Having had the measure of his teammate for all but one lap this weekend, few could take anything away from Nico Rosberg as he saw the chequered flag first at the Red Bull Ring this afternoon. After being beaten to turn one, Lewis Hamilton had no answer to his championship rival’s blistering pace and an uncharacteristic mishap on the pitlane exit extinguished what was left of his already dwindling hopes of a race victory. Rosberg has now claimed three of the past four possible victories, and this, the sweetest of the year to date.
The folk at Brackley are becoming showmen – as are the two pilots of the Mercedes cars. For a dominant team, they regularly provide mouthwatering entertainment and despite taking their nineteenth consecutive pole position and making it an entire calendar year of Saturday glory, Hamilton and Rosberg were at the heart of late drama in Spielberg. It was the former, who held on to claim his 45th career pole, yet more through luck than judgement, as he found himself heading backwards into the turn one run-off area, ruling himself out of contention to improve as the clock ticked down to zero in Q3. Moments later, Nico Rosberg also found himself on an off-road adventure and therefore, ended second best again.
It may only be a Friday, but such is Mercedes’ dominance and reliability this season, Sebastian Vettel topping the FP2 timesheet is somewhat of a talking point – particularly given the German’s reliability issues which curtailed in first session and truncated his second. However, Vettel’s messy day summed up today’s running up and down the field, as countless drivers not only found the limit but exceeded it, on the small but mighty circuit filled with challenges. Lewis Hamilton in particular was one of those who regularly took to the run-off area, with the most costly occasion coming when the Briton was one corner away from recording a representative qualifying simulation run.
The hills come alive this weekend, with the sound of 20 F1 cars pounding around the small and mighty Red Bull Ring. Lewis Hamilton leads the championship, heading into an event that teammate Nico Rosberg prevailed at 12 months ago, and Nico Rosberg will hope to make it an Austrian double this time out. Meanwhile, at a circuit in which they starred last season, Williams’ Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas will aim to build upon a promising weekend in Canada, which saw the latter make his first appearance at the podium club this campaign.