Spielberg (Austria), June 30 (IANS) Ferraris Monegasque Formula One (F1) driver Charles Leclerc has ended the qualifying rounds for the Austrian Grand Prix (GP) securing the pole position, the second of his career.
Mercedes’ Briton Lewis Hamilton came in second spot on Saturday to start Sunday’s race from the front row, along with Leclerc.
“It’s a big pleasure to drive this car on the limit. I’m very happy to bring pole position back home. Tomorrow will be very difficult physically and for the car,” Leclerc told F1 media after the qualifying round.
“Congratulations to Charles, he’s been quick all weekend and we’ve just not really been able to keep up with him. I’ve got to fight the young’uns,” Hamilton congratulated the Monegasque afterwards.
Being the fastest in the qualifications at the 4,318-meter Red Bull Ring circuit with one minute and 03.003 seconds, Leclerc, 21, was awarded his pole position honor by Lukas, the son of the late Austrian three-time F1 world champion Niki Lauda, reports Efe news.
Dutchman Max Verstappen of Red Bull Racing team and Hamilton’s Fin teammate Valtteri Bottas will start the race from the second row, after finishing the qualifications in third and fourth spots respectively.
Leclerc’s first pole was achieved this year as well at the 2019 Bahrain GP in March, but he finished the race in third spot, allowing then Mercedes’ Hamilton and Bottas a one-two win, respectively.
German four-time world champion, Sebastian Vettel, was not able to go through the qualifications due to a problem in his Ferrari, finishing in the 10th spot, but he is to start the race as ninth, thanks to a penalty imposed over Haas Ferrari’s Kevin Magnussen, who finished in fifth.
Magnussen was handed a five-place grid drop by F1 as his team admitted it has changed the car’s gearbox.
Mclaren’s Lando Norris was sixth, while Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Räikkönen and Antonio Giovinazzi finished the qualifying rounds in seventh and eighth spots respectively; Red Bull’s Pierre Gasly came in ninth.
So far, Hamilton leads the overall Drivers’ Standings with 187 points, with a comfortable 36-point advantage ahead of his teammate, Bottas.
Vettel holds the third spot with 111 points, 11 points ahead of fourth-placed Verstappen, while Leclerc sits in fifth with 87 points.