Leclerc gets pole as Hamilton demoted in Austria

Pole position: Charles Leclerc.

Pole position: Charles Leclerc.Credit:AP

Ferrari's Charles Leclerc has stormed to pole position at the Austrian Grand Prix, with Max Verstappen joining him on a front row of 21-year-olds after Formula One leader Lewis Hamilton was demoted for impeding.

McLaren's Lando Norris, at 19 the youngest driver on the current grid, will line up behind them in fourth on a remarkable day for the sport's young guns.

Leclerc went into Saturday's final top-10 shootout as favourite, having set the pace in two of the three practice sessions and the first two phases of qualifying.

His second career pole was secured with a time of one minute 03.003 seconds – the fastest ever lap around the undulating 4.3km Red Bull Ring.


"Come on, baby, yes," he shouted over the team radio after taking his first pole since the Bahrain Grand Prix in March.

"I'm very happy to bring pole position back home, but tomorrow we'll finish the job," Leclerc said.

Verstappen had qualified third for Red Bull but moved up to the front row after stewards found Hamilton had impeded Alfa Romeo's Kimi Raikkonen and dropped the five-time world champion to fifth.

Hamilton, 36 points ahead of Valtteri Bottas after winning six of eight races this season and the last four, now behind his teammate.

"Totally deserved the penalty today and have no problem accepting it," he said on Instagram.

"Was a mistake on my behalf and I take full responsibility for it. It wasn't intentional. Anyway, tomorrow is another day and an opportunity to rise. These things are sent to try us."

The 34-year-old Briton faces a big challenge to extend Mercedes's run of 10 wins in a row, and eight this season, on Sunday.

Australia's Daniel Ricciardo qualified 12th for Renault.

Saturday's pole was Ferrari's second in three races but only their third of the season.

It was a bittersweet success, with Leclerc's teammate Sebastian Vettel failing to make it out of the pits in Read More – Source

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