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Qualifying analysis - Williams get their just reward

21 Jun 2014

Like FP3, qualifying in Austria took place in warm sun and as expected the times were very tight - so tight that, for once, there wasn’t a Mercedes on the front row. Several drivers had lap times disallowed after the FIA got tough on those who didn’t respect track limits on the exit to Turn 8, and in the end it was the team who adapted best to the track conditions that scored pole. We take a team-by-team look at an eventful qualifying in Spielberg…


Felipe Massa, 1m 08.759s, P1

Valtteri Bottas, 1m 08.846s, P2

Bottas had indicated Williams’ inherent pace when he was fastest in FP3, and he opened Q3 with a blitzing lap which put him ahead of Rosberg. His subsequent effort to improve fell short, however, after a big wobble in the middle sector. Massa, meanwhile, was getting really wound up and slapped in the pole-winning lap right at the end to push Rosberg off the front row. It was the Brazilian’s 16th career pole, his first since Brazil 2008, and delighted an awful lot of people in the paddock. And the FW36s look pretty good in race trim too. Can the team take their first win since Spain in 2012?


Nico Rosberg, 1m 08.944s, P3

Lewis Hamilton, No time, P9

Who would have thought Mercedes would not start from the front row? If everything had gone to plan they would have been, but Hamilton had his first lap (on a new set of supersofts) disallowed for exceeding track limits, then spun in Turn 2 when his rear brakes locked on his second run. That left him an unhappy ninth, and compromised Rosberg’s chances of improving on a not particularly brilliant lap on his first run. In fact, he also strayed over the kerb in Turn 8, but though a decision was marginal he kept his time. They will need all their famed straight-line speed to make up ground tomorrow.


Fernando Alonso, 1m 09.285s, P4

Kimi Raikkonen, 1m 10.795s, P8

Alonso admitted to mixed feelings after taking Ferrari’s best qualifying result in many races, and said that P4 on the grid made up for the disappointment of not making a perfect lap. He also suggested that the grid order was not a true reflection of the overall pecking order, alluding among other things to Hamilton’s problems. Raikkonen, meanwhile, continued to struggle after locking up and damaging the left front tyre in Turn 1.

Red Bull

Daniel Ricciardo, 1m 09.466s, P5

Sebastian Vettel, 1m 09.801s, P13, will start P12

Nobody foresaw only fifth and 12th on the grid for Red Bull in their home race. Indeed, with a minute to go in Q2 neither man was in Q3, but Ricciardo put that right on his final lap. Vettel, however, languished in Q2, but will start 12th after Perez’s penalty. Both said that they just struggled to get the Canadian Grand Prix-winning RB10 dialled in, and Vettel admitted that Ricciardo was faster in Turns 2 and 5.


Kevin Magnussen, 1m 09.515s, P6

Jenson Button, 1m 09.780s, P12, will start P11

McLaren had one of those good news/bad news days. Magnussen’s sixth place (which he felt could have been fifth with a perfect lap) showed that the upgrades brought here had had a positive aero effect. Button, however, had a brake caliper problem in FP3 which cost him that session and meant he had to go into qualifying blind as far as overnight set-up changes were concerned. He still thought that he could have got through to Q3, but lost vital time behind Grosjean at the end of Q2.

Toro Rosso

Daniil Kvyat, 1m 09.619s, P7

Jean-Eric Vergne, 1m 10.073s, P15, will start P14

Likewise there was good and bad news for Toro Rosso, run by local boy Franz Tost. Kvyat was in monster form to qualify seventh, which he rated his best effort of the year. By contrast, Vergne struggled with oversteer throughout and was a disappointed 15th prior to the application of Perez’s penalty.

Force India

Nico Hulkenberg, No time, P10

Sergio Perez, 1m 09.754s, P11, will start P16

Hulkenberg was one of many to have a lap disallowed, this time in Q3, but he is confident of being able to fight for points tomorrow. Perez said he tried to get away with a flier at the end of Q2 but that it didn’t come off. His chances will be compromised by the five-place grid penalty he received in Canada, which was upheld by a further stewards’ review here on Thursday.


Pastor Maldonado, 1m 09.939s, P14, will start P13

Romain Grosjean, 1m 10.642s, P16, will start P15

Though Renault improved their engine performance after Friday, both drivers said their lack of straight-line speed was a serious hindrance and that the E22 did not feel good on low fuel. They hope for better handling with a higher fuel load tomorrow.


Adrian Sutil, 1m 10.825s, P17

Esteban Gutierrez, 11.349s, P18

Once again the Saubers proved tricky to drive on the limit, though Sutil said his set-up was the best it had been all weekend. Both drivers were among those who exceeded track limits and had times disallowed.


Jules Bianchi, 1m 11.412s, P19

Max Chilton, 1m 11.775s, P21, will start P22

The progress that Marussia have made is very clear as the MR03 looked like a potential midfield runner. Unfortunately, neither driver got a perfect lap. Nevertheless, the team believe they might have a chance of points if there’s action in the midfield going up to the first corner after the start. Chilton qualified 21st, but dropped to 22nd when his three-place penalty from Canada was applied.


Kamui Kobayashi, 1m 11.673s, P20

Marcus Ericsson, 1m 12.673s, P22, will start P21

Kobayashi was very excited about a set-up change that reaped a big dividend in lap time and which he expects to be even more helpful at Silverstone in a fortnight. It got him back on to the tail of the lead Marussia. Ericsson said his car also took a big step forward for qualifying, but that he never really got a clear lap and that his time wasn’t fully representative.