F1 2020: Starting grid and race preview for Styrian Grand Prix

By Sports Desk July 11, 2020

A dramatic start to the Formula One season looks poised to continue with the Styrian Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring on Sunday.

Torrential rain had qualifying in doubt on Saturday, but fans were rewarded for their patience with a thrilling session in troublesome track conditions once the action began after a delay.

The second of two consecutive races in Spielberg will see Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen, two men looking to bounce back from disappointing outings at the Austrian Grand Prix, occupy the front row.

Hamilton has not won in his last four attempts at this circuit and, while the weather may be better on race day, there is potential for another lively grand prix after last week's entertaining start.

 

WHAT HAPPENED IN QUALIFYING

A magnificent late effort in the rain saw Hamilton knock Verstappen off the top of the standings in the final stages of Q3, ultimately finishing 1.216 seconds ahead of the Dutchman.

Carlos Sainz claimed an excellent third for a McLaren team who have momentum, with Valtteri Bottas – the winner last time out – having to settle for fourth ahead of Esteban Ocon. Alex Albon qualified seventh but will start sixth after a grid penalty for Lando Norris.

Ferrari had another difficult qualifying, with Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc coming 10th and 11th respectively, before it got worse when the Monegasque dropped to 14th when he received a penalty for impeding Daniil Kvyat.


THE STARTING GRID 

1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 2. Max Verstappen (Red Bull)
3. Carlos Sainz (McLaren)  4. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes)
5. Esteban Ocon (Renault) 6. Alex Albon (Red Bull)
7. Pierre Gasly (Alpha Tauri) 8. Daniel Ricciardo (Renault)
9. Lando Norris (McLaren) 10. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari)
11. George Russell (Williams)  12. Lance Stroll (Racing Point)
13. Daniil Kvyat (Alpha Tauri) 14. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari)
15. Kevin Magnussen (Haas) 16. Kimi Raikkonen (Alfa Romeo)
17. Sergio Perez (Racing Point) 18. Nicholas Latifi (Williams)
19. Antonio Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo) 20. Romain Grosjean (Haas)

 

STYRIAN GRAND PRIX TALKING POINTS

Red Bull have a score to settle with Mercedes after last week and will hope Verstappen can take the fight to Hamilton at their home circuit, where the Dutchman won in 2019.

Verstappen was denied what looked to be a certain podium and a possible challenge to the two Mercedes when he retired last week, while Alex Albon's late charge for victory was derailed when he was knocked off track by Hamilton, who received a time penalty.

Red Bull are therefore desperate for points, as is Hamilton, who will be glad to see team-mate Bottas begin three places behind him as he looks to halt the Finn's early momentum. Sainz, meanwhile, will look to give McLaren consecutive podiums for the first time in eight years.

The race pace of Ferrari, who have not won at this circuit since 2003, will again be under the spotlight. Leclerc's second-place last week masked serious issues with their car, and while they have brought upgrades to round two, the Scuderia start in an unenviable position.

WHAT THE DRIVERS SAID

Lewis Hamilton (pole): "That last lap for me was really as close to perfect as I could really get it in those conditions. I don't know how it comes across on the cameras, but it is the hardest conditions that we ever drive in. I still have to do the job and these guys are no pushovers, so it is going to require a perfect job from myself and the team."

Max Verstappen (2nd): "My final lap could have been a little better and I had a four-wheel drift over the last kerb but still it would not have been good enough to beat Lewis. [Sunday] in the dry will be a different day and hopefully we will be quick enough to fight for the win. Starting on the front row gives us a good opportunity to collect some good points and hopefully we can give Mercedes a hard time."

Carlos Sainz (3rd): "The car was better than it was last year in the wet. I am starting P3, so there will be opportunities hopefully and maybe we can grab another podium. But it will be difficult - we finished P3 last weekend because Hamilton and Albon collided - what is important is that this year with this car, if the others fail, we are a bit closer to the podium."

Valtteri Bottas (4th): "My front-right brake was glazing throughout the qualifying so I couldn't really maximise the potential of the car under braking, which is really important for the confidence in the wet conditions. That made it quite tricky and it was disappointing. We haven't done a race distance, obviously, in practice [but] we know the car is quick so I'm looking forward to it."

Sebastian Vettel (10th): "Unfortunately we didn't have the speed, we had a lot of aquaplaning in the car, struggled to get the tyres to work, in particular the front, so it wasn't easy to judge. We had a lot of front locking, a lot of aquaplaning down the straight. In the last lap, I tried to do a bit more and risk everything and it didn't work. I had to try, but not great, obviously."

George Russell (11th): "It felt incredible. It was a real buzz driving – I was giving it everything I had. If somebody said we'd have been a tenth away from the Ferraris [to get] into Q3, there is no way I would have believed it. It's not our true pace but it was great and a real boost for the hard work of the whole team. I'm really happy. Let's see what we can do on Sunday."

 

CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS

Drivers

1. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) – 25
2. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) – 18
3. Lando Norris (McLaren) – 16
4. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) – 12
5. Carlos Sainz (McLaren) – 10

Constructors

1. Mercedes – 37
2. McLaren – 26
3. Ferrari – 19
4. Racing Point – 8
5. Alpha Tauri - 6

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  • MotoGP 2020: Starting grid and preview for the Emilia Romagna and Rimini's Coast Grand Prix MotoGP 2020: Starting grid and preview for the Emilia Romagna and Rimini's Coast Grand Prix

    Maverick Vinales has another golden opportunity to put himself firmly in the MotoGP title picture when he starts on pole at Misano on Sunday. 

    Vinales was on pole for the San Marino Grand Prix last time out but was unable to convert that position into a victory, finishing down in sixth. 

    The Spaniard is 18 points adrift of Andrea Dovizioso in a wide-open fight to replace the injured Marc Marquez as world champion. 

    However, he is in the prime spot to vault up the standings after an error by Francesco Bagnaia gave him pole for the Emilia Romagna and Rimini's Coast Grand Prix. 

    Yet the owner of the lap record at Misano cannot afford to take anything for granted ahead of what looks set to be a fascinating fight for the chequered flag.

    WHAT HAPPENED IN QUALIFYING

    Bagnaia should have been celebrating a maiden MotoGP pole - and another Misano lap record - having smashed the previous mark in FP3. 

    He crossed the line on his final flying lap in one minute and 30.973 seconds, a time that would have seen him top the timesheets. 

    However, he crucially exceeded the track limits on the final turn, an infraction that saw his lap struck off and both pole position and the record handed to Vinales.

    Vinales will have Jack Miller and Fabio Quartararo for company on the front row, with Bagnaia dropping to fifth as a result of his error. 

    Championship leader Dovizioso heads the fourth row, with Franco Morbidelli - winner of the San Marino Grand Prix - sandwiched between Valentino Rossi and Danilo Petrucci on the third row. 

    THE STARTING GRID

    1. Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha), 2. Jack Miller (Pramac Racing), 3. Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha)
    4. Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing), 5. Francesco Bagnaia (Pramac Racing), 6. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing)
    7. Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha), 8. Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha), 9. Danilo Petrucci (Ducati)
    10. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati), 11. Joan Mir (Suzuki Ecstar), 12. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda)
    13. Iker Lecuona (Red Bull KTM Tech 3), 14. Johann Zarco (Avintia), 15. Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Tech 3)
    16. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia), 17. Alex Marquez (Repsol Honda), 18. Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar)
    19. Bradley Smith (Aprilia), 20. Tito Rabat (Avintia)

    EMILIA ROMAGNA GRAND PRIX TALKING POINTS

    The searing pace displayed by Bagnaia will be a topic of discussion despite his phenomenal last flying lap counting for nothing. 

    He and team-mate Miller will surely pose a significant threat to Vinales, though Quartararo is concerned about some of his title rivals positioned further back on the starting grid. 

    Joan Mir of Suzuki trails Dovizioso by 16 points, but he produced a disappointing display in Q2 and starts 11th. However, with Quartararo branding the Suzuki "a perfect bike", a charge through the field from Mir is not out of the question.

    "Yes, I'm worried because they are fast in the straight, they are fast in acceleration to overtake people, they are so fast," Quartararo said on Thursday.

    WHAT THE RIDERS SAID

    Maverick Vinales (pole): "This weekend I tried to work always with a race setting. We make an improvement. Last weekend the bike always feels good without fuel but with fuel on the race I struggle a lot. This weekend we work a lot and it seems that we make an improvement. We wish it will work for the race."

    Jack Miller (2nd): "When we got to Q2 I only had one tyre, so it was kind of a one-shot wonder. Anyway, we made it, not a bad qualifying, I was lucky to get the two off Pecco [Bagnaia]."

    Fabio Quartararo (3rd): "Feeling great to be on the front row, that is really important. Our race pace is looking good. I'm happy because we have a good base for tomorrow."

    CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS

    Riders

    1. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) 76
    2. Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha) 70
    3. Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) 64
    4. Joan Mir (Suzuki Ecstar) 60
    5. Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha) 58

    Teams

    1. Petronas Yamaha 127
    2. Monster Energy Yamaha 116
    3. Ducati 101
    4. Suzuki Ecstar 100
    5. Pramac Racing 97

  • Bagnaia hands second successive Misano pole to Vinales with costly late error Bagnaia hands second successive Misano pole to Vinales with costly late error

    Maverick Vinales claimed his second successive pole position at Misano as an error from Francesco Bagnaia saw him miss out on the front row in a dramatic qualifying session for the Emilia Romagna and Rimini's Coast Grand Prix.

    Bagnaia, who smashed the Misano lap record in third practice, found searing pace as the Pramac Racing rider attempted to deny Vinales.

    He crossed the line in one minute and 30.973 seconds, which would have seen him take a first career pole and set the first 1:30 lap at the Marco Simoncelli circuit.

    However, his lap was immediately expunged as Bagnaia exceeded the track limits on the final turn, handing pole to Vinales after his lap record of 1:31.077.

    Bagnaia dropped to fifth, with Jack Miller and Fabio Quartararo completing the front row behind Vinales.

    The KTMs of Pol Espargaro and Brad Binder were fourth and sixth respectively, while championship leader Andrea Dovizioso will have work to do to hold on to his six-point lead over Quartararo.

    Dovizioso was 10th behind Ducati team-mate Danilo Petrucci, the fourth row completed by Joan Mir and Takaaki Nakagami.

    LCR Honda's Nakagami went off at turn 15 in FP4 and repeated that error in Q2, wrecking his second bike of the race week and leaving him to settle for 12th on the grid.

    Provisional classification

    1. Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha) 1:31.077s
    2. Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) +0.076s
    3. Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha) +0.145s
    4. Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) +0.231s
    5. Francesco Bagnaia (Pramac Racing) +0.236s
    6. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) +0.312s
    7. Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha) +0.359s
    8. Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha) +0.489s
    9. Danilo Petrucci (Ducati) +0.497s
    10. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) +0.504s
    11. Joan Mir (Suzuki Ecstar) +0.540s
    12. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda) +1.207s

     

     

  • MotoGP 2020: Marquez stand-in Bradl to sit out Emilia-Romagna GP MotoGP 2020: Marquez stand-in Bradl to sit out Emilia-Romagna GP

    Repsol Honda rider Stefan Bradl will miss the Emilia Romagna and Rimini's Coast Grand Prix because of an arm injury.

    Bradl has filled in for Marc Marquez - the six-time world champion who broke an arm in the MotoGP season opener at Jerez - but is battling ongoing issues in his own right arm.

    The German competed in the first practice session at Misano but was 1.3 seconds adrift of Fabio Quartararo, who set the pace with a time of one minute and 31.271 seconds.

    Following discussions with Honda, Bradl will sit out the rest of the race weekend.

    "Unfortunately, I am still having problems with my right arm and I am unable to ride in a safe and consistent way," Bradl said.

    "I spoke with my doctor and we performed a small operation to clean the nerve before this weekend, but when they opened the arm they saw the situation was more complicated than they first thought.

    "I came to Misano with the intention of racing because my doctor told me it would be okay to race. But in this situation, I do not feel I can ride safely over a whole race, together with HRC [Honda Racing Corporation] we have decided to take the rest of the week to recover before Barcelona."

    FP2 saw Brad Binder of KTM lead the way with a lap of 1:31.628.

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