Valtteri Bottas claims his fifth career pole position – his first of the 2018 season and second in Spielberg. Lewis Hamilton came home in P2 on the grid, completing the third front-row lockout of the season for Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport. Today’s result marks the 175th pole position for Mercedes-Benz power. Both drivers will start tomorrow’s Grand Prix on the SuperSoft tyre.
It feels really good to get my first pole position of the season. I like this track a lot; last year I had a good weekend here and this year the weekend has started well again. It’s a tricky circuit; there are only seven real corners on this track, but you can get them wrong very easily and lose a lot of time. For me it helped a lot that my first lap in Q3 was really good, so I could build on that in the second run. I will look at the data in detail to see where there is further room for improvement. The car felt really well-balanced today, so I can’t imagine why it wouldn’t feel that way tomorrow. We have had very mixed races lately, so I hope that I can get a good start and fight for the win. We have shown that we are quick here and have a really strong package, so we need a nice, clean race to turn our qualifying result into points. It’s nice to have a good result, but this was only qualifying, and it’s the race that counts.
This is a great result for the team, I’m really happy for us to have a 1-2. Congratulations to Valtteri, he did a better job today. He went a completely different way with the set-up and maybe in hindsight I should have gone that direction as well. I’m really grateful for all the hard work from everyone at the factory, they’v e helped us to improve the car, move forward and lock out the front row – it’s quite a privilege to be in that position. You can’t really follow here, so there usually isn’t a lot of overtaking but we will see if the three DRS zones will make a difference. Ferrari will start on the UltraSoft tyres whereas Red Bull and us will start on the SuperSofts so that will be interesting. There is a bit of a performance difference between those tyres, so keeping Sebastian behind at the start will be difficult, but I will give it everything I could. It’s going to be close tomorrow, but we’re in a good position for the race.
It’s a fantastic result to take the front row here in Spielberg with Valtteri just a few hundredths ahead of Lewis. We have been pushing hard in recent weeks to add performance to the car and, after the upgraded engine last week, it was really impressive to see the size of the aero upgrade here at the second race of the triple header. The hard work has paid off so far, with the car performing well and handling nicely around this circuit. Valtteri has been on good form all weekend and had a clean qualifying session, building up the performance level with each lap; Lewis also started strongly, after a tricky FP3, but made a mistake on his first lap in Q3. That meant it played out like a perfect thriller, with everything riding on the final runs – Lewis was quicker than the provisional pole time, but Valtteri was a little faster still and took his first pole of the season. It’s a well-deserved result after some really bad luck in recent races. Now, we need to manage the start well to have a strong race. Like last weekend in France, we will start on the SuperSoft, Ferrari on the UltraSoft; this gave them the advantage from the start last weekend, and we need to be conscious of that tomorrow. But those considerations are for this evening, for a few moments now we can enjoy a strong team result – and the best possible starting point for what will be a hard-fought Grand Prix.
Source: Daimler AG