The Austrian Grand Prix is a tough old nut to crack. The circuit is a real challenge for the drivers with lots of areas to make mistakes. Given the technical difficulties, there is no shock that Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg botched their final qualifying laps while pushing hard for pole position.
Hamilton spun his Mercedes on the first turn of his last lap in Q3 with the rear of the car snapping out and coming around on him under braking which brought out yellow flags. His teammate, Rosberg, who was ahead of Hamilton was not affected by the yellow flags and had everything to gain as he was besting his previous lap by two tenths which was on par for a real shot at pole position.
Unfortunately Rosberg also over-cooked the final corner and stranded his car in the run-off area spoiling what might have been a pole-winning lap.
Regardless of the problems, Mercedes managed to secure first and second on the grid for Sunday’s race just ahead of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel who start third. Vettel’s teammate, Kimi Raikkonen, failed to advance into Q2.
The grid is set and while the Mercedes-powered cars look to be at home in Austria, the track is a handful and anything can happen. It is a short track and tires don’t seem to be playing a major issue which may leave strategy a real key here as well as the possibility of rain.
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m08.455s –
2 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m08.655s 0.200s
3 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m08.810s 0.355s
4 Felipe Massa Williams/Mercedes 1m09.192s 0.737s
5 Nico Hulkenberg Force India/Mercedes 1m09.278s 0.823s
6 Valtteri Bottas Williams/Mercedes 1m09.319s 0.864s
7 Max Verstappen Toro Rosso/Renault 1m09.612s 1.157s
8 Felipe Nasr Sauber/Ferrari 1m09.713s 1.258s
9 Romain Grosjean Lotus/Mercedes – –
10 Pastor Maldonado Lotus/Mercedes 1m10.374s –
11 Marcus Ericsson Sauber/Ferrari 1m10.426s –
12 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso/Renault 1m10.465s –
13 Sergio Perez Force India/Mercedes 1m12.522s –
14 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m12.867s –
15 Roberto Merhi Marussia/Ferrari 1m14.071s –
16 Will Stevens Marussia/Ferrari 1m15.368s –
17 Daniil Kvyat Red Bull/Renault 1m09.694s –
18 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/Renault 1m10.482s –
19 Fernando Alonso McLaren/Honda 1m10.736s –
20 Jenson Button McLaren/Honda 1m12.632s –