Lewis Hamilton has taken pole in very tricky conditions for this weekends Austrian Grand Prix. The world champion took advantage of the changeable conditions to go faster than team-mate Nico Rosberg and Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg.
However Rosberg who suffered a heavy crash during the final practice session this morning will drop to seventh because of a gearbox penalty. While Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel qualified fourth he also has a gearbox penalty dropping him to eighth.
This means McLaren’s Jenson Button will start third after putting in a brilliant lap for fifth fastest. Button told Sky Sports “I love those conditions, can we have them every race! I am going to enjoy this.”
Nico Hulkenberg will start second if the stewards don’t punish him for failing to slow behind yellow flags. This gives McLaren best qualifying since they switched to Honda power last season.
Hamilton told BBC News “A really fun session. It’s incredible how fast it dries up here, it’s like driving through fog. It was very, very slippery, but it was drying up corner by corner. At the end it was just about getting that last lap. I’m very happy.”
The rain was never far away and gave some high-octane closing minutes of Q2 with Force India’s Sergio Perez and Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat suffering suspension failures. Perez managed to get back to the pits but Kvyat, whose suspension failed on the exit of Turn Eight, had a heavy crash from which he emerged unhurt.
The incident by Kyvat brought out the red flag with him being lucky to avoid the pit wall after oversteer caused him to bounce his way down the start straight coming to a halt in the run off area. If things weren’t already bad for Toro Rosso they were about to get worse when Carlos Sainz suffered an engine failure bringing the session to a affective end.
The Russian told BBC Sport “Once you’re on those kerbs you’re not in control if the suspension breaks. At least on the AstroTurf, you had control. At the last corner, everyone is going off [with] four wheels – they wanted to make it better but actually they made it worse.”
Kim Raikkonen qualified sixth for Ferrari ahead of Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo with the pair moving up to fourth and fifith putting them potentially into the fight with Hulkenberg. But it remains to be seen if they can fight with Hamilton’s Mercedes.
Manors Pascal Wehrlein put in a very strong performance to quaifly twevlefth fastest there best session in there six year history. Manor season looks up for Renault and Sauber season went to new lows with them both dropping out in Q1.