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.