Austrian GP: Hamilton makes it a year of Mercedes poles

Lewis Hamilton will start the Austrian Grand Prix from pole position after topping qualifying at the Red Bull Ring, ensuring that it’s a year since anyone other than a Mercedes started from pole.

Both Mercedes drivers were pushing so hard that they went off on their final laps, Hamilton spinning at Turn 1 and Nico Rosberg going off at the final corner after having been quicker than his teammate in the previous sectors.

Twelve months on from Felipe Massa's 2014 pole for Williams, Hamilton overcame the challenge of teammate Rosberg and Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel to claim his seventh pole of the season.

Rosberg's opening gambit was 1m08.850s, with Hamilton only managing 1m09.225s in response. Massa was fractionally quicker than Valtteri Bottas in the battle of the Williams.

Rosberg's second attempt was a 1m08.655, then Hamilton aced him with a 1m08.455.

Vettel joined the party in third with a scruffy 1m09.118s, having totally missed the apex at Turn 2.

On the second set of new supersoft tyres, Hamilton spun at Turn 1 – just as he did at Turn 2 twelve months ago – and Rosberg ploughed into the gravel on a much quicker lap, ruining his pole chances.

Vettel improved to 1m08.810s in third, with Massa fourth ahead of Le Mans winner Nico Hulkenberg, Bottas, Max Verstappen, Daniil Kvyat and Felipe Nasr.

Lotus's Romain Grosjean suffered a brake-by-wire problem and did not set a laptime.

Kvyat will take a 10-place grid drop.

Story of Q2

Vettel set the early pace on a completely dry track, before Rosberg beat him with 1m09.309s, just 0.083s faster. Hamilton was 0.292s off the pace in fourth, beaten late on for third by Bottas.

Hulkenberg, Verstappen, Nasr and Massa rounded out the top eight.

Red Bull's struggling Daniel Ricciardo went off into the gravel at Turn 3, while Grosjean had a huge moment through the final two corners.

That meant Grosjean was under huge pressure to progress, but pulled out a monumental last lap to leap to ninth, ahead of Kvyat.

Pastor Maldonado, Marcus Ericsson, Carlos Sainz Jr, Ricciardo and Fernando Alonso all fell at this hurdle.

Ricciardo has a 10-place grid penalty, and will receive an additional 5s time penalty at his first pitstop as he can only serve six of those 10 positions.

Raikkonen falls in Q1

For the second time in succession a Ferrari went out in Q1, but after Vettel's ERS issues in Montreal it was Kimi Raikkonen who fell, qualifying down in 18th. On the radio on his in-lap he ranted: "How the **** is that possible?"

After heavy rain during free practice three, Q1 started damp. Cars completed their first runs on intermediates, with Max Verstappen starring in the tricky conditions before the slick-shod times eclipsed.

Despite overshooting Turn 1 twice, Rosberg topped Q1 from Sainz, Vettel, Verstappen and Hulkenberg.

Hamilton had a scare at Turn 2, taking to the run-off to avoid traffic and scraping through Q1 in 13th place.

Will Stevens spun his Manor into the gravel at the left-right sequence behind the paddock, from which he was lucky to emerge. First out on slicks, Nasr also had a huge moment through Turn 8, but just managed to catch it.

Force India's Sergio Perez failed to progress from Q1, getting trapped in by Alonso on his last lap and getting beaten by him by 0.02s, and the Mexican was joined in the knockout zone by the second McLaren of Jenson Button – who actually topped Q1 with five minutes to go – Raikkonen, and the Manors of Roberto Merhi and Stevens.

Alonso and Button will both receive 25-place grid penalties, which neither can serve in their entirety and so will get in-race drive-through penalties.


01   L. Hamilton 1:12.218 1:09.062 1:08.455 30
02   N. Rosberg 1:10.976 1:08.634 1:08.655 31
03   S. Vettel 1:11.184 1:09.392 1:08.810 21
04   F. Massa 1:11.830 1:09.719 1:09.192 27
05   N. Hulkenberg 1:11.319 1:09.604 1:09.278 22
06   V. Bottas 1:11.894 1:09.598 1:09.319 26
07   M. Verstappen 1:11.307 1:09.631 1:09.612 28
08   D. Kvyat 1:12.092 1:10.187 1:09.694 32
09   F. Nasr 1:12.001 1:09.652 1:09.713 29
10   R. Grosjean 1:11.821 1:09.920 0:00.000 22
11   P. Maldonado 1:11.661 1:10.374   22
12   M. Ericsson 1:12.388 1:10.426   20
13   C. Sainz 1:11.158 1:10.465   23
14   D. Ricciardo 1:11.973 1:10.482   19
15   F. Alonso 1:12.508 1:10.736   22
16   S. Perez 1:12.522     13
17   J. Button 1:12.632     12
18   K. Raikkönen 1:12.867     10
19   R. Merhi 1:14.071     12
20   W. Stevens 1:15.368     11


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About this article
Series Formula 1
Event Austrian GP
Track Red Bull Ring
Article type Qualifying report