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Max quite cleverly P7 in qualifying, Hamilton on pole in Austria

Published on 20 June 2015 by Mike Motilall

Having been three times on the eighth spot during the free practices, Max Verstappen has cleverly driven to the seventh grid position for the Austrian Grand Prix on the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg. Lewis Hamilton ended the qualifying in his Mercedes as the fastest, followed by his team mate Nico Rosberg and Sebastian Vettel in his Ferrari on the second and third spot.

“I think that I have done a very good qualifying, the whole weekend was pretty good so far”, is what Max had to say after the qualifying to “Q1 was tricky for a moment, because the track was still about half wet, but I took it slowly. I didn’t want to make mistakes and certainly not crash. Then on the super softs I left some margin and didn’t go to 105% as you would normally do during qualifying. As long as the track keeps getting quicker, your last lap needs to be perfect and we managed to pull that off, enabling us to safely make it through to Q2. Then Q2 went well also, again I took things slowly. After the first run, we made a small adjustment to the front wing and my second run was very good and the balance in the car was super.”

”For Q3, we once more changed the front wing but it didn’t work out well. We managed to improve ourselves somewhat, but P7 was all that was possible”, according to Max. What do you expect of the race tomorrow? “The most important thing tomorrow will be to keep the folks that are behind of me, there. But it will be hard with these long straights. We need to wait and see: points should possibly be up for grabs.”

When Q1 commences, it has stopped raining and the track is still partly wet. Everyone heads out on the intermediates. Max wastes no time and clocks a fast one. His team mate at Toro Rosso, Carlos Sainz, shows he’s also up for it and briefly tops the leader board. The one question on everyone’s mind is when will it get dry enough to switch to the slicks. When that moment arrived, we see Max slowly dropping slightly in the standings.

Some minutes before the end of the session, it even gets tricky for the quick youngster. He drops to a position in the knock out zone, but one quick lap sees him land the top three position when the flag drops. Biggest surprise is Kimi Raikkonen who fails to make it through to Q2, he ends up on a shameful eighteenth position.

After his first run in Q2, Max is fifth for also briefly having held the second spot. At Ferrari they gamble on sending Vettel out for just one lap. Their gamble pays off and the German ends the session behind Rosberg and Hamilton on P3. Max is able to improve himself twice during his second run and finishes cleverly on P6. Remarkable drop outs in Q2 are Daniel Ricciardo (P14) in the Red Bull and Sainz (P13) in his Toro Rosso.

After Q3 gets on its way, it is quickly apparent that Toro Rosso has chosen to only do one run for Max. After the first run, both Mercedes are leading followed by Vettel’s Ferrari. After his first fast lap in Q3, Max is on P6. In the final minutes of the session, Nico Hulkenberg sees a chance to pass Max, causing him to eventually land the seventh spot.

It was not over, till it was finally over as both Hamilton and Rosberg finish Q3 beside the track. In a final effort to improve their times, Hamilton spun when breaking for turn 1 and Rosberg made a mistake in the last corner. For the final results, it had no impact as both gents are starting from the front row. Both Red Bulls and both McLarens will start at the back of the field due to grid-lane penalties.

Red Bull Ring – Austrian Grand Prix – Saturday 20 June

 P No Driver             Team          Q1       Q2       Q3     Laps 
 1 44 Lewis Hamilton     Mercedes      1:12.218 1:09.062 1:08.455 30 
 2  6 Nico Rosberg       Mercedes      1:10.976 1:08.634 1:08.655 31 
 3  5 Sebastian Vettel   Ferrari       1:11.184 1:09.392 1:08.810 21 
 4 19 Felipe Massa       Williams      1:11.830 1:09.719 1:09.192 27 
 5 27 Nico Hulkenberg    Force India   1:11.319 1:09.604 1:09.278 22 
 6 77 Valtteri Bottas    Williams      1:11.894 1:09.598 1:09.319 26 
 7 33 Max Verstappen     Toro Rosso    1:11.307 1:09.631 1:09.612 28 
 8 26 Daniil Kvyat       Red Bull      1:12.092 1:10.187 1:09.694 32 
 9 12 Felipe Nasr        Sauber        1:12.001 1:09.652 1:09.713 29 
10  8 Romain Grosjean    Lotus         1:11.821 1:09.920          22 
11 13 Pastor Maldonado   Lotus         1:11.661 1:10.374          22 
12  9 Marcus Ericsson    Sauber        1:12.388 1:10.426          20 
13 55 Carlos Sainz       Toro Rosso    1:11.158 1:10.465          23 
14  3 Daniel Ricciardo   Red Bull      1:11.973 1:10.482          19 
15 14 Fernando Alonso    McLaren       1:12.508 1:10.736          22 
16 11 Sergio Perez       Force India   1:12.522                   13 
17 22 Jenson Button      McLaren       1:12.632                   12 
18  7 Kimi Räikkönen     Ferrari       1:12.867                   10 
19 98 Roberto Merhi      Marussia      1:14.071                   12 
20 28 Will Stevens       Marussia      1:15.368                   11

On Twitter and Facebook we'll keep you updated throughout the weekend followed by a full report on at the end of the day’s action.

You can find the schedule for the Austrian Grand Prix here

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