Nico Rosberg claimed victory while Lewis Hamilton and Felipe Massa completed the podium. F1Zone.net provides its driver ratings from the Austrian Grand Prix.
44 | Lewis Hamilton | Mercedes | G: 1st | R: 2nd | 7/10
Hamilton held provisional pole before pirouetting as he braked for Turn 1 – somewhat fortunately, Nico Rosberg also erred. A poor start set the tone for the rest of the race as he didn’t have the pace to match Rosberg and then collected a penalty for a clumsy mistake at the pit exit. One to forget.
6 | Nico Rosberg | Mercedes | G: 2nd | R: 1st | 9/10
Rosberg was level with Hamilton’s time towards the end of Q3 and knew he had to push, with the consequent error a result of him taking one too many risks. He made amends at the start by claiming the lead and after fending off Hamilton into Turn 2 he never again looked like being troubled.
3 | Daniel Ricciardo | Red Bull | G: 18th | R: 10th | 7/10
Ricciardo’s woes continued in qualifying as he skated into the gravel in Q2, citing brake problems for his struggles. Ricciardo stayed out long on Prime tyres in the race before switching to Options, even then he could manage only 10th of the 14 classified runners.
26 | Daniil Kvyat | Red Bull | G: 15th | R: 12th | 6/10
Kvyat did well to set the eighth best time and the application of penalties also suited the Russian comparatively well, as he only dropped seven positions. Unfortunately that proved to be the sole stroke of good fortune as he picked up damage at the start which compromised the remainder of his race as he finished 12th.
19 | Felipe Massa | Williams | G: 4th | R: 3rd | 8/10
As in 2014, Massa got the better of Bottas in qualifying but Williams’ pace was good enough for fourth, rather than pole. He remained there in the first stint but a slow stop from Sebastian Vettel promoted him to third and he used his experience to stay there until the end.
77 | Valtteri Bottas | Williams | G: 6th| R: 5th | 7/10
Bottas conceded that the yellow flags in Q3 hurt him especially and as a result he could manage only sixth place. He dropped behind Max Verstappen at the start and once clear of the youngster, diced with Nico Hülkenberg, passing him on track before falling behind through the stops. He got back ahead, by which time he was adrift in fifth, where he remained, as brake problems led to a preservation drive.
5 | Sebastian Vettel | Ferrari | G: 3rd | R: 4th | 8/10
Vettel set the pace in two practice sessions but come qualifying Mercedes turned up the wick and he was left to collect third place. Vettel was cruising around in third place but a desperately slow stop demoted him to fourth, where he remained.
7 | Kimi Räikkönen | Ferrari | G: 14th| R: Ret | 2/10
Räikkönen’s terse response to his Q1 exit was indicative of where Ferrari still has to make progress, as it’s not the first time a Saturday error has compromised the Finn. However, such qualifying errors remain irrelevant when you lose control and crash out – Räikkönen was fortunate that Alonso’s floor did not cause him harm.
14 | Fernando Alonso | McLaren | G: 19th| R: Ret | 6/10
Alonso spent much of the weekend in a downbeat mood – understandably so – as he knew his race would be compromised by penalties. He ran the new aero package but didn’t get a chance to serve his time penalty when Räikkönen veered left and gave Alonso probably the most fun he’s had all year.
22 | Jenson Button | McLaren | G: 20th | R: Ret | 6/10
To give Button his credit, he remained in a perennially optimistic mood while adding some gallows humour about McLaren’s predicament. A 25 place grid penalty summed up his season but the car failed early on in the race anyway.
27 | Nico Hülkenberg | Force India | G: 5th| R: 6th | 9/10
Riding the crest of a confidence wave fresh from his Le Mans triumph, Hülkenberg pulled a lap out of the bag to go fifth quickest in qualifying. He stayed there at the start and embarked on a battle with Bottas; Force India’s strategy was initially superior as it gave Hülkenberg back track position but he couldn’t defend for long and slipped to sixth – a nonetheless top result.
11 | Sergio Pérez | Force India | G: 13th| R: 9th | 6/10
Pérez missed out in qualifying as he got stuck between Alonso and Räikkönen and was unable to improve his time. Pérez made a good start on the Prime tyre but a slow stop compromised his progress and vibrations made his day worse; ninth was still a solid result.
33 | Max Verstappen | Toro Rosso | G: 7th | R: 8th | 8/10
Verstappen looked at ease in the wet conditions during the final practice session and when conditions dried stormed to seventh on the grid. He moved up to sixth at the start and provided some robust, but clean, defending and took a well-deserved eighth, his first points since Malaysia.
55 | Carlos Sainz | Toro Rosso | G: 12th| R: Ret | 6/10
Sainz explored the circuit during the wet in order to get a good feel and went with a rain-dependant set-up, which explained his deficit to Verstappen. In the race he received a drive through penalty for pit speeding following a stop in which he lost time, after which the car packed in.
8 | Romain Grosjean | Lotus | G: 9th | R: Ret |6/10
Grosjean was optimistic of a similar qualifying result to Canada but a hydraulics issue left him out of Q3 and understandably frustrated. There was further irritating in the race as he was nudged wide by Sainz, couldn’t get by on Pérez and then the gearbox failed and spat him off track and into retirement.
13 | Pastor Maldonado | Lotus | G: 10th| R: 7th | 7/10
Everyone should take a moment to consider that Maldonado was almost sideways at full speed on the pit straight and not only avoided the mother and father of all accidents but still managed to pass Verstappen. You probably won’t see a better piece of car control in Formula 1 all season.
28 | Will Stevens | Manor Marussia | G: 17th | R: Ret | 6/10
Stevens went for a wild ride through the gravel at Turn 7 in qualifying, which went a long way to explaining his uncharacteristic deficit to Roberto Merhi. Unfortunately for the Briton an oil problem put him out early on. At least he has a unique record of having a DNP (did not participate), DNS (did not start) and a DNF (did not finish) all in the same season.
98 | Roberto Merhi | Manor Marussia | G: 16th | R: 14th | 7/10
Aside from a brief trip into the gravel Merhi had a typically anonymous weekend but one in which he appeared to find more confidence in the car. He outqualified Stevens but didn’t have a chance to race the Briton after his early failure; a lonely run to 14th beckoned.
9 | Marcus Ericsson | Sauber | G: 11th| R: 13th | 4/10
Ericsson didn’t have Nasr’s pace throughout the weekend and put himself on the back foot further by jumping the start, copping the obligatory drive through penalty. A loss of power while exiting the last corner indicated retirement but the Sauber sparked back into life.
12 | Felipe Nasr | Sauber | G: 8th | R: 11th | 7/10
Nasr looked comfortable all weekend at a circuit where he thrived in GP2 last year, despite Sauber’s expected struggles. Unfortunately in the race Sauber regressed to the back of the midfield pack, with Nasr’s day made more difficult by overheating brakes.