Mercedes F1 had an impressive showing at Saturday's Austrian Grand Prix qualifying round with Valtteri Bottas taking pole and teammate Lewis Hamilton accompanying him on the front row. A margin of just 0.019 seconds separated the two as Hamilton's time would have set a new track lap record had it not been for Bottas' pole lap of 1:03.130.
The duo outpaced the Ferraris of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen, both putting together their quickest times on their respective final laps. Vettel conclusively finished ahead of Raikkonen and will start from P3 with his veteran partner starting alongside in P4.
Red Bull's Max Verstappen notched a fastest time of 1:03.840 around the track that bears his team's name. This was enough for a third-row spot on the gid but, instead of being joined by fellow RBR pilot Daniel Ricciardo, he'll instead go head-to-head with Haas' Romain Grosjean in a surprisingly quick round for the Frenchman. Ricciardo fell to P7 as a result of his 1:03.996 and will sit beside the other Haas of Kevin Magnussen.
Closing out the top ten are the Renaults of Carlos Sainz and Nico Hulkenberg in that order. The respectable outing from the Enstone-based team saw a return to form as both entries made it through to Q3 once more.
Stories from Q2 include the elimination of Sauber's star rookie Charles LeClerc who achieved his first Q3 appearance in France last weekend. Although the young Monegasque driver completed the round 13th fastest, he'll be dealt a five-place grid penalty as a gearbox change was prompted after a failure in morning practice.
Additionally, McLaren's Fernando Alonso was eliminated in Q2 despite a seemingly-quick last lap in which he ran wide in the final corner. This mishap undid all of his previous work and he completed the session in P14.
The five drivers eliminated in Q1 were as follows:
P16: Stoffel Vandoorne - McLaren - 1:05.271
P17: Sergio Perez - Force India - 1:05.279
P18: Sergey Sirotkin - Williams - 1:05.322
P19: Brendon Hartley - Toro Rosso - 1:05.366
P20: Marcus Ericsson - Sauber - 1:05.479
This order is unofficial and will be changed after grid penalties have been applied.