Hamilton takes Austrian Grand Prix pole before sliding off in qualifying

AustrianGP 2015

Championship leader Lewis Hamilton achieved his 45th career pole position in Formula 1, as both Mercedes drivers went off during their final laps of qualifying.

The Canadian Grand Prix winner led the times after the first tuns in Q3 by two tenths of a second from his team-mate Nico Rosberg, but spun under braking for Turn 1 when attempting to secure the top spot.

Rosberg set a personal best time in the first sector, then the fastest time of all in the second sector, before he too went off. The Monaco Grand Prix winner had to settle with second place with his Silver Arrows stuck in the gravel at the final corner.

Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel improved on his final run in Q3, but this was good enough for only third position, 0.155 seconds slower than Rosberg’s earlier effort.

Last year’s Austrian Grand Prix pole star Felipe Massa was fourth fastest for Williams, while Le Mans 24 Hours winner Nico Hulkenberg produced a superb effort by splitting Massa from his Williams team-mate Valtteri Bottas by recording the fifth quickest time for Force India.

Toro Rosso’s Max Verstappen shaded Red Bull’s Daniil Kvyat by less than a tenth of a second to post the seventh fastest time, as behind him Sauber’s Felipe Nasr recorded his best qualifying result since the Chinese Grand Prux by going ninth.

Romain Grosjean’s Lotus failed to set a time in Q3, after a suspected brake by wire problem forced him back into the pits early on.

Team-mate Pastor Maldonado missed out on the top ten shootout by 0.187 seconds as track conditions improved in Q2, while Marcus Ericsson’s Sauber, the Toro Rosso of Carlos Sainz, and Daniel Ricciardo’s Red Bull qualified on the same tenth of a second in P12, P13 and P14 but some way adrift of their respective team-mates, who all made Q3.

Sainz complained of traffic on his fast lap, while Ricciardo briefly ran off the track at Turn 3 before failing to make the top ten shootout for the first time this season.

Fernando Alonso managed to push his McLaren-Honda through to Q2, but the MP4-30’s lack of grunt left him adrift of the rest in P15.

Due to the many power unit upgrades and penalities, Alonso will technically start the race from P40!

Improving track conditions throughout a Q1 that began damp meant laptimes tumbled as the session reached its climax, creating the potential for upsets.

Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen was the highest-profile driver in this segment, The Iceman missing the Q2 cut by 0.359 seconds and winding up P18, much to his own surprise over team radio.

Force India’s Sergio Perez also missed out, just 0.014 seconds slower than Alonso’s McLaren, while Jenson Button had been fastest at one point, before slipping back to P17 at the end.

Like his McLaren team-mate, Button will have a massive grid penalty due to the many power unit changes. The 2009 world champion will start the Austrian Grand Prix in P42!

Roberto Merhi outqualified his team-mate Will Stevens, who went off early on in the wetter conditions, by more than 1.3 seconds as the Manor Marussias again qualified slowest of all twenty cars.

Both McLarens and both Red Bulls will be hit with grid penalties for unscheduled engine changes this weekend, so will drop to the back of the grid.

AustrianGP 2015 spin

Qualifying positions, Austrian Grand Prix:

1 Lewis Hamilton    Mercedes    1m08.455s
2 Nico Rosberg    Mercedes    1m08.655s
3 Sebastian Vettel    Ferrari    1m08.810s
4 Felipe Massa    Williams-Mercedes    1m09.192s
5 Nico Hulkenberg    Force India-Mercedes    1m09.278s
6 Valtteri Bottas    Williams-Mercedes    1m09.319s
7 Max Verstappen    Toro Rosso-Renault    1m09.612s
8 Felipe Nasr    Sauber-Ferrari    1m09.713s
9 Romain Grosjean    Lotus-Mercedes    No time
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 Daniil Kvyat    Red Bull-Renault    1m09.694s*
16 Roberto Merhi    Marussia-Ferrari    1m14.071s
17 Will Stevens    Marussia-Ferrari    1m15.368s
18 Daniel Ricciardo    Red Bull-Renault    1m10.482s*
19 Fernando Alonso    McLaren-Honda    1m10.736s*
20 Jenson Button    McLaren-Honda    1m12.632s*

*Kvyat, Ricciardo, Alonso and Button all have penalties

3 thoughts to “Hamilton takes Austrian Grand Prix pole before sliding off in qualifying”

  1. Lewis Hamilton seized pole position for the Austrian Grand Prix on Saturday in a damp qualifying session that saw both the Formula One world champion and his Mercedes team mate Nico Rosberg skid off on their final laps.

    The pole was Hamilton’s seventh in eight races — the same number he managed in all of last season — and 45th of his career, taking him to third equal with Sebastian Vettel on the all-time list behind Michael Schumacher and Ayrton Senna.

    It also completed a year of domination by Mercedes, with Brazilian Felipe Massa’s pole for Williams in Austria last June the last time any driver from outside the team has started from the top slot.

    “It was quite a difficult qualifying session for everyone because of the track conditions,” said Hamilton, who spun off at turn one as he started his final quick lap on a drying track after morning rain.

    “I was pushing that bit extra on the next run and just locked the rears,” added the Briton, who leads Rosberg by 17 points after winning four races to the German’s two.

    Rosberg, who was two tenths slower than Hamilton going into his final lap, pushed just a bit too hard and careered across the runoff and into the gravel just as it seemed he was going to be quicker.

    “I went on the astroturf out of the second to last corner. Maybe that was still a bit wet or something or I just overdid it after that, I’m not sure. I just lost it there into the last corner,” said the German.

    “I knew I had to go for it.”

    Ferrari’s Vettel will line up in third place with Massa fourth for Williams and 2015 Le Mans 24 Hours winner Nico Hulkenberg fifth for Force India.

    Mercedes-powered cars filled five of the top six slots at a ‘power’ circuit.

    “Generally the Mercedes-powered cars can turn up the performance a bit. Even the Williams were also a lot closer than they were in practice,” said four-times champion Vettel.

    At a scenic circuit owned by energy drink giant Red Bull, 17-year-old Dutch rookie Max Verstappen provided some cheer for the unhappy hosts with seventh place on the grid for Red Bull’s sister team Toro Rosso.

    Both Red Bull’s main drivers Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat have 10 place grid penalties as a result of engine replacements and are set to start 18th and 15th respectively.

    Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen failed to get through the first phase of qualifying and was 18th before penalties applied to others moved the Finn up to 14th.

    “How is that possible?,” exclaimed the Finn, with the expletive deleted.

    An element of farce was added to the session with McLaren’s Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button each taking 25 place grid penalties in a field of just 20 cars for exceeding their allocation of power unit components.

    Alonso qualified 15th and starts 19th while Button dropped from 17th to last. They will also have to serve time penalties on Sunday, an additional embarrassment with new Honda president Takahiro Hachigo attending the race.

    Source: Reuters

  2. The Silver Arrows achieved yet another front row lock out at the Austrian Grand Prix but the team admitted to be surprised by the gap to rival Ferrari. Autosport.com has the details.

    Mercedes Formula 1 driver Nico Rosberg and team boss Toto Wolff were surprised by the gap back to rival Ferrari in Austrian Grand Prix qualifying.

    Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg gave Mercedes another front row lockout at the Red Bull Ring, while Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel was third, 0.355 seconds off the pace, and Kimi Raikkonen 18th.

    “We’re surprised Sebastian wasn’t closer in qualifying today,” said Rosberg. ‘We were expecting them to be pretty quick.

    “In terms of race pace, they’re going to be very close to us for sure, so it’s good to be starting in front of them.”

    Wolff agreed but added that Ferrari’s decision to try and do it’s best qualifying time on the first lap of a run, rather than the third like Mercedes, may be a reason for the gap.

    “The gap is bigger than expected,” said Wolff. “I was a bit surprised by the strategy.

    “We learned over the weekend that we needed a second or even a third lap to get the tyres in the operating window.

    “Ferrari decided to go the other way, with the first lap.

    “I don’t know if this is the reason why we have more gap than expected.”

    However, Wolff suggested Ferrari would be closer in the race following its strong long-run pace during practice.

    “You can’t really say what will happen tomorrow, because the long runs look pretty difficult for us,” he said.

    “The Ferrari was the quickest car this morning and yesterday afternoon.

    “Yes we have a front row lockout but if you look at the gaps, and also because of the shortness of the track, I’m not feeling as confident for tomorrow as the feeling I’ve had the last couple of races.”

    Vettel said while he was unable to match Mercedes in qualifying he hoped Ferrari would be closer in the race.

    “We’re always ready, we always fight and obviously wait for our chances,” he said.

    “So far it’s been quite difficult because they’ve been bloody quick but yeah, we’ll try tomorrow.

    “Hopefully we can be a bit closer. We know that qualifying doesn’t match the race, so we’re ready to attack and try our best.”

    When asked about Ferrari’s qualifying strategy, the German said: “We were fast, we were happy on the first lap.

    “I think in the end you do what you feel is best for you so that seemed to be the best for us.”

  3. Kimi Raikkonen says a lack of information from Ferrari led to him dropping out in Q1 ahead of the Austrian Grand Prix.

    The Finn backed off after completing a lap with 40 seconds of the first part of qualifying to go, having just gone ninth quickest on a drying track. However, a number of cars improved after Raikkonen crossed the line, and he was knocked out in 18th place.

    Having angrily asked “how the f**k is that possible?” after being informed of dropping out, Raikkonen says Ferrari didn’t inform him he wouldn’t get another lap in at the end of the session.

    “It was wrong,” Raikkonen said. “I was doing the same thing that I was doing when I went out and I never got the information that it was not possible to do what was the original plan and obviously we missed the one lap completely.

    “I was thinking that I was doing the normal thing and I was not told that the plan had changed suddenly. They sent me out too late, we missed one lap and it obviously cost a lot.”

    Asked what the information he received was, Raikkonen replied: “That we have three timed laps and obviously they noticed at some point we went out too late and it was not going to have three timed laps, but I was never told.

    “I was doing a normal plan and obviously it made a big difference. I did as planned and as I was told, but as I said there was a mistake at some point when they sent us too late out and the plan changed at that point, but I was never told that.”

    And although he will gain a number of positions due to grid penalties, Raikkonen says his starting position leaves him open to trouble in the opening laps.

    “Obviously it was not ideal. We should be much higher up and I’m sure we could have fought at the front, but we tried to do our best and obviously it’s not an ideal starting place.

    “Yes, there are long straights but also there are very tricky corners to be in the middle of the pack, so we have much bigger chances to have that happening in the first few corners, so you try to stay clear of all the shit in the first lap and then I guess we should have speed, but you never know what will happen in the race. We will do our best and see where we end up.”

    Source: F1i.com

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