Hamilton takes pole in Austria thriller

By on Saturday, July 2, 2016
Mercedes AMG Petronas

Mercedes AMG Petronas

Lewis Hamilton claimed pole position for the Austrian Grand Prix during a dramatic finale to qualifying at the Red Bull Ring.

Heavy rain towards the end of Q2 drenched the circuit and left the drivers starting Q3 on Intermediate tyres, before the track dried sufficiently for slicks.

Force India’s Nico Hülkenberg was the first to change to Ultra Soft tyres and used the advantage to set a sequence of quick laps, before Hamilton posted a 1:07.922, which secured top spot.

Nico Rosberg was second, half a second behind his team-mate, but will drop to seventh as a result of his gearbox penalty.

Hülkenberg consequently moves to second, while McLaren’s Jenson Button will start from third after Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel picked up a gearbox penalty.

Kimi Räikkönen will therefore start fourth, ahead of Daniel Ricciardo, and the penalised Rosberg, who only drops four places after profiting from Vettel's penalty.

Valtteri Bottas will start seventh, ahead of Max Verstappen, with Felipe Massa completing the top 10, behind the demoted Vettel.

Esteban Gutiérrez narrowly missed out on Q3 after setting the 11th best time before the rain began to fall during the closing stages of Q2.

Pascal Wehrlein secured Manor’s best grid result as he finished 12th, having placed 10th during the first knockout stage, with Romain Grosjean and Fernando Alonso 13th and 14th.

Carlos Sainz Jr. and Sergio Pérez were unable to set times in Q2 after encountering problems in Q1.

Sainz Jr. suffered an engine failure while Pérez’s right rear suspension broke, leaving them on the side lines after already having progressed through to the second segment.

Renault failed to make it through to Q2 once more as Kevin Magnussen and Jolyon Palmer finished 17th and 18th, ahead of Manor’s Rio Haryanto, in the dry first session.

Daniil Kvyat caused a 15-minute red flag period as he crashed out in dramatic fashion, after he ran over the kerbs at Turn 8.

Kvyat suffered a right-rear suspension failure and spun out, clipped the pit wall, before bouncing across the gravel at the final corner.

Kvyat was able to clamber from the wreckage of his Toro Rosso and finished the session a lowly 20th.

Sauber’s difficult season continued as neither Marcus Ericsson nor Felipe Nasr looked capable of challenging for Q2, with the pair completing the back row of the grid.

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