Massa Leads Surprise Williams Front Row Lock-Out

Felipe Massa took surprise pole at the Austrian Grand Prix and will have his Finnish team-mate beside him after the resurgent Williams outfit locked out the front row following misfortune for Mercedes.

Already the only team who can get within firing range of an on-form Mercedes, Williams benefited from a lot of Mercedes bad luck, particularly in the all-important Q3 session. Nico Rosberg was bettered by Bottas on his first attempt while Hamilton’s first lap time was deleted after he ran wide at turn 8. The Briton’s second lap was none better when he spun out under braking into turn 2. The subsequent yellow flags impeded his team-mate who settled for third. With no time set, Hamilton was left down in ninth – ahead of Nico Hulkenberg who also had his lap time deleted for exceeding track limits.

Nonetheless, the Williams boys were in fine form. Although he took pole, Massa’s lap was far from perfect, and with two lock ups on his lap, it’s clear that there is more yet to come from the incredibly popular Williams team.

Fernando Alonso congratulated his former team-mate in the paddock and thought about how his fortunes are faring in comparison: with fourth on the grid, he set his best Qualifying result so far this season. Race winner last-time-out, Daniel Ricciardo, took his Red Bull to fifth on the grid – certainly a much better result than Sebastian Vettel who failed to progress from the Q2 session.

Kevin Magnussen in sixth and Daniil Kvyat in seventh also made it into the top ten while their team-mates did not, with impressive performances from both rookies. Kimi Raikkonen was the last man inside the top ten to record a lap time, but as he had to slow down for the yellow flag of Hamilton’s spin, he failed to set a competitive time and qualified eighth.

Sergio Perez qualified eleventh but due to the five-place grid penalty for his crash with Massa at the Canadian Grand Prix, which he unsuccessfully appealed on Friday, he will start from sixteenth. This in turn promotes Jenson Button, Sebastian Vettel, Pastor Maldonado, Jean-Eric Vergne and Romain Grosjean.

Adrian Sutil and his Sauber team-mate Esteban Gutierrez both failed to make it past the first hurdle and dropped from Q1, joining Jules Bianchi, Kamui Kobayashi, Max Chilton (who has a three-place penalty for crashing with Bianchi in Canada) and Marcus Ericsson.

Image courtesy of Williams F1 Team.

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