Saturday afternoon’s Austrian Grand Prix qualifying session could be a gripping contest between Scuderia Ferrari and Mercedes-AMG. Charles Leclerc once again finished quicker than the two Silver Arrows of Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas, with the Monégasque driver’s teammate Sebastian Vettel hot on their heels.

Leclerc became the only driver this weekend to lap the 4.3-kilometre Red Bull Ring circuit in less than 64 seconds, posting a 1:03.987 in this morning’s one-hour final hit-out. He finished up just 0.143 seconds quicker than Hamilton, while Bottas – whose car was extensively rebuilt following the Finn’s heavy crash in FP2 – was just 0.234 seconds behind.

Vettel wound up fourth-quickest in the sister Ferrari, with barely a quarter of a second covering the top four runners.

Max Verstappen led Red Bull Racing’s charge in fifth at its ‘home’ event. The Dutch driver’s RB15 had also undergone major repairs following his own crash early in FP2, and the defending race-winner over half a second quicker than teammate Pierre Gasly. The Frenchman’s running was limited by an apparent software glitch, which left him P7 on the timesheets.

Splitting the Red Bull teammates was rookie McLaren driver Lando Norris, who benefited from a slipstream provided by teammate Carlos Sainz Jr. With Sainz (who finished up P8) set to start from the back of the grid courtesy of several power unit element changes, McLaren may well consider employing this tactic in qualifying to bolster the grid position of its other driver.

Alfa Romeo rookie Antonio Giovinazzi finished a solid ninth-fastest ahead of the Toro Rosso Hondas of Daniil Kvyat and Alexander Albon, with the latter also going to start from the back of the grid regardless of where he qualifies.

Joining Sainz Jr and Albon with grid penalties on Sunday are Renault’s Nico Hülkenberg (five places for a new internal combustion engine) and Haas’ Kevin Magnussen (gearbox change).

Driver Team / Entry Time Gap Laps
1. Charles Leclerc Scuderia Ferrari SF90 1:03.987 18
2. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes-AMG Motorsport W10 1:04.130 + 0.143 21
3. Valtteri Bottas Mercedes-AMG Motorsport W10 1:04.221 + 0.234 23
4. Sebastian Vettel Scuderia Ferrari SF90 1:04.250 + 0.263 20
5. Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing RB15 1:04.446 + 0.459 18
6. Lando Norris McLaren F1 Team MCL34 1:04.986 + 0.999 19
7. Pierre Gasly Red Bull Racing RB15 1:05.152 + 1.165 15
8. Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren F1 Team MCL34 1:05.219 + 1.232 22
9. Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Racing C38 1:05.336 + 1.349 17
10. Daniil Kvyat Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda STR14 1:05.391 + 1.404 25
11. Alexander Albon Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda STR14 1:05.481 + 1.494 29
12. Nico Hülkenberg Renault F1 Team RS19 1:05.514 + 1.527 21
13. Kimi Räikkönen Alfa Romeo Racing C38 1:05.514 + 1.527 21
14. Sergio Pérez Racing Point F1 Team RP19 1:05.523 + 1.536 18
15. Romain Grosjean Haas F1 Team VF-19 1:05.620 + 1.633 20
16. Lance Stroll Racing Point F1 Team RP19 1:05.650 + 1.663 17
17. Daniel Ricciardo Renault F1 Team RS19 1:05.878 + 1.891 19
18. Kevin Magnussen Haas F1 Team VF-19 1:06.017 + 2.030 11
19. George Russell ROKiT Williams Racing FW42 1:06.676 + 2.689 23
20. Robert Kubica ROKiT Williams Racing FW42 1:07.484 + 3.497 23

Images via Scuderia Ferrari

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.