Starting Grid 2020 Austrian Grand Prix
Start time:15:10 local | 14:10 GMT | 07:10 PT
Valtteri Bottas's pole position time set the all-time track record at the Red Bull Ring today, underlining that the cars have evolved while this year's tyre range stayed the same as last season.
The most interesting strategic moment from qualifying was Verstappen's decision to start the race on the medium tyre, which will allow him to have a more flexible race strategy. With potentially a longer first stint than his rivals. This could be crucial to the race outcome.
As expected with a short lap and tightly-matched field, we saw mostly the soft tyre used from start to finish of qualifying. Each team needed to be sure to get the most out of their cars, given how close the margins were. But in the race tomorrow, all three compounds should have an important role to play.
Lewis Hamilton did had to go to the race stewarts to explain the situation in the last lap when he didn't slow down for the yellow flag caused by his teammate. He was not penalized because their seemed to be conflicting signals around the track. The stewards did, however, delete Hamilton's first lap time in Q3, after they deemed that he'd run too wide on the exit of turn 10. His second and last lap time was however quicker and scored his P2 on the grid.
Red Bull have launched a protest with new evidence against that yellow flag stewards decision. The outcome was that the stewarts had to hand Hamilton a three-place grid drop that moved Hamilton towards P5.
Start Grid 2020 Austrian F1 GP
|Pos||No||Driver||Team||Lap Time||Pole gap|
|2||33||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||1:03,477||+0,538s|
|4||23||Alexander Albon||Red Bull||1:03,868||+0,929s|
|6||11||Sergio Pérez||Racing Point||1:03,868||+0,929s|
|8||55||Carlos Sainz Jr.||McLaren||1:03,971||+1,032s|
|9||18||Lance Stroll||Racing Point||1:04,029||+1,090s|
|18||99||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo||1:05,175||+2,236s|
|19||7||Kimi Räikkönen||Alfa Romeo||1:05,224||+2,285s|
- Lewis Hamilton was given a 3 places grid penalty for not slowing down under yellow.
2020 Austrian Race Strategy
The fastest strategy for the 71-lap Austrian Grand Prix is a one-stopper. The quickest way is to start on the P Zero red soft tyre for 24 to 28 laps, before switching to the P Zero White hard until the flag. Alternatively, start on the P Zero Yellow medium tyre for 27 to 32 laps, before finishing the race on hard. These two strategies have a more or less identical total race time, but the latter offers slightly more flexibility.
The second-quickest strategy is to start on the soft for 30 to 34 laps, then go on medium to the end.
A two-stop strategy is definitely slower, but it would go like this: two stints on the soft tyre of 16 to 18 laps each, then finish the race on either the medium or the hard compound (depending on how things were looking at that point).
2020 Austrian Race Notes
- Unity. Bottas took pole (with Mercedes going fastest in all the free practice sessions as well) to claim a unique rainbow Pirelli Pole Position Award tyre: symbolising the fight against Covid-19 and promotion of inclusivity that is a key message of Formula 1.
- Max Verstappen. The Red Bull driver will be the only driver in the top 10 to start on the medium tyres, having used them to set his fastest time in Q2. Last year's Austrian Grand Prix winner will start from third on the grid.
- Strategy. The midfield in particular is very close (the Red Bull of Alex Albon in P5 and the Racing Point of Sergio Perez in P6 actually set identical times in Q3). With such a short lap and just one pit stop expected, the timing of that stop will be even more crucial than usual when it comes to gaining track position.
- Sebastian Vettel. Starting from P11, Vettel's Ferrari will be the highest-placed car with a free choice of tyres, handing him the opportunity to do something quite different from his immediate rivals.
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