Qualifying for the Austrian Grand Prix gave huge results, Australian F1 star Daniel Ricciardo qualifying in 10th position after being trapped behind pole position Valtteri Bottas.
While starting from the fifth row of the grid was not as bad as Sebastian Vettel, who missed Q3 in 11th, it was a frustrating end as Ricciardo waited until the end of the session to produce a lap steering wheel and try to reassemble the grid.
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Ricciardo had impressed with his speed throughout the tests and told F1.com after the first day that “we were fast”, which raised hopes that the Australian was about to start the condensed season.
After finishing in front of the two Ferraris in Q2 with Vettel out and Charles Leclerc just finishing 10th, Ricciardo hoped to put everything at stake.
But it was a dramatic end to the session with Ricciardo trapped behind post goalkeeper Bottas in the last race with the End coming off the track, running cleanly through the gravel and on the grass.
“I don’t know why there was a yellow,” Ricciardo said on team radio. “There were two yellow corners for nothing.”
It was explained to him but Ricciardo replied: “But he stayed off the track, it’s ********”.
Bottas managed to keep pole despite the jungle ahead of teammate Lewis Hamilton and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.
After qualifying, Ricciardo told Sky Sports “I may have gotten a little carried away” with the team’s radio explanations.
“I saw a little bit of dust but I just thought he had dropped a wheel,” said Ricciardo. “I saw yellow flags and flashing lights, so I thought they overreacted to him dropping a wheel, but apparently he left right away, I didn’t see him not seen. If so, unlucky Daniel.
Ricciardo has been on fire throughout the weekend so far, but hoped for more in qualifying.
“It was fun, obviously we have been missing it for so long, and I didn’t let myself go out during this whole lockdown,” he said. “After Melbourne, I stayed focused and trained and relaxed a bit, but I remained mentally and ready to be here for the day.”
Despite Ricciardo’s eruption, it was Vettel who stole the show thanks to Ferrari’s shockingly poor performance.
The quadruple world champion has finished outside Q3 for the first time due to a performance problem since joining Ferrari in 2015.
Vettel, who is expected to be replaced by Carlos Sainz next year and who does not yet have a car for the 2021 season, said he was surprised at how bad it had gone.
“I thought we had a little more on hand, but it looks like the others were probably running a little more fuel or more conservative in practice,” he said after being knocked out.
“I was not very happy with the car… more oversteer at the entrance than I would like, but we’ll see. I think tomorrow is a different picture. Maybe the track was getting a little warmer, it was a little more expensive for us today. “
It was a bad day for Ferrari all around with Leclerc qualifying seventh.
Fans quickly analyzed Ferrari’s poor performance, especially after an investigation into the accusations the team had cheated in 2019.
Ferrari has an upgrade to come at the Hungarian Grand Prix, but will have two races in Austria to contend with before the new package arrives.
In the end, it was another day dominated by Mercedes, Bottas winning the 12th pole of his career.
“I have obviously been preparing for this for a long time and it feels so good. Our team has done an incredible job, we seem to be in our own league, “said Bottas, who also beat Hamilton on pole in Austria in 2017-2018.
“I am so impressed. It really is an amazing car to drive.”
QUALIFICATION RESULTS OF THE AUSTRIAN GRAND PRIZE
1. Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes
2. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes
3. Max Verstappen, Red Bull
4. Lando Norris, McLaren
5. Alexander Albon, Red Bull
6. Sergio Perez, Racing Point
7. Charles Leclerc, Ferrari
8. Carlos Sainz, McLaren
9. Lance Stroll, Racing Point
10. Daniel Ricciardo, Renault
Out in Q2
11. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari
12. Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri
13. Daniil Kvyat, AlphaTauri
14. Esteban Ocon, Renault
15. Romain Grosjean, Haas
Out in Q1
16. Kevin Magnussen, Haas
17. George Russell, Williams
18. Antonio Giovinazzi, Alfa Romeo
19. Kimi Raikkonen, Alfa Romeo
20. Nicholas Latifi, Williams