Valtteri Bottas takes pole position of the Austrian GP

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SPIELBERG, Austria – Valtteri Bottas outclassed teammate Mercedes Lewis Hamilton on Saturday to take pole position for the Austrian Grand Prix opening season of Formula One.The Finnish driver was 0.012 seconds ahead of the world champion at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg. He clenched his fist out of his car and shared a hug with Hamilton.

“It’s something special when you push the car to the limit,” said Bottas, who is aiming for an eighth career victory. ” It feels good. It’s very impressive (from the team). ”

Max Verstappen of Red Bull finished third and Lando Norris gave McLaren a boost by finishing fourth. Verstappen has won the last two years here, including 2019 when he finished third behind Ferrari’s Hamilton and Charles Leclerc.

“It’s going to be interesting a little warmer tomorrow and I hope it will work to our advantage,” said Verstappen. “Today Mercedes was on a different level, unfortunately. Last year we were also a little behind in qualifying, so I think we will be a little better in the race. ”

Montreal’s Lance Stroll of Racing Point finished ninth. Toronto rookie Nicholas Latifi of Williams was 20th and last.

Bottas had the best time when the pilots started their last laps and beat his own mark before sliding off the track in the gravel.

Hamilton was aiming for an 89th career record pole. He was in the lead but then dropped slightly as Bottas took 12th career pole.

“Excellent work by Valtteri. It’s a great start to the season, ”said Hamilton. “We show year after year that we continue to be the best team. We are open-minded… constantly learning from each other and pushing the limits. ”

Ferrari struggled for speed, with Leclerc nearly a second behind in seventh and Sebastian Vettel failed to make it into the third and final round of qualifying, known as Q3. He starts the race from 11th place on the grid.

Vettel leaves Ferrari at the end of the season with an uncertain future in F1.

Earlier, Hamilton set the fastest time in the morning tests. Friday, the 35-year-old British driver was also the fastest of the two sessions.

In the middle of the third training session, Latifi misjudged the exit from a corner and spun his Williams car in a tire barrier.

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