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Giovinazzi enjoys Ferrari F1 simulator run at Maranello

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Rising GP2 star Antonio Giovinazzi spent Monday in Ferrari’s Formula 1 simulator at Maranello in Italy.

Giovinazzi moved into GP2 for 2016 with Prema Racing after impressing the the FIA F3 series last year, partnering Red Bull junior Pierre Gasly.

Despite being in his rookie season, Giovinazzi finds himself in contention for the GP2 title with four races remaining, trailing Gasly by just 10 points.

On Monday, Ferrari confirmed that the Italian youngster was invited to try his hand in its simulator at Maranello.

“It was a very enjoyable experience and I would like to thank Ferrari for this opportunity,” Giovinazzi said.

“However, now it’s straight back to concentrating fully on my GP2 program for the rest of this season.”

Italian drivers have a rich history in both F1 and at Ferrari, but there are none currently on the grid, making Giovinazzi’s rise of particular interest.

Ferrari’s young driver academy currently comprises Charles Leclerc, Antonio Fuoco, Giuliano Alesi (all GP3) and Guanyu Zhou (FIA F3).

Valtteri Bottas takes pole position for season-opening Austrian GP

Leonhard Foeger/Pool via Getty Images
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SPIELBERG, Austria — Valtteri Bottas upstaged Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton to take pole position Saturday for the Formula One Austrian GP.

The Finnish driver edged out the world champion by 0.012 seconds to claim the top spot for the season opener at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg. He clenched his fist as he climbed out of his car and shared a hug with Hamilton.

“It’s something special when you push the car to the limit,” said Bottas, who is chasing an eighth career win. “Feels so good. It’s very impressive (from the team).”

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen was third, and Lando Norris gave McLaren a boost by finishing fourth. Verstappen has won the past two years here, including 2019 when he started third behind Hamilton and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.

“It’s going to be interesting quite a bit warmer tomorrow and hopefully this will play to our advantage,” Verstappen said. “Today, Mercedes was on a different level, unfortunately. Last year we were also a little bit off in qualifying so I expect we will be a bit better in the race.”

Bottas had the leading time when drivers embarked on their final laps and beat his own mark before sliding off the track into the gravel.

Hamilton was chasing a record-extending 89th career pole. He was ahead but then dropped off slightly as Bottas secured a 12th career pole.

“Great job by Valtteri. It’s a great start to the season,” Hamilton said. “We show year on year that we continue to be the best team. We’re open-minded … constantly learning from each other and pushing the boundaries.”

Ferrari struggled for speed, with Leclerc nearly one second behind in seventh and Sebastian Vettel failing to make it into the third and final part of qualifying, known as Q3. He starts the race from 11th on the grid.

Vettel is leaving Ferrari at the end of the season with his future in F1 uncertain.

Earlier, Hamilton posted the fastest time in morning practice. The 35-year-old British driver was also quickest in both sessions on Friday.

Midway through third practice, F1 newcomer Nicholas Latifi misjudged the exit of a turn and spun his Williams car into a protective tire wall.