Sun, Jul 01, 2018 - Page 11 News List

Vettel sets track record to secure pole for Austrian GP

Reuters, SPIELBERG, Austria

Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel yesterday pushed Formula One leader Lewis Hamilton off the top of the Austrian Grand Prix practice time sheets while Red Bull’s Max Verstappen hit problems.

The German lapped the scenic Red Bull Ring in a track-record 1 minute, 04.070 seconds, a mere 0.029 quicker than fellow four-time world champion Hamilton in the Mercedes, with sunshine replacing overcast skies.

Meanwhile, Verstappen parked by the side of the track about 10 minutes from the end of the third and final session before qualifying.

“The engine just shut down,” the Dutch 20-year-old, who had an army of orange-shirted fans packing the grandstands and is eager to make up for crashing out on the first lap last year, said over the team radio.

“Hopefully it’s as simple as a box being changed,” Red Bull principal Christian Horner told Sky Sports.

Hamilton was quickest in both of Friday’s practice sessions at the track that has crowned a Mercedes winner in each of the four years since Austria returned to the calendar in 2014, but Ferrari appeared to have found some extra speed overnight.

Finland’s Valtteri Bottas, last year’s winner from pole position after teammate Hamilton took a grid penalty, was third on the time sheets with a time 0.134 seconds slower than the Ferrari.

The top three teams again filled the top six places, with Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen fourth fastest ahead of Verstappen and Red Bull’s Australian Daniel Ricciardo finishing in sixth place.

France’s Romain Grosjean, still without a point this season, was seventh, with Haas teammate Kevin Magnussen eighth and Renault’s Carlos Sainz ninth.

Sauber’s Monegasque rookie Charles Leclerc continued his fine form in 10th, with Swedish teammate Marcus Ericsson providing a benchmark in 16th.

However, Leclerc ended the session as a spectator after also having problems.

“I think there is something wrong with the engine,” he said.

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