Mercedes AMG has secured yet another pole position, with star driver Lewis Hamilton the fastest at today’s qualifying session for the 2015 Formula One Austrian Grand Prix and teammate Nico Rosberg a close second. It means the team has now claimed every pole position since last year’s Austrian Grand Prix, which equates to 19 in succession. For Hamilton, it was the 45th of his F1 career and the seventh of the season.
It was an exciting session, with both Hamilton and Rosberg spinning while pushing for further improvement on their final Q3 laps, most likely due to cold tires and damp conditions from some morning showers. In the end, Hamilton’s best was a 1:08.455, with Rosberg managing a 1:08.655. Despite the mixed conditions, this year’s pole time was 0.304s quicker than in the previous season and just 0.118 of a second shy of the record at the Red Bull Ring where the race is being held.
Starting behind the two Mercedes drivers will be Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, third fastest today, and Williams’ Felipe Massa, fourth fastest. Fifth and sixth spots on the grid went to Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg and Williams’ Valtteri Bottas, respectively. Toro Rosso’s Max Verstappen will start at seventh and Sauber’s Felipe Nasr will start at eighth. Filling out the top ten will be Lotus drivers Romain Grosjean (ninth) and Pastor Maldonado (tenth).
Infiniti Red Bull Racing’s Daniil Kvyat was actually the eighth fastest today but he, along with teammate Daniel Ricciardo, will start at the back of the grid due to penalties for using a fifth power unit this season. McLaren drivers Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button will also start at the back of the grid for similar reasons. Surprisingly, Ferrari’s Kimi Räikkönen will also start near the back of the grid. He was knocked out after Q1, having only set the 18th fastest time.
Going into tomorrow’s race, Hamilton leads the 2015 Drivers’ Championship with 151 points. Rosberg is second with 134 points while Vettel is third with 108 points. In the Constructors’ Championship, Mercedes has a commanding lead of 285 points followed by Ferrari with 180 points and Williams with 104 points. A few scattered showers are predicted for the day, but hopefully things will remain dry during race time.