Lewis Hamilton took pole position for tomorrows Austrian Grand Prix from teammate Nico Rosberg and Ferrari’s Sebastien Vettel.
The Mercedes duo locked out the front row in rather bizarre circumstances however, with the two spinning on their final attempts in the closing stages of Q3. Hamilton went off first in similar circumstances to twelve months ago at this track, whilst Rosberg went off moments later after taking too much kerb going through turn eight.
Qualifying got underway in slippery conditions, with Will Stevens sponging off the circuit early on down at turn six, whilst everyone else fought for grip. The drivers set their initial lap times on the Intermediate tyre, which meant the crossover point on the drying track was to be key to not dropping out early on. As it happened that came ten minutes into the session, with the lap times being two seconds quicker.
The track was still slippery though, as Nasr found out at turn six. The times still tumbled however, with the Toro Rosso’s trading places with Hamilton, then Grosjean, with Button going top at one point. But all eyes set to Raikkonen, who misjudged the timing of his final run and was not able to make it out of the drop zone in Q1. That meant the Ferrari driver joined Button, Perez, Merhi, and Stevens on the sidelines.
In the second part of Qualifying it was a similar affair to Q1, with the opening stages showing the lap times getting faster by the second. Both Toro Rosso’s showed glimmers of pace again along with the Lotus of Grosjean. His teammate Maldonado meanwhile could not put together a lap, and dropped out along with Ericsson, Sainz, Ricciardo, and Alonso in Q2.
In the third part of Qualifying we saw Grosjean sidelined with a brake-by-wire issue, which meant he couldn’t do his first run. Both Mercedes could though, with Hamilton going quickest from Rosberg by two tenths – the latter losing out in the middle sector. Vettel also managed third but was six tenths down.
During the final runs both drivers went off the circuit however Rosberg did set a purple sector two, which meant he could’ve dispatched his teammate had he not ran wide on the exit of turn eight. Meanwhile Massa improved to fourth ahead of teammate Bottas who qualified sixth. Le Mans winner Nico Hulkenberg managed P5 in stark contrast to Perez’s defacto P13.
Speaking of, with all the penalties applied to tomorrows grid Alonso and Button will start on the final row of the grid in P19 and p20. They will also have to serve drive-thru’s during the race, whilst Riccardo will start in P17 with a time penalty he will have to serve during his first pitstop. Kvyat meanwhile starts in P18, having served his full grid penalty getting into Q3.