Massa claims pole for Austrian GP

 

The Sports Network

Spielberg, Austria (SportsNetwork.com) - Mercedes' pole-winning streak in Formula One this season has come to an end, as Felipe Massa from Williams won Saturday's qualifying session for the Austrian Grand Prix.

Massa made a lap around the 2.688-mile (4.326-kilometer), 9-turn Red Bull Ring in 1 minute, 8.759 seconds on his final lap to earn his 16th career F1 pole but his first since the 2008 season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix when he drove for Ferrari. The 33-year-old Brazilian is in his first season with Williams.

"I am so happy with what has happened today, with our team, it was such a great moment," said Massa, who gave Williams its first pole position since Pastor Maldonado did it for the team in the 2012 Spanish Grand Prix. "It was a very long time when I had my last pole position, which was in Brazil in 2008, so it's such an incredible moment."

Massa's teammate, Valtteri Bottas, posted a lap time in 1:08.846 to qualify second and give Williams a front row sweep for Sunday's 71-lap race in Austria. It was the best qualifying finish for Bottas in F1.

"Best position so far in my career, so one more place to go," Bottas said. "I'm really happy for us as a team. This result is really good at this point. We've made some big, big steps from last year, and now we get a result like this. We can see that all of the hard work really starts to pay off."

Either Nico Rosberg or Lewis Hamilton from Mercedes had won the pole in the first seven grand prix in 2014. Rosberg, the current F1 world championship points leader, was attempting to win his third consecutive pole but qualified third with a lap in 1:08.944.

Hamilton was quickest in Q1 and Rosberg in Q2, but during Q3, Hamilton had his first lap time disallowed when he ran wide in turn 8 and then spun out in turn 2 on his second and final lap. The yellow flags for his spin interrupted Rosberg's attempt at the pole.

"I definitely didn't expect Williams to be ahead of us today, but they did a good job," Rosberg said. "It just didn't come together perfectly for me today. I lost out on that last lap because of Lewis spinning in the corner."

Hamilton will start ninth after failing to set a time in Q3.

"My first lap in Q3 was looking good before I went wide in the second-to-last corner, and I think that lap would probably have done it," Hamilton said. "Then on the second run, I hit the brakes into turn 2 and just locked the rears. I still need to look at the data to see exactly what happened. It's a long race, and I need to try and recover as much as I can from this loss."

Fernando Alonso from Ferrari qualified fourth, while Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo, who won his maiden grand prix two weeks ago in Canada, took the fifth spot.

Kevin Magnussen placed his McLaren sixth on the grid. Toro Rosso's Daniil Kvyat was seventh, followed by Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen, who is making his 200th career F1 grand prix start. Nico Hulkenberg from Force India completed the top-10.

Red Bull driver and four-time defending world champion Sebastian Vettel failed to advance into Q3. Vettel had qualified 13th but moved up one spot on the grid due to Sergio Perez's five-spot grid penalty that he received for causing a collision with Massa during the final lap in the Canadian GP. Perez had qualified one spot behind his teammate Hulkenberg in 11th.

"I would love to be higher up, but it is what it is right now," a disappointed Vettel said. "We'll try to do the best tomorrow."

Massa has not won a grand prix since '08 in Brazil. He finished only one point behind Hamilton for the F1 title that year.

"It is the best place to be - here in first place," Massa said. "It's something that I've had the chance to be in many times during my career. After a long time of not being in this place, I hope this is just the beginning of some great possibilities, not only in qualifying but also in the race.

"The race is tomorrow, but I'm so happy and very emotional, not just for me but I think it is a similar feeling for Williams as well. They are back to the top, and they're back to the fight. There's still a lot to do."

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