Leclerc makes it five in Austria

Charles Leclerc
Charles Leclerc

Charles Leclerc showed his rivals a clean pair of heels by claiming an astonishing fifth pole position in a row at this afternoon’s qualifying session at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, setting the fastest times on both sets of tires to easily lead home rivals Sergio Sette Camara and PREMA teammate Antonio Fuoco by three tenths in a warm and dry session in Austria.

The Monegasque driver stopped the clocks at 1:13.396 late in the session to easily claim the pole position: his rivals threw everything they had at him but could not close the large gap up to stop him continuing his run of poles this year.

The session opened to warm but cloudy conditions as all of the drivers heading straight out on track, with Leclerc only briefly delayed after stalling while he waited for the green lights. Nyck De Vries was the first on track and soon led the way, setting the first competitive time before Nobuharu Matsushita, Oliver Rowland, Antonio Fuoco, Sette Camara and Leclerc alternated on the top of the timesheets, the latter taking a lead of a tenth back to the pits.

His rivals all drew breath before pushing once again on the second set of tires, with ART pair Alexander Albon and Matsushita briefing running 1-2, until first Sette Camara and then Leclerc usurped the pair: with just a few minutes remaining Luca Ghiotto pushed hard but lost time in the final sector and teammate Artem Markelov was delayed by traffic returning to the pits, while behind them Leclerc set the 2nd quickest time of the session and Sette Camara came to rest in the gravel at turn 8 after pushing too hard to close the gap.

Behind the top three Albon made a solid return from injury for P4 ahead of Rowland, Matsushita, De Vries, Ghiotto, Nicholas Latifi and Norman Nato, with the top 13 drivers within a second of the top time. On a circuit which famously provides great racing for a grid which is so close together on time, tomorrow’s Feature Race should be unmissable.

Preliminary Free Practice Classification

Pos

Driver

Team

Laptime

Laps

1.

Charles Leclerc

PREMA Racing

1:13.396

14

2.

Sergio Sette Camara

MP Motorsport

1:13.736

13

3.

Antonio Fuoco

PREMA Racing

1:13.776

14

4.

Alexander Albon

ART Grand Prix

1:13.888

15

5.

Oliver Rowland

DAMS

1:13.903

14

6.

Nobuharu Matsushita

ART Grand Prix

1:13.922

14

7.

Nyck De Vries

Rapax

1:14.034

15

8.

Luca Ghiotto

RUSSIAN TIME

1:14.180

14

9.

Nicholas Latifi

DAMS

1:14.193

14

10.

Norman Nato

Pertamina Arden

1:14.203

14

11.

Ralph Boschung

Campos Racing

1:14.363

16

12.

Louis Deletraz

Racing Engineering

1:14.377

16

13.

Jordan King

MP Motorsport

1:14.384

14

14.

Sergio Canamasas

Rapax

1:14.489

15

15.

Artem Markelov

RUSSIAN TIME

1:14.534

16

16.

Sean Gelael

Pertamina Arden

1:14.555

15

17.

Raffaele Marciello

Trident

1:14.643

14

18.

Robert Visoiu

Campos Racing

1:14.653

15

19.

Nabil Jeffri

Trident

1:14.672

17

20.

Gustav Malja

RUSSIAN TIME

1:15.121

16

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