Mercedes’ streak of pole positions in the 2014 Formula 1 season has come to an end after both of its drivers were unable to improve their times during the final stage of qualifying for the Austrian Grand Prix today.
Instead, the spoils went to Felipe Massa, who secured his first pole position since the 2008 Brazilian Grand Prix, denying teammate Valtteri Bottas his first ever pole by less than one-tenth of a second.
After running wide on his first lap and seeing his time deleted for exceeding track limits, Lewis Hamilton spun on his final flying lap, and was therefore classified without setting a time during Q3. As a result, he will start tomorrow’s race from ninth place, and will undoubtedly be disappointed not to have secured his fifth pole position of the season.
His teammate, Nico Rosberg, finished third behind the two Williams drivers. He could not improve his time with his second attempt, as he was forced to back off following Hamilton’s spin and the subsequent yellow flags.
Although Mercedes will still be the favorites to win the race tomorrow, its drivers will have a fight on their hands. This is the first time this season that one of its cars will not be starting from the front row, and in ninth, it is the first time this year that Hamilton will not be starting from the front row of the grid.
For now, the glory lies with Williams. After a decade of difficulties and minimal success, to see its drivers lock out the front row in this fashion will undoubtedly go down very well at the British team.
Just two weeks after its winning streak ended at the Canadian Grand Prix, Mercedes has once again lost out.
MotorSportsTalk continues its review of the Verizon IndyCar Series field, driver-by-driver, with a look at Ryan Briscoe. Despite not having a ride to start the year, Briscoe ended strongly courtesy of a series of strong runs at Schmidt Peterson Motorsports.
Ryan Briscoe, No. 5 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda
- 2014: 11th Place, Best Finish 4th, Best Start 4th, 1 Top-5, 11 Top-10, 5 Laps Led, 12.8 Avg. Start, 10.6 Avg. Finish
- 2015: 18th Place (8 starts), Best Finish 5th, Best Start 2nd, 1 Top-5, 4 Top-10, 10 Laps Led, 17.8 Avg. Start, 12.0 Avg. Finish
For those who slag on Briscoe as being undeserving of top level equipment, his 2015 second half provided a friendly reminder of his overall ability level in what might be less than the best machinery.
Briscoe was thrust into the No. 5 car under trying circumstances to begin with, getting all of an hour’s worth practice replacing the injured James Hinchcliffe ahead of the Indianapolis 500. But subsequent drives on the ovals there, Texas, Fontana, Milwaukee and Iowa – even if the results were less than ideal – showcased a driver determined to show to the paddock he still had it, and then some. His defense against Juan Pablo Montoya in Sonoma was nothing short of brilliant, and courtesy of double points he actually finished ahead of full-season driver Stefano Coletti.
The Australian immediately gelled with the SPM team, engineer Allen McDonald and race strategist Robert Gue. He continues to prove he’s an asset, as he has enjoyed multiple opportunities to extend his career in various arenas of motorsport in both open-wheel and sports cars, the latter of which he won at both the Rolex 24 at Daytona and the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring with Corvette Racing this year.
Following an early retirement for Mercedes AMG Petronas teammate Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton has closed even more on his third Formula 1 World Championship.
View it above in the race recap from the 2015 Russian Grand Prix.