Lewis Hamilton beat Nico Rosberg to pole position for the Austrian Grand Prix as times tumbled quickly on a drying Red Bull Ring in Q3.
With around 4 minutes left in the session, Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg switched to slick tyres, with other drivers following suit.
The decision proved correct immediately as he set the fastest lap by over a second - with others going quicker still. In the end, it was Hamilton who went fastest of all, clocking a 1:07.922 to take pole position.
Rosberg was nearly half a second slower in second place, but will drop five places on the grid for a change of gearbox.
Rosberg’s penalty will promote Hulkenberg to the first row on the grid, the German having originally qualified an excellent third.
Sebastian Vettel was fourth fastest in the lead Ferrari (and also has a grid penalty for the very same reason), ahead of McLaren’s Jenson Button and teammate Kimi Raikkonen.
Further back, Daniel Ricciardo could qualify no higher than seventh on Red Bull’s home turf, unable to take advantage of the changing weather conditions in qualifying.
The Williams duo of Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa were eighth and 10th, with Max Verstappen sandwiched between the two in ninth place.
Outside the top 10, Pascal Wehrlein was the star performer of the day, qualifying his Manor in 12th place.
Earlier in FP1, Daniil Kvyat suffered a horrific crash at turn 8 when the right rear suspension on his Toro Rosso broke, sending him into a series of spins. The Russian emerged unscatched from the incident, but his car was heavily damaged.
by Rachit Thukral