Starting grid for the 2015 Austrian Grand Prix

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After spending much of Friday lamenting a lack of rhythm, Lewis Hamilton bounced back on Saturday at the Red Bull Ring by capturing pole position for the Austrian Grand Prix.

Hamilton shot to the top of the timesheets during his second flying lap of Q3, but appeared to have blown his chance of starting from first place on the grid when he spun at the end of the session.

However, Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg surprisingly made the same error, sliding off the track at the final corner to scupper his own hopes of a second pole of the season.

The end result was that Hamilton had pole position number 45 of his career ahead of Rosberg, whilst Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel finished as the best of the rest in third place.

You can read our full report of qualifying here.

The biggest talking point after the session was the variety of grid penalties that needed to be applied on what has been a busy weekend for the FIA race stewards.

FROM THE STEWARDS’ OFFICE

Daniil Kvyat and Daniel Ricciardo were both handed a ten-place grid drop for making changes to their power unit. Kvyat drops from P8 to P18, but gains three positions thanks to other penalties being applied after his. As a result, he will start the Austrian Grand Prix from 15th place.

Ricciardo qualified 14th on Saturday, so can only theoretically take six places of his penalty to drop to P20. As he cannot serve all of his sanction, he will enter the race with a five-second time penalty to his name, and, like Kvyat, gains places thanks to McLaren’s penalties.

Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button incurred the biggest penalties – 25 places – following a variety of changes that were made to their cars. Both will therefore start from the back row: Alonso in P19 with a drive-through penalty to serve; Button in P20 with a stop/go penalty.

STARTING GRID FOR THE 2015 AUSTRIAN GRAND PRIX

1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes
2. Nico Rosberg Mercedes
3. Sebastian Vettel Ferrari
4. Felipe Massa Williams
5. Nico Hulkenberg Force India
6. Valtteri Bottas Williams
7. Max Verstappen Toro Rosso
8. Felipe Nasr Sauber
9. Romain Grosjean Lotus
10. Pastor Maldonado Lotus
11. Marcus Ericsson Sauber
12. Carlos Sainz Jr Toro Rosso
13. Sergio Perez Force India
14. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari
15. Daniil Kvyat Red Bull
16. Roberto Merhi Manor
17. Will Stevens Manor
18. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull
19. Fernando Alonso McLaren
20. Jenson Button McLaren

The Austrian Grand Prix is live from 7:30am ET on Sunday on NBCSN and Live Extra.

Zach Veach splits with Andretti Autosport for rest of IndyCar season

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Zach Veach will be leaving his Andretti Autosport ride with three races remaining in the season, choosing to explore options after the decision was made he wouldn’t return for 2021.

In a Wednesday release, Andretti Autosport said a replacement driver for the No. 26 Dallara-Honda would be named in the coming days. The NTT IndyCar Series will race Oct. 2-3 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and then conclude the season Oct. 25 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Veach was ranked 11th in the points standings through 11 races of his third season with Andretti. Since a fourth in the June 6 season opener at Texas Motor Speedway, he hadn’t finished higher than 14th.

“The decision was made that I will not be returning in 2021 with Andretti Autosport in the No. 26 Gainbridge car,” Veach said in the Andretti release. “This, along with knowing that limited testing exists for teams due to COVID, have led me to the decision to step out of the car for the remainder of the 2020 IndyCar season. I am doing this to allow the team to have time with other drivers as they prepare for 2021, and so that I can also explore my own 2021 options.

“This is the hardest decision I have ever made, but to me, racing is about family, and it is my belief that you take care of your family. Andretti Autosport is my family and I feel this is what is best to help us all reach the next step. I will forever be grateful to Michael and the team for all of their support over the years. I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for a relationship that started many years ago with Road to Indy. I will also be forever grateful to Dan Towriss for his friendship and for the opportunity he and Gainbridge have given me.

“My love for this sport and the people involved is unmeasurable, and I look forward to continuing to be amongst the racing world and fans in 2021.”

Said team owner Michael Andretti: “We first welcomed Zach to the Andretti team back in his USF2000 days and have enjoyed watching him grow and evolve as a racer, and a person. His decision to allow us to use the last few races to explore our 2021 options shows the measure of his character.

“Zach has always placed team and family first, and we’re very happy to have had him as part of ours for so many years. We wish him the best in whatever 2021 may bring and will always consider him a friend.”

Andretti fields five full-time cars for Veach, Alexander Rossi, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti and Colton Herta.

It also has fielded James Hinchcliffe in three races this season.