|Photo Credit: Mercedes AMG|
The 2015 Formula 1 tour returns to Europe after a one-race stop in North America for the Austrian Grand prix. The 9-turn, 4.326-kilometer Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, Austria serves as host for the 8th race of the season.
Seeking to defend their 2014 1-2 finish in the Austrian Grand Prix, Mercedes AMG with drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg exited Saturday's qualifying for the race's 2015 edition in prime position despite a less than peak performance. With a 1-minute, 8.455-second lap time, Lewis Hamilton claimed the top spot. While leaving the time trial session at the top of the field, Hamilton's fastest lap was accompanied by a spin in the final Q3 session. "I was pushing hard to find more time on the final lap of the second run and just locked the rears into Turn One. At that point I was backwards in seventh gear and just focused on trying to make sure I didn't damage the car." said the reigning Formula 1 World Champion. Keeping his pole-winning lap, Lewis Hamilton preserved an exactly 2/10ths of a second advantage over teammate and defending Austrian race winner Nico Rosberg. Rosberg had also spun on track during a last part of Austrian Grand Prix qualifying.
After a troubled qualifying but an ultimately successful race in Canada, Sebastian Vettel and his Ferrari team has resumed its role as a potential spoiler to Mercedes AMG. Vettel delivered a lap time just 0.355 seconds off the pace of Lewis Hamilton to secure a second row position at the Red Bull Ring. Vettel's Ferrari starts alongside the 2014 pole winner Felipe Massa driving a Williams-Mercedes. The third row featured another pair of Mercedes-powered entries. After starting the 2015 year slow, Force India and driver Nico Hulkenberg appears revitalized with a solid 5th place in qualifying. Germany's Hulkenberg may also be rejuvenated by his part in Porsche's overall victory at the 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans last week. The second Williams race car of Valtteri Bottas will start sixth.
In qualifying, both the Red Bull Racing and McLaren teams have been demoted due to grid penalties. Struggling to find performance from their Renault power units throughout the season so far, Red Bull's 2015 efforts have deteriorated. Last year, Red Bull Racing's and driver Daniel Ricciardo salvaged a difficult 2014 competition with a Canadian Grand Prix win. After the 2015 race in Canada, Ricciardo failed to score points leaving the Austrian based team to rely on Daniil Kvyat ninth place finish for two championship points. Without a win or even podium finish this season, Red Bull Racing arrives for a home-style event frustrated. While Kvyat qualified ninth after the Q3 session, both Red Bull Racing cars were assessed a 10-grid spot penalty due to engine changes. The McLaren Honda situation at the Austrian Grand Prix seems to be in-line with their dismal 2015 season so far. The cars of both Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button have been given a 25-place grid penalty as a result of engine and gearbox changes. The two McLarens will start at the back of the field for the 2015 Austrian Grand Prix.
The 2015 Austrian Grand Prix is set to start Sunday at 8 am.
2015 Formula 1
Austrian Grand Prix
|Pos #||Car #||Driver||Team||Engine|
|1||44||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes AMG||Mercedes-Benz|
|2||6||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes AMG||Mercedes-Benz|
|5||27||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India||Mercedes-Benz|
|6||77||Valtteri Bottas||Williams F1||Renault|
|7||33||Max Verstappen||Scuderia Toro Rosso||Renault|
|12||55||Carlos Sainz Jr||Scuderia Toro Rosso||Renault|
|13||11||Sergio Perez||Force India||Mercedes-Benz|
|15||98||Roberto Merhi||Manor Marussia||Ferrari|
|16||28||Will Stevens||Manor Marussia||Ferrari|
|17||26||Daniil Kvyat||Red Bull||Renault|
|18||3||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull||Renault|