A pleasant shock hit the Formula One community in qualifying for tomorrow’s Austrian Grand Prix when Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas scored a 1-2 and put Williams at the front of the grid for the first time since the 2003 German Grand Prix.
It is also the first pole for Massa since the 2008 Brazilian Grand Prix when he was driving for Ferrari; the following day he missed out on the world title in the dying moments to Lewis Hamilton, then at the wheel of a McLaren. This time, the Briton is in the formidable Mercedes F1W05, but the wheels came off their qualifying challenge when Nico Rosberg ran wide on his final qualifying lap and had the time disallowed, while Hamilton did the same on his first lap before spinning his way off the circuit in his second attempt.
Fernando Alonso and Daniel Ricciardo complete the top five positions, with Kevin Magnussen, Daniil Kvyat, Kimi Raikkonen and Hamilton filling out down to 9th. Hamilton starts 9th after Nico Hulkenberg’s laptime was disallowed by the stewards.
Big names lost out in Q2, with Sebastian Vettel and Jenson Button the biggest victims. Vettel couldn’t get to grips with the RB10 on the super-soft compound, while Button was attempting to come back from a disastrous FP3 that saw him miss out on any setup time when a brake-by-wire system failure wrecked his chances.
All drivers made it within the 107% time rule, while at the back of the grid Caterham managed to move closer to Marussia in their battle for honours.
CLASSIFICATION – Qualifying – Austrian Grand Prix – 21st June 2014
|10||Hulkenberg||Force India||No Time|
*Five-place grid penalty