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Austrian GP 2015 Qualifying: What happened

Modified 21 Jun 2015
(L-R) Rosberg (2nd), Hamilton (pole) and Vettel (3rd) wave at the end of Qualifying at the2015 Austrian Grand Prix 

Qualifying ended with in routine fashion. A Mercedes 1-2 again, with defending World Champion Lewis Hamilton on pole. It is the 44th pole position of his Formula One career. Nico Rosberg, who has won two races this year, will start in second. Rosberg has had a stellar year as well – he has been on the podium  every single race this year.

The Austrian Grand Prix will be Hamilton’s 7th pole of the year. Of these, he has managed to convert 4 to race wins, with two other races going to teammate Rosberg, leading, ultimately to a Mercedes victory. Mercedes are also currently leading the constructors’ championships, with a significant lead over second-place rivals Ferrari.

Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari will start in 3rd, in what seems as though it is a comfortable F1 routine. Vettel has won one race this year, at the Malaysian Grand Prix in Sepang, where Hamilton was on pole,  and been on the podium for 5. 

Close on the heels of Vettel was Williams’ Felipe Massa. Williams, which runs on Mercedes power units, appears to have benefitted from the constructors’ mid-season upgrade. Massa’s teammate, Valtteri Bottas of Finland was on the podium in Montreal, third in yet another Mercedes 1-2 at the Canadian Grand Prix. Bottas also finished qualifying relatively high up, two spots behind Massa in 6th. 

Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg, fresh off a strong victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, rounded up the top 5 in qualifying. It will be the first time this year that Force India have found themselves in the top 5 at qualifying. If Hulkenberg can capitalise on his grid position on race day, it will be the team’s highest finish this racing season. Hulkenberg’s teammate Sergie ‘Checo’ Perez did not do as well. With a 16th place finish at the end of Qualifying, Perez will begin at 13th on the grid tomorrow due to penalties to Daniil Kvyat and Daniel Ricciardo of Red Bull, who finished in 8th and 14th respctively, and Fernando Alonso of McLaren, who finished just above Perez in 12th. All three received penalties for upgrades – the Red Bulls for exceeding the number of ICEs(Internal Combustion Engines) drivers are allowed, and Alonso for power unit upgrades to the McLarens, a penalty also given to teammate Button.

Rosberg had the fastest laps at the first and second qualifying sessions, while Hamilton led the third. 

Max Verstappen of Toro Rosso, who at 17 is the youngest driver on the grid and one of the youngest Formula One drivers of all time, has shown immense promise. He finished at a high 7th position, although he has not managed to capitalise on these. Verstappen and teammate Carlos Sainz Jr. have both had repeated engine issues this season, and the team’s currently rocky relationship with constructors Renault is visibly, openly fraught. Barring these issues it seems the young Dutchman could have used his strong qualifying to his advantage.

Rosberg and Hamilton both spun at the high speed track in Spielberg during final qualifying, Hamilton on the first stretch and Rosberg on the final, spinning his car on the sharp final turn – the Red Bull ring has 9 turns in all. Rosberg won last year’s Austrian Grand Prix, which was the first time the race had been held at the track in a decade. Hamilton finished second at that race following a 9th place race start. Bottas finished in third behind the Mercedes teammates. 4th place Massa had then been the polesitter.

The race will begin tomorrow, the 21st of June, 2015 at 5:30 p.m. IST. 

Follow our homepage and for live race updates tomorrow. 

Published 20 Jun 2015, 20:06 IST
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