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Austrian GP 2015

JUNE 20, 2015

Qualifying Report - Spin and win

Lewis Hamilton, Austrian GP 2015
© Active Pictures


Lewis Hamilton won the pole for the Austrian Grand Prix despite spinning on his last fast lap. His Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg also spun and wound up qualifying second.

The ambient temperature at the start of the session was 54 degrees Fahrenheit (12 degrees Centigrade) and the track temperature was 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 degrees Centigrade). There was a 30 percent chance of rain.

The line-up for the weekend was: Mercedes ‘‚    ‚  ‚ Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg. Red Bull Renault ‘‚    ‚  ‚ Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat. Williams Mercedes ‘‚    ‚  ‚ Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas. Ferrari ‘‚    ‚  ‚ Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen. McLaren Honda ‘‚    ‚  ‚ Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button. Force India Mercedes ‘‚    ‚  ‚ Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez. Toro Rosso Renault ‘‚    ‚  ‚ Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz. Lotus Mercedes ‘‚    ‚  ‚ Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado. Marussia Ferrari ‘‚    ‚  ‚ Will Stevens and Roberto Merhi. Sauber ‘‚    ‚  ‚ Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr.

Qualifying 1

Rain in the morning had left the track wet, but it was starting to dry out as Q1 began. Still, Pirelli's intermediate rain tires were still needed.

Verstappen clocked a time of 1:21.006. Sainz beat that with a 1:20.903.

5 minutes into the session Stevens nearly got stuck in a gravel trap.

6 minutes into the session, Verstappen turned a 1:19.814. Hamilton and Rosberg were in the 1:21 range.

9 minutes into the session, Nasr tried the super soft slicks but went off the track. Verstappen was ahead with a 1:18.677, but then Bottas and Massa, on slicks, beat that time.

With 5 minutes remaining in the session, the times started to tumble as the track dried.

With 2 minutes remaining in the session, every driver was out there, and the positions on the timing screen changed almost by the second. It was wild out there.

The top 10 at the end of Q1 were: Rosberg, Sainz, Vettel, Verstappen, Hulkenberg, Maldonado, Grosjean, Massa, Bottas and Ricciardo.

The five drivers eliminated at the end of Q1 were: Perez, Button, Raikkonen, Merhi and Stevens.

Qualifying 2

Sainz was the first out for the 15-minute Q2. He set a time of 1:16.366, then Nasr beat that with a 1:13.577, and Ericsson with a 1:11.397.

But soon the times tumbled and Hulkenberg was on top with a 1:10.207, only to have a number of drivers beat that.

The order was now Rosberg, Kvyat, Hamilton, Hulkenberg, Verstappen, Maldonado, Sainz, Bottas, Massa and Alonso. But with 5 minutes to go, the drivers headed out for one last set of runs.

Vettel took the lead, and Rosberg retook it. Grosjean and Ricciardo both slid off the track. Hamilton moved into second place.

The top 10 at the end of Q2 were: Rosberg, Hamilton, Vettel, Bottas, Hulkenberg, Verstappen, Nasr, Massa, Grosjean and Kvyat.

The five drivers eliminated at the end of Q2 were: Maldonado, Ericsson, Sainz, Ricciardo and Alonso.

Qualifying 3

Nobody immediately headed out as the green lights came on to start the 12-minute Q3. But then Rosberg took to the track and others followed.

Bottas clocked the first time: 1:13.971, but Rosberg beat that with a 1:08.850. Bottas improved but was now third behind Hamilton and Rosberg. Then Massa took third away.

With 6 minutes remaining in the session, Hamilton turned a 1:08.455 and Rosberg did a 1:08.655. Vettel was now third with a 1:09.655.

The order was now: Hamilton, Rosberg, Vettel, Bottas, Hulkenberg, Nasr, Kvyat, Verstappen and Grosjean.

With 2 minutes remaining in the session, everybody was on track but Grosjean.

With seconds to go, Hamilton spun off at Turn 1, and Rosberg went off as well at Turn 8!

So Hamilton held on to the pole, and Rosberg grids second for the race. Vettel is third, Massa fourth and Hulkenberg fifth. Bottas, Verstappen, Kvyat, Nasr and Grosjean complete the top 10.