SPIELBERG, Austria — Report by Race Chaser Online Managing Editor Jacob Seelman — Mercedes photo —
During Saturday’s qualifying for the Austrian Grand Prix, Mercedes AMG Petronas was on a mission to prove that Friday’s parity-filled practice sessions were nothing more than a blip on the radar.
Two-time Formula One World Champion Lewis Hamilton rocketed to the top of the charts during Q3 and stayed there despite spinning off the course in turn one on his final flying lap — his time of 1:08.455 set earlier in the session good enough to collect the top grid box for Sunday’s race.
The pole was the 45th of Hamilton illustrious career, tying him for third all time with rival Sebastian Vettel, and his seventh pole in eight races this season.
“Generally it was quite a difficult session, for everyone I think, with the conditions,” Hamilton admitted. “I’m really grateful I got that third lap in on the first run in Q3. I was pushing hard to find more time on the final lap of the second run and just locked the rears into Turn One. At that point I was backwards in seventh gear and just focused on trying to make sure I didn’t damage the car.”
“Once I stopped, I thought I’d probably lost it. It was bizarre but I’m really happy to get pole. It will be an interesting race tomorrow. Ferrari has shown great pace so it will be close with them. The tires seem to be behaving so we should be set for a good battle.”
Hamilton’s teammate Nico Rosberg, who led the first two knockout rounds, qualified second (1:08.655) in the final round to give Mercedes yet another front row lockout.
Between Hamilton and Rosberg, the Silver Arrows have now scored the pole for 19 consecutive F1 races — the most recent race where a non-Mercedes machine won pole was the 2014 Austrian Grand Prix, where Felipe Massa qualified on top for Williams Martini Racing.
Vettel ended up third for Ferrari with a lap of 1:08.810, followed by Massa and Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg rounding out the fast five on the grid.
Valtteri Bottas was sixth in the second Williams, followed by Max Verstappen (Toro Rosso), his Red Bull stable-mate Daniil Kvyat, Felipe Nasr for Sauber and the Lotus of Romain Grosjean completing the top ten.
Notables out in Q2 included Daniel Ricciardo (14th) for Red Bull and Fernando Alonso (15th) for McLaren, while the second Ferrari, driven by Kimi Raikkonen, fell in Q1 and will start a lowly 18th.
Both Red Bull cars will suffer 10 position grid penalties for Sunday’s race, while the pair of McLarens will each have 25 position grid penalties which force them to weather drive-through and stop-and-go penalties on the pit lane for Sunday’s event.
RESULTS: Formula One World Championship; Qualifying; Austrian Grand Prix; Red Bull Ring; June 20, 2015
- Lewis Hamilton
- Nico Rosberg
- Sebastian Vettel
- Felipe Massa
- Nico Hulkenberg
- Valtteri Bottas
- Max Verstappen
- Daniil Kvyat
- Felipe Nasr
- Romain Grosjean
- Pastor Maldonado
- Marcus Ericsson
- Carlos Sainz Jr.
- Daniel Ricciardo
- Fernando Alonso
- Sergio Perez
- Jenson Button
- Kimi Raikkonen
- Roberto Merhi
- Will Stevens