bump with his race team
Nobody could live with the six-time world champion, his car stuck on the perilous surface as if by glue.
Hamilton’s 88th pole beat Max Verstappen of Red Bull into second place. Those two were the cream of the crop – they are simply the best in Formula One right now.
But even Verstappen over-extended on his final lap, losing control and briefly drifting nowhere but sideways. The Dutchman finished 1.2sec off Hamilton, who improved on his last attempt despite not needing to as more rain fell.
It was another horror show in qualifying for Ferrari as Charles Leclerc finished down in 11th
FINAL QUALIFYING STANDINGS
1 Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
2 Max Verstappen (Red Bull)
3 Carlos Sainz Jnr (McLaren)
4 Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes)
5 Esteban Ocon (Renault)
6 Lando Norris (McLaren)
7 Alexander Albon (Red Bull)
8 Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri)
9 Daniel Ricciardo (Renault)
10 Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari)
11 Charles Leclerc (Ferrari)
12 George Russell (Williams)
13 Lance Stroll (Racing Point)
14 Daniil Kvyat (AlphaTauri)
15 Kevin Magnussen (Haas)
16 Kimi Raikkonen (Alfa Romeo)
17 Sergio Perez (Racing Point)
18 Nicholas Latifi (Williams)
19 Antonio Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo)
20 Romain Grosjean (Haas)
Carlos Sainz of McLaren was third best. Valtteri Bottas, in the other Mercedes, was 1.5sec back, which must have made the Finn wonder why bother against the champ in the same machinery.
Esteban Ocon was fifth for Renault. Lando Norris of McLaren was a decent sixth, though he will go back three places on the grid for overtaking under a yellow flag in practice on Friday.
Fellow Brit George Russell acquitted himself wonderfully well – 12th best in a less-than-fabulous Williams. His team-mate Nicholas Latifi was 1.4sec behind. Or, to put it technically, night and day.
Ferrari had another awful afternoon with Sebastian Vettel tenth quickest and Charles Leclerc 11th.
Max Verstappen settled for P2 after he spun off on his last lap trying to chase Hamilton’s time
RECAP all the action from the Red Bull Arena with NATHAN SALT, with qualifying getting underway from 2pm.