Hamilton makes it a year of Mercedes poles

Sat Jun 20, 2015 3:23pm EDT
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By Alan Baldwin

SPIELBERG, Austria (Reuters) - Lewis Hamilton seized pole position for the Austrian Grand Prix on Saturday in a damp qualifying session that saw both the Formula One world champion and his Mercedes team mate Nico Rosberg skid off on their final laps.

The pole was Hamilton's seventh in eight races -- the same number he managed in all of last season -- and 45th of his career, taking him to third equal with Sebastian Vettel on the all-time list behind Michael Schumacher and Ayrton Senna.

It also completed a year of domination by Mercedes, with Brazilian Felipe Massa's pole for Williams in Austria last June the last time any driver from outside the team has started from the top slot.

"It was quite a difficult qualifying session for everyone because of the track conditions," said Hamilton, who spun off at turn one as he started his final quick lap on a drying track after morning rain.

"I was pushing that bit extra on the next run and just locked the rears," added the Briton, who leads Rosberg by 17 points after winning four races to the German's two.

Rosberg, who was two tenths slower than Hamilton going into his final lap, pushed just a bit too hard and careered across the runoff and into the gravel just as it seemed he was going to be quicker.

"I went on the astroturf out of the second to last corner. Maybe that was still a bit wet or something or I just overdid it after that, I'm not sure. I just lost it there into the last corner," said the German.

"I knew I had to go for it."   Continued...

Mercedes Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton is flanked by Ferrari driver Vettel of Germany and team mate Nico Rosberg of Germany (L) following the qualifying session for the Austrian F1 Grand Prix in Spielberg, Austria, June 20, 2015.   REUTERS/Laszlo Balogh