Leclerc beats Hamilton to pole for Austrian Grand Prix

Ferrari's Charles Leclerc took pole position for the Austrian Grand Prix. Picture credit: Reuters

Ferrari's Charles Leclerc stormed to pole position at the Austrian Grand Prix on Saturday with Formula One leader Lewis Hamilton docked three places. The five-time world champion will start from fourth place on grid.

The 21-year-old Monegasque went into the final shootout as favourite, having set the pace in two of the three practice sessions and throughout the early phases of qualifying, and duly delivered.

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!", shouted a jubilant Leclerc over the team radio after taking his first pole since the Bahrain Grand Prix in March, a race he would have won had an engine issue not dashed his hopes.

"I'm very happy to bring pole position back home, but tomorrow we'll finish the job,” added the Monegasque, who will start on the soft tyre compared to the medium tyre for his rivals.

The Briton was handed the penalty for impeding Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen during the opening phase of qualifying.

Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen will start second, while Hamilton’s teammate Valtteri Bottas will start from the third spot.

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