Hamilton on pole from Hulkenberg and Button in Austria

© XPB 

Lewis Hamilton took pole position for the Austrian Grand Prix and will start ahead of Nico Hulkenberg and Jenson Button after a rain-hit Q3.

The final part of qualifying took place on a wet but drying track, allowing the final runs to be completed on slick tyres. Hamilton pulled out an impressive lap to beat team-mate Nico Rosberg by half a second, but Rosberg has a five-place grid penalty to take after a crash in FP3.

That penalty will promote Nico Hulkenberg to second on the grid after the German originally qualified third. Hulkenberg was first on the slick tyre in Q3 and got three timed laps in, allowing him to build up his pace quickly. The Force India was on provisional pole until the final lap, but was pushed down by the Mercedes pair.

There was one caveat to Hulkenberg's performance, however, as he was investigated for improving under yellow flags in Q1 but eventually escaped penalty.

Sebastian Vettel qualified fourth but he too has a five-place grid penalty to take, promoting Jenson Button - excelling in mixed conditions once again - to third place on the grid from fifth. Sixth was Kimi Raikkonen, though he will start fourth, while Daniel Ricciardo in seventh will also gain two positions.

When the penalties are applied, Rosberg will start from sixth on the grid ahead of Valtteri Bottas, Max Verstappen, with Vettel ninth and Felipe Massa tenth.

It was a busy start to Q2 due to a threat of rain which saw the Mercedes pair waiting at the end of the pit lane. With Rosberg and Hamilton heading out on ultrasofts, Ferrari opted to run the supersofts and both cars managed to progress, meaning they will start on the red-walled Pirellis on Sunday.

Mercedes and Red Bull both attempted to respond to Ferrari’s move with late runs on supersofts and the two Red Bull drivers improved, but the rain prevented Mercedes from doing the same. As a result Button snuck through by 0.006s over Esteban Gutierrez, with Pascal Wehrlein an impressive 12th for Manor ahead of Romain Grosjean and Fernando Alonso.

A dramatic first qualifying session saw first Sergio Perez suffer a right rear suspension failure and have to crawl back to the pits to end his session early. Perez made it through to Q2 as a result of later incidents but was unable to run again.

The second right rear suspension failure hit Daniil Kvyat as he ran wide over the kerbs at Turn 8 and was pitched into a high-speed spin which saw him wipe the front of his car off against the end of a wall on the inside of the track. Kvyat was fortunately OK after the incident which heavily damaged his car, which came to rest on the outside of Turn 9.

Following a 15-minute red flag period, the session restarted with 1:44 on the clock and the likes of the Renaults and Saubers keen to improve after Wehrlein’s impressive lap, but Carlos Sainz then suffered an apparent power unit failure as he exited the pit lane which forced him to stop on the run to Turn 2 and brought out yellow flags which prevented others from improving significantly.
As a result, Sainz was unable to take part in Q2 despite progressing ahead of the two Renault drivers Rio Haryanto, Kvyat and the two Saubers.

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01Lewis HamiltonMercedes1:06.9471:06.2281:07.922
02Nico RosbergMercedes1:06.5161:06.4031:08.465
03Nico HulkenbergForce India1:07.3851:07.2571:09.285
04Sebastian VettelFerrari1:06.7611:06.6021:09.781
05Jenson ButtonMcLaren1:07.6531:07.5721:09.900
06Kimi RaikkonenFerrari1:07.2401:06.9401:09.901
07Daniel RicciardoRed Bull1:07.5001:06.8401:09.980
08Valtteri BottasWilliams1:07.1481:06.9111:10.440
09Max VerstappenRed Bull1:07.1311:06.8661:11.153
10Felipe MassaWilliams1:07.4191:07.1451:11.977
11Esteban GutierrezHaas1:07.6601:07.578
12Pascal WehrleinManor1:07.5651:07.700
13Romain GrosjeanHaas1:07.6621:08.117
14Fernando AlonsoMcLaren1:07.6711:08.154
15Carlos SainzToro Rosso1:07.618
16Sergio PerezForce India1:07.657
17Kevin MagnussenRenault1:07.941
18Jolyon PalmerRenault1:07.965
19Rio HaryantoManor1:08.026
20Daniil KvyatToro Rosso1:08.409
21Marcus EricssonSauber1:08.418
22Felipe NasrSauber1:08.446