Bottas eyeing first win of season after securing pole

SPIELBERG • Valtteri Bottas claimed he is now hungry for victory after seizing his first pole position of the Formula One season in Austria yesterday with Mercedes team-mate and world championship leader Lewis Hamilton having to settle for second.

Bottas, who has had four second places but is yet to win this year, triumphed at the scenic Red Bull Ring from pole last year.

"I can guarantee nobody will be more hungry for the win than me," said Bottas, whose position at the reigning champions has yet to be confirmed for 2019 even though he is expected to be retained.

"The whole weekend we've been making good progress with the set-up. We've been working to get the car well balanced with the new bits. And the car felt so good."

Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel, 14 points behind Hamilton after eight races, qualified third but was handed a three-place penalty for impeding Renault's Carlos Sainz.

"I think we need to make sure that we improve from where we are. I think in (qualifying), we are little bit behind right now," Vettel said. "For tomorrow I think the car should be stronger in the race so it should be a close fight."

Mercedes, unbeaten in Austria in the four years since the race returned to the calendar, had brought aerodynamic upgrades to Spielberg after the latest specification engine was introduced in France and they clearly helped.

  • AUSTRIAN GRAND PRIX

  • 1ST ROW

    1 Valtteri Bottas (Fin) Mercedes 2 Lewis Hamilton (Gbr) Mercedes

  • 2ND ROW

    3 Kimi Raikkonen (Fin) Ferrari 4 Max Verstappen (Ned) Red Bull

  • 3RD ROW

    5 Romain Grosjean (Fra) Haas 6 Sebastian Vettel (Ger) Ferrari

  • 4TH ROW

    7 Daniel Ricciardo (Aus) Red Bull 8 Kevin Magnussen (Den) Haas

  • 5TH ROW

    9 Carlos Sainz (Esp) Renault 10 Nico Hulkenberg (Ger) Renault

  • SELECTED

    13 Fernando Alonso (Esp) McLaren

"Valtteri did a stunning lap with the first run and I made a bit of a mistake," said Hamilton. "I'm happy with the second run, it is a good result for the team."

Bottas had lagged Hamilton in practice and the first two phases of the qualifying session but then put down an impressive 1min 03.264sec first flying lap in the final shoot-out. He went even faster with his second lap, a track record 1:03.130 that Hamilton could not match with his best effort a mere 0.019 slower.

Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen was bumped up to third from fourth, while Max Verstappen will line up beside the Finn.

Haas' Romain Grosjean, yet to score a point this season, qualified sixth but will start in fifth.

REUTERS

F1 AUSTRIAN GP

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on July 01, 2018, with the headline 'Bottas eyeing first win of season after securing pole'. Print Edition | Subscribe