Williams surprised the whole paddock when Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas locked the front row for tomorrow’s Austrian Grand Prix. The Brazilian driver lapped the Red Bull Ring in 1:08.759 to take his first pole position since Brazil 2008. His teammate Valtteri Bottas will accompany him on the front row, thus securing Grove based outfit’s first front row lockout since 2003 German Grand Prix.
Everyone was expecting a crunch battle between Mercedes pairing of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg for pole position. However, much to everyone’s surprise, both the drivers ran into trouble. Hamilton’s first lap time was disqualified after he exceeded the track limits at turn eight, leaving him with a single shot for pole on his final run. And the Brit tumbled under pressure, spinning out on track and unable to make the chequered flag to start a flying lap. He will take ninth place on the grid. Nico Rosberg, meanwhile, failed to improve on his final run and starts the race from third place.
Fourth place in qualifying went to Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso whose long runs in practice seemed promising. The Spaniard again outqualified his teammate Kimi Raikkonen who was forced to use the faster supersoft tyres to safely move out of Q1. He qualified in seventh place.
Between the Ferrari duo came the Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren of Kevin Magnussen and the Toro Rosso of Daniil Kvyat. All three runners were able to outqualify their experienced teammates. And the biggest surprise came from the Red Bull side where Sebastian Vettel failed to make into Q3 on his team’s home turf. Jenson Button blamed traffic for his missing out on Q3 for only the third time this season.
And finally, Nico Hulkenberg will start in 10th place in Austria, having made it to Q3 for only the fourth time this season. However, the German would be disappointed with the fact that his sole lap time was deleted for exceeding the track limits, resulted him in losing a chance to start the race from the cleaner side of the track.
Earlier in Q2, Sergio Perez was the first one to miss the final qualifying shoutout. He will start in 16th place after his five place grid penalty. This promotes Jenson Button and Sebastian Vettel to sixth row of the grid.
Pastor Maldonado and Jean Eric Vergne will occupy the seventh row, directly behind the two world champions while Romain Grosjean will start the eighth race of the season from 15th on the grid.
In Q1, Saubers joined backmarkers Marussia and Caterham with Kamui Kobayashi outqualyfing Max Chilton and breaking the formation between the three teams.