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Lewis Hamilton on pole for Mercedes after wild Austrian Grand Prix qualifying

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Lewis Hamilton on pole for Mercedes after wild Austrian Grand Prix qualifying
Jul 2, 2016, 2:36 PM

Lewis Hamilton claimed pole position for the Austrian Grand Prix after rain at the end of Q2 set up a thrilling end to qualifying as the Red Bull R...

Lewis Hamilton claimed pole position for the Austrian Grand Prix after rain at the end of Q2 set up a thrilling end to qualifying as the Red Bull Ring dried out and the times tumbled in Q3.

It was the 54th pole position of his career, the fifth this season and the second year in a row in Austria. He openly admits it is his least favourite track; the Englishman has yet to win here, one of only two notable gaps in his CV alongside Brazil.

Hamilton came out on top with his final lap to beat his teammate Nico Rosberg into second place with a time of 1m07.922s. Rosberg, who missed the first half of Q1 as Mercedes was still repairing the damage from his heavy crash in FP3, has a five-place penalty for taking a new gearbox as a result of that incident.

Lewis Hamilton

Speaking after the session, Hamilton said: “[That was] a really fun session. I’d never driven here in the rain before and it was a bit different being a new surface as well, [and] very, very slippery.

“But it was dry enough and at the end it was about getting that last lap. The previous lap was a good one as well but if I’d finished that lap I would have been behind Daniel Ricciardo so I backed off, which was a big risk. [But] I’m very happy.”

Nico Hulkenberg qualified third fastest for Force India and the German driver, echoing his famous pole for Williams in similar conditions back in 2010, was right in the mix for the top spot as he was the first man to swap the intermediate tyres for ultrasofts as Q3 drew to close.

Nico Hulkenberg

Jenson Button finished fifth, but the McLaren driver will start third after Rosberg’s penalty is added along with the five places that Sebastian Vettel will also lose. Ferrari was forced to give the four times world champion a new gearbox ahead of the event at the Red Bull Ring.

Button, who was making his first Q3 appearance of the season, could even start second as Hulkenberg has been summoned to see the stewards to explain why he set a personal best sector time despite passing yellow flags for Carlos Sainz’s Toro Rosso, which suffered an engine failure in Q1.

Vettel will drop from fourth to ninth on the grid because of his penalty, as his teammate Kimi Raikkonen ended up sixth in the second Ferrari, which will become fourth tomorrow. But he has a strategy ace up his sleeve as he will start the Grand Prix on the supersoft tyres, whereas the Mercedes start on the shorter lasting Ultra Softs.

Daniel Ricciardo

Daniel Ricciardo is another who will start on the more durable supersoft; he qualified seventh for Red Bull at the team’s home track, with Valtteri Bottas separating the Australian from his teammate Max Verstappen. Ricciardo maintains his 100% record of having out qualified his team mates at every round.

Felipe Massa, who took pole at the Spielberg circuit back in 2014, rounded out the top ten in the second Williams.

In Q2, both sets of Ferrari and Red Bull drivers set their best times on the supersoft tyre, which means they will start on a compound that can go twice as far in the race as the ultrasoft rubber the Mercedes drivers were running at the same point in the session.

Esteban Gutierrez finished 11th, just in front of Manor’s Pascal Wehrlein. The German driver sensationally qualified 12th, his highest ever F1 grid spot, which also marks the first time a Manor has made it out of Q1 in 2016 – although Wehrlein would have made it through to Q2 in Bahrain had that event used the current qualifying rules.

Pascal Wehrlein

Romain Grosjean managed to improve despite the rain starting to fall at the end of the second segment of qualifying, and the Haas F1 driver will start 13th, one place in front of McLaren’s Fernando Alonso, who ran through the gravel at Turn 3 as the wet weather appeared.

Carlos Sainz finished in fifteenth but he did not set a lap in Q2 after his Toro Rosso’s Ferrari engine failed as he exited the pits following the red flag in Q1, which was caused by his teammate Daniil Kvyat crashing at the final corner.

Sergio Perez was another non-starter in Q2, as his right rear suspension broke when he exited the outside of Turn 1 halfway through the first segment of qualifying.

Kevin Magnussen and Jolyon Palmer finished 16th and 17th for Renault as they both failed to escape Q1 for the third consecutive race, with Rio Haryanto 19th in the second Manor.

Daniil Kvyat

Kvyat ended up down in 20th place after his crash in the closing minutes of Q1. The Russian ran wide over the kerb on the outside of Turn 8, which broke his right rear suspension. That failure sent him into the inside barrier at the pitlane entrance and his Toro Rosso then flew across the track and into the wall on the outside of the last corner.

Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr brought up the rear of the field in 21st and 22nd for Sauber.

Daniil Kvyat

Austrian Grand Prix qualifying results:

1 Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes 1m07.922s

2 Nico Rosberg, Mercedes 1m08.465s +0.543s *has grid penalty

3 Nico Hulkenberg, Force India 1m09.285s +1.363s

4 Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari 1m09.781s +1.859s *has grid penalty

5 Jenson Button, McLaren 1m09.900s +1.978s

6 Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari 1m09.901s +1.979s

7 Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull 1m09.980s +2.058s

8 Valtteri Bottas, Williams 1m10.440s +2.518s

9 Max Verstappen, Red Bull 1m11.153s +3.231s

10 Felipe Massa, Williams 1m11.977s +4.055s

Q2

11 Esteban Gutierrez, Haas 1m07.578s

12 Pascal Wehrlein, Manor 1m07.700s

13 Romain Grosjean, Haas 1m07.850s

14 Fernando Alonso, McLaren 1m08.154s

15 Carlos Sainz, Toro Rosso

16 Sergio Perez, Force India

Q1

17 Kevin Magnussen, Renault

18 Jolyon Palmer, Renault

19 Rio Haryanto, Manor

20 Daniil Kvyat, Toro Rosso

21 Marcus Ericsson, Sauber

22 Felipe Nasr, Sauber

What did you make of the qualifying session for the Austrian Grand Prix? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below of head over to the JAonF1 Facebook page for more discussion.
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