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F1 Austrian Grand Prix: Hamilton prevails in frantic Austrian GP qualifying

Lewis Hamilton takes pole for the Austrian GP amidst rain, crashes and penalties, with Nico Hulkenberg and Jenson Button set to start P2 and P3.
CLICK HERE for the full Austrian Grand Prix qualifying result

Lewis Hamilton will start the Austrian Grand Prix from pole position ahead of Nico Hulkenberg and Jenson Button after prevailing in a frantic rain-affected qualifying session around the Red Bull Ring.

In what would prove to be the most exciting qualifying session of the season, a shower towards the end of Q2 would shake things up for Q3, with the 10 drivers beginning on intermediate rubber before switching to slicks as the track dried and lap times tumbled in the final minutes.

A fast-moving game of 'musical chairs' with the last cars across the line before the chequered flag benefiting from the optimum track conditions, it was Hamilton that would save his best for when it mattered to secure the top spot, ahead of team-mate Nico Rosberg.

However, with Rosberg – along with fourth place qualifier Sebastian Vettel – facing five-place grid penalties for gearbox changes, the big winners are Hulkenberg and Button, whose last gasp efforts placed them third and fifth, becoming second and third for the respective Force India and McLaren drivers.

Kimi Raikkonen qualified sixth ahead of Daniel Ricciardo and Valtteri Bottas, though all three are set to rise two positions each to fourth, fifth and sixth, with championship leader Rosberg destined to get away from seventh position. Max Verstappen will start eighth, ahead of the penalised Vettel, with Felipe Massa in tenth.

The thrilling end to the session came amidst controversy early in qualifying when Sergio Perez and more dramatically Daniil Kvyat suffered suspension failure, seemingly on the raised outer kerbs. Coming after Nico Rosberg suffered a crash in FP3, though Perez was able to crawl back to the pits with his damaged car, Kvyat would lose control of his Toro Rosso at turn eight and crash heavily into the barriers.

With Max Verstappen branding the kerbs as 'dangerous' on Friday, drivers are now calling for changes to be made to the circuit overnight to prevent more incidents.

Just missing out on the top ten as rain made its presence felt in the closing stages of Q2, Esteban Gutierrez starts from a season's best 11th in the Haas, ahead of an inspired Pascal Wehrlein, whose mighty lap in Q1 rewarded Manor with only its second-ever Q2 berth and a superb run to 12th on the grid, ahead of Romain Grosjean and a frustrated Fernando Alonso.

The sidelined Perez and Carlos Sainz, who suffered an engine failure towards the end of Q1, will get away from 15th and 16th provisionally after failing to make it out on track.

Further back, neither Renault made it beyond Q1 with Kevin Magnussen and Jolyon Palmer starting 17th and 18th, ahead of Rio Hartyanto, the sidelined Kvyat and the two Saubers at the back of the grid.

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July 02, 2016 3:54 PM

Suspension failures are a bit worrying but I guess the message is to stay off the kerbs. Mixed up conditions and penalties have played into Jensons strengths and perhaps he can hold on for some points. Just waiting for Eric to give a press release about McLaren improvements and moving forward to a new dawn....

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