Saturday, 21 June 2014

Austrian Qualifying: Mercedes power on top?

There were two Mercedes powered cars on the front row of the grid, as the cars drove in to parc ferme, but they certainly weren't the Works cars. Bottas and Massa looked like they might threaten Hamilton and Rosberg all session, but I'm not sure anyone quite believed they would take both of the top spots. Williams are simply coming alive this season. There may not realistically be enough time for them to attempt a significant challenge on Mercedes, but they might still turn out to be the closest team, come the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. In the Austrian Grand Prix, it'll be interesting to see whether the Mercedes' of Rosberg can fair as well, when he doesn't have a clear path in front of him.

To be fair to Lewis Hamilton, he quite obviously experienced problems, as his rear wheels locked up heavily, under braking. It happened on his final fast lap and it would be difficult to predict whether he would have been able to match the time of Bottas, but just after that Massa bettered his team mate's time and snatched pole position away anyway. There was hope for Mercedes in the shape of Nico Rosberg, but just when we all thought he might ruin the Williams party, he abandoned his fast lap and cruised back to the pits.

Because of his spin and failure to post a lap time, Hamilton starts from ninth on the grid. He's got to be disappointed with that, since it was a problem with his car, and not his team mate's antics, that scuppered his chances. However, he wasn't the only big name to suffer in qualifying, as Sebastian Vettel and Jenson Button failed to make it out of Q2 and in to the final top ten shootout. It's not the first time it's happened to these two drivers, even this season, but it's still extremely frustrating for the Mercedes powered McLaren team AND the World Champions, Red Bull. It seems that The Red Bull Ring has not been lucky for Red Bull Racing, so far this weekend. I wonder if they will fair better in the Grand Prix.

The Grid:
119Felipe MassaWilliams-Mercedes1:10.2921:09.2391:08.75919
277Valtteri BottasWilliams-Mercedes1:10.3561:09.0961:08.84619
36Nico RosbergMercedes1:09.6951:08.9741:08.94417
414Fernando AlonsoFerrari1:10.4051:09.4791:09.28525
53Daniel RicciardoRed Bull Racing-Renault1:10.3951:09.6381:09.46622
620Kevin MagnussenMcLaren-Mercedes1:10.0811:09.4731:09.51529
726Daniil KvyatSTR-Renault1:09.6781:09.4901:09.61921
87Kimi RäikkönenFerrari1:10.2851:09.6571:10.79523
944Lewis HamiltonMercedes1:09.5141:09.092No time15
1027Nico HulkenbergForce India-Mercedes1:10.3891:09.624No time23
1111Sergio PerezForce India-Mercedes1:10.1241:09.75418
1222Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes1:10.2521:09.78022
131Sebastian VettelRed Bull Racing-Renault1:10.6301:09.80115
1413Pastor MaldonadoLotus-Renault1:10.8211:09.93918
1525Jean-Eric VergneSTR-Renault1:10.1611:10.07319
168Romain GrosjeanLotus-Renault1:10.4611:10.64221
1799Adrian SutilSauber-Ferrari1:10.82510
1821Esteban GutierrezSauber-Ferrari1:11.34910
1917Jules BianchiMarussia-Ferrari1:11.4129
2010Kamui KobayashiCaterham-Renault1:11.67310
214Max ChiltonMarussia-Ferrari1:11.77510
229Marcus EricssonCaterham-Renault1:12.67311