Hamilton takes his 89th pole position, Sainz records his best qualifying result and Raikkonen records three consecutive Q1 exits for the first time. Here are all the facts and statistics from qualifying at the 2020 Styrian Grand Prix!
HAMILTON ON POLE
At the 2020 Styrian Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton took his 89th pole position and a record-equalling third pole in Austria. He now shares the record for most poles in Austria with Niki Lauda, Rene Arnoux, Nelson Piquet and Valtteri Bottas.
Hamilton took pole by 1.216 seconds, which is the largest pole margin since Nico Rosberg took pole by 1.62 seconds at the 2014 British Grand Prix. It’s only the seventh time that pole has been decided by more than a second since the turn of the millennium. The other times it has happened were at the 2000 German Grand Prix, 2005 Australian Grand Prix, 2010 Malaysia Grand Prix, 2010 Brazilian Grand Prix, 2014 British Grand Prix and the 2017 Italian Grand Prix. If you don’t include the 2005 Australian Grand Prix – where pole was decided by the aggregate of two qualifying laps – then this was the 100th time that pole has been decided by over a second in Formula 1’s World Championship history.
Hamiton’s pole margin is a new record for the largest pole margin at the Austrian Grand Prix. The previous record was 0.719 seconds, the margin by which Giancarlo Fisichella took pole for Benetton at the 1998 Austrian Grand Prix – a qualifying session which was also held in wet conditions.
In terms of percentage of the total lap time, Lewis Hamilton’s pole at the 2020 Styrian Grand Prix was the equal 27th most dominant pole lap of all time. If we consider Hamilton’s time to be 100%, Max Verstappen’s time for second place was 101.53% of that – the same percentage by which Teo Fabi took pole at the 1985 German Grand Prix.
Lewis Hamilton was fastest in all three qualifying sessions. It’s the first time that a driver has topped all three qualifying sessions at the Red Bull Ring, though the Mercedes team have previously topped all three sessions here in 2015, 2016 and 2017.
2020 is the fourteenth consecutive season in which Lewis Hamilton has taken a pole position. It’s a new record for most consecutive seasons in which a driver has taken pole – beating the previous record of 13 set by Michael Schumacher between 1994 and 2006.
While the pole time at the 2020 Austrian Grand Prix was the fifth quickest in history (in terms of time taken to complete), due to rain the pole time at the 2020 Styrian Grand Prix was only the 291st quickest.
The pole margin for the 2020 Austrian Grand Prix was the smallest ever seen in the country, while the pole margin for the 2020 Styrian Grand Prix was the largest ever seen in the country.
THE TOP TEN
Carlos Sainz recorded his best ever qualifying result with third on the grid. It beats his previous best qualifying result of fifth, which he recorded twice, at the 2015 Spanish Grand Prix with Toro Rosso and at the 2018 Hungarian Grand Prix with Renault.
After the second qualifying session of the year, Mercedes, Red Bull and McLaren are the only teams to have a 100% Q3 appearance rate in 2020.
Esteban Ocon qualified in fifth position. It’s the first time he has reached Q3 since the 2018 Brazilian Grand Prix.
Pierre Gasly reached Q3 and qualified in eighth at the Styrian Grand Prix. It’s the first time an AlphaTauri (formerly Toro Rosso) driver has reached Q3 at the Red Bull Ring since Carlos Sainz did so in 2017.
OUT IN Q2
On his 23rd Grand Prix weekend, George Russell reached Q2 for the first time in his Formula 1 career. Since the knockout system was introduced in 2006, only Adrian Sutil made more appearances before he first made it out of Q3. He first reached Q2 at the 2009 Monaco Grand Prix, his 40th appearance. Charles Pic (39) and Narain Karthikeyan (29) also made more appearances without progressing past Q1 in their careers – but they never reached Q2 at any race.
George Russell’s first Q2 appearance marked the first time that a Williams driver made it out of Q1 since Sergey Sirotkin qualified fifteenth at the 2018 Brazilian Grand Prix. It was also Williams’ best qualifying position since Lance Stroll qualified in tenth at the 2018 Italian Grand Prix.
Charles Leclerc was eliminated in Q2 for the first time since the 2018 Japanese Grand Prix. It’s the second time that the Monegasque driver has failed to reach Q3 at Ferrari, having previously been eliminated in Q1 at the 2019 Monaco Grand Prix.
With Sebastian Vettel out in Q2 at the Austrian Grand Prix and Charles Leclerc out in Q2 at the Styrian Grand Prix, this is the first time only one Ferrari driver has reached Q3 at consecutive races since the 2015 Canadian and Austrian Grands Prix
With Lance Stroll reaching Q2, the 2020 Styrian Grand Prix marked only the second time in his career that the Canadian has not been eliminated in Q1 for three races in a row. The last time it happened was at the 2017 Chinese, Bahrain and Russian Grands Prix – the second, third and fourth races of his Formula 1 career.
OUT IN Q1
Before this season, Kimi Raikkonen had never recorded consecutive Q1 exits. The 2020 Styrian Grand Prix marks his third Q1 exit in a row. It’s also the first time that both Alfa Romeo (formerly Sauber) drivers have been eliminated in Q1 for three consecutive races since the start of the 2018 season.
Romain Grosjean was unable to set a lap time in qualifying and recorded his first Q1 exit in Austria as a result.
Sergio Perez was eliminated in Q1 for a fourth time in Austria, equalling Marcus Ericsson as the driver to have had the most Q1 exits at the Red Bull Ring.
THE OTHER STATS FROM THE WEEKEND SO FAR
Until this weekend, since F1 returned to the Red Bull Ring in 2014, Mercedes or Ferrari had set the fastest time in 20 of the 21 practice sessions. The only one in which they didn’t was Free Practice 3 at the 2014 Austrian Grand Prix, where Valtteri Bottas was fastest for Williams. However, neither team topped either of the two practice sessions this weekend. Racing Point and Sergio Perez were fastest in Free Practice 1, while Red Bull and Max Verstappen were fastest in Free Practice 2.
At the 2020 Styrian Grand Prix, both Charles Leclerc and Lando Norris were out-qualified by their team-mate at the Red Bull Ring for the first time.
After graduating in 2015 with a First Class honours degree in English Language and Literature, Nicky Haldenby, a lifelong fan of Formula 1, founded the Lights Out F1 Blog in 2016. Now in its sixth season, the blog has become a firm fan-favourite, delving deep into the sport’s history books and lifting the cover on unusual F1 statistics. Nicky also writes at F1Destinations and Motorsport Guides. In 2017 and 2018, he wrote for Badger GP. Nicky is also the host of the F1 Rewind Podcast and can be heard as the resident stats man on the 2 Soft Compounds Podcast.