F1 Grand Prix of Austria - Previews

Maldonado excluded from qualifying for fuel breach

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Pastor Maldonado has been excluded from qualifying for the British Grand Prix after the stewards deemed that there was an insufficient amount of fuel left in his Lotus at the end of the session.

The regulations state that each car must be able to provide a one litre fuel sample at the end of qualifying in order to be classified, and after being investigated, the stewards have confirmed that Maldonado’s Lotus E22 did not have enough to meet this requirement.

A statement from the stewards reads:

“There was an insufficient amount of fuel to provide a one litre fuel sample and therefore this is in breach of article 6.6.2 of the FIA Formula 1 Technical Regulations.

“The competitor is, however, allowed to start the race from the back of the grid in front of any cars that failed to set a time within 107% of the fastest time in Q1.”

As a result, Maldonado will start the race from 20th position ahead of the two Caterham drivers.

The Venezuelan driver had qualified in 15th place on Saturday at Silverstone, but his car ground to a halt at the end of the session when it ran out of fuel.

“We had a lack of fuel during the second qualifying session which meant I had to stop the car out on track,” Maldonado explained. “The team are investigating to find out what happened as otherwise the car felt good and we had a strong opportunity to be in the top ten.

“The pace was certainly there this morning and the car was doing what I wanted it to do. We had a good strategy through the difficult weather conditions today so naturally I’m a bit disappointed with where we ended up on the grid.”

Unfortunately for Pastor, he’ll now drop another five places behind the Ferrari and Williams drivers.

Back of the grid for the British GP

14. Valtteri Bottas Williams
15. Felipe Massa Williams
16. Fernando Alonso Ferrari
17. Max Chilton Marussia
18. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari
19. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber
20. Pastor Maldonado Lotus
21. Marcus Ericsson Caterham
22. Kamui Kobayashi Caterham

Sainz uninjured, but to remain in hospital overnight

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Carlos Sainz Jr. will remain in hospital overnight following a terrifying crash during practice for the Russian Grand Prix on Saturday morning.

Sainz slammed into the wall at turn 13 after losing control of his car, pitching in underneath the TecPro barrier at the end of the run-off area.

Medical crews spent 20 minutes extricating Sainz from his car due to the barriers’ placement before he was taken away to hospital for a check-up.

Sainz tweeted a picture to his followers confirming that he was okay, and Toro Rosso has now released a second statement confirming that the Spaniard was fully conscious throughout the crash and is uninjured.

“After arriving at the Sochi Hospital 4, Carlos Sainz, who never lost consciousness, underwent a medical examination, including a full body scan,” the statement reads. “The scan showed that the driver has no injuries.

“However, he will be staying in the hospital overnight as a precautionary measure, which is the normal procedure in these circumstances.

“We will release further information when it is available.”

Sainz tweeted that he was hoping to convince the doctors to release him from hospital early enough so that he could take part in tomorrow’s race, but any steps taken will be with his well-being in mind.

Rosberg charges to Russian GP pole in Sochi

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Nico Rosberg will start tomorrow’s Russian Grand Prix from pole position after topping the timesheets in Saturday’s qualifying session at the Sochi Autodrom.

Rosberg posted a fastest lap time of 1:37.113 to edge out Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton by three-tenths of a second to score pole position in Russia.

Following on from its dominant display in Japan two weeks ago, Mercedes showed few signs of easing up at the front of the field as it stormed to another front-row lock-out.

Having traded fastest lap times throughout the earlier stages of qualifying, Hamilton and Rosberg renewed their battle in Q3 at Sochi, but it was Rosberg who finished on top.

Rosberg drew early blood in Q3 by going three-tenths faster than his teammate on his first run, and when Hamilton locked up late on and opted to pit, pole was safely with the German driver.

Valtteri Bottas finished as the best of the rest in third place, beating the Ferrari duo of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen who finished fifth and sixth respectively as all of the drivers struggled to improve on their second runs.

Nico Hulkenberg and Force India teammate Sergio Perez will start sixth and seventh, while Romain Grosjean qualified eighth. Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo rounded out the top ten in P9 and P10 respectively.

Home favorite Daniil Kvyat was unable to delight the local fans as he would have liked to in qualifying, dropping out in Q2 by finishing 11th ahead of Felipe Nasr. Pastor Maldonado was also eliminated, finishing 14th, but it was Felipe Massa who was the biggest casualty of the second session, ending up 15th for Williams.

McLaren experienced something of a mixed qualifying session on Saturday as Fernando Alonso was knocked out at the end of Q1. Teammate Jenson Button managed to improve late on to dump the Spaniard out and leave him 16th overall, while the Briton went on to finish 13th in Q2.

Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson also dropped out at the first hurdle alongside the two Manor drivers, while Carlos Sainz Jr. took no part in the session following his practice crash. The Spaniard still hopes to take part in tomorrow’s race, but will remain in hospital overnight.