SPIELBERG (Austria) • Lewis Hamilton sped through the rain and sunshine perfectly in his Mercedes yesterday to secure pole position for today's Austrian Grand Prix.
In a dramatic and incident-packed qualifying session, the three-time Formula One world champion judged his speed and tyre selection to perfection in the changing conditions to claim the prime starting spot with a best lap in 1min 7.922sec.
It was his second successive pole in Austria, his fifth of the year and the 54th of his career.
His Mercedes team-mate and championship leader Nico Rosberg was second fastest, but the German will start today's race with a five-place grid penalty after a gearbox change following his crash in practice yesterday morning.
"That was a really fun session," said Hamilton. "The first time I have driven in the wet here. It's incredible how fast it dries up. It's like driving through fog!
AUSTRIAN GRAND PRIX GRID
1 Lewis Hamilton (Gbr) Mercedes
2 Nico Hulkenberg (Ger) Force India
3 Jenson Button (Gbr) McLaren
4 Kimi Raikkonen (Fin) Ferrari
5 Daniel Ricciardo (Aus) Red Bull
6 Valtteri Bottas (Fin) Williams
7 Nico Rosberg (Ger) Mercedes
8 Max Verstappen (Ned) Red Bull
9 Sebastian Vettel (Ger) Ferrari
10 Felipe Massa (Brazil) Williams
14 Fernando Alonso (Esp) McLaren
"It was very, very slippery, but it was drying up corner by corner - at the end it was just about getting that last lap in so I am very happy."
Rosberg, who will start from seventh, said: "It was very tight and an awesome effort by them all. Lewis did a good job at the end. Second is okay. Five places will be costly for me but I will make the best of it."
Nico Hulkenberg was third fastest for Force India, but faced a visit to the stewards' office for a possible flag infringement. If he survives that, he will start second.
Yet another German, four-time champion Sebastian Vettel, was fourth for Ferrari, but he also faces a five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change.
Briton Jenson Button took fifth place for McLaren ahead of Finn Kimi Raikkonen in the second Ferrari.
After all the penalties are applied, Hamilton is expected to start ahead of Hulkenberg on the front row, with Button third.
Hamilton is seeking to reduce Rosberg's 24-point lead in the drivers' championship.
F1 AUSTRIAN GP
Singtel TV Ch114 & StarHub Ch208, 7.30pm