Track-temperature on raceday was 50 deg. Cooler than it had been for qualifying. A combination of rain in Q3 and drivers’ inability to stay off the Red Bull Ring’s new curbs shuffled the starting grid away from what’s been typical in recent races.
Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) won his fifth pole of the season. Teammate Nico Rosberg originally qualified second but lined up P6 due to a gearbox-replacement penalty. Nico Hulkenberg (Force India) moved to the front row as a result, the second front-row start of his career and Force India’s first since 2009. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) also received a gearbox penalty and lined up P9, elevating Jenson Button (McLaren-Honda) to third. Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) started fourth
Button moved into second going through Turn 1, with Raikkonen taking third. Raikkonen passed Button for P2 during Lap 8, Rosberg taking third from him later in the same circuit. Rosberg pitted three laps later. Light rain started to fall near the track during Lap 17 (of 71). Hamilton came in to start Lap 22 and had a slow stop, putting Rosberg in front.
Vettel had a right-rear tire failure in Lap 27 and crashed out. Green-flag competition resumed to start Lap 32. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) ran third behind the two Mercedes. Rosberg held a 1-sec lead during Lap 48.
Hamilton came in for a second stop in Lap 55. Rosberg stopped one lap later, taking a new set of supersofts vs. Hamilton’s used softs, and putting Verstappen in the lead. Hamilton asked on the team radio why Rosberg was on softer tires. Verstappen, meanwhile, was posting personal-best times and held a 1.5-sec lead on Rosberg.
Rosberg passed for the lead during Lap 61. Hamilton made it past Verstappen to take second two laps later and closed to 0.7 sec back with 4 laps to go. The two Mercedes collided during the final lap as Hamilton tried to pass his teammate. He made the pass, but Rosberg suffered damage in the process, moving Verstappen to second and Raikkonen third.
The Finn’s podium moved him into a tie for third in the driver standings with teammate Vettel. Button finished P6 for McLaren-Honda, Romain Grosjean P7 for Haas F1, and Pascal Wehrlein finished tenth to score Manor Racing Team’s first Formula 1 point.
Driver standings (Top 10)
Nico Rosberg (Germany), Mercedes – 153
Lewis Hamilton (Great Britain), Mercedes – 142
Sebastian Vettel (Germany), Ferrari – 96
Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Ferrari –96
Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) Red Bull – 88
Max Verstappen (Netherlands), Red Bull – 72
Valtteri Bottas (Finland), Williams-Mercedes – 54
Sergio Perez (Mexico), Force India-Mercedes – 39
Felipe Massa (Brazil), Williams-Mercedes – 38
Romain Grosjean (France), Haas-Ferrari – 28
Daniil Kvyat (Russia), Toro Rosso-Ferrari – 22
Carlos Sainz Jr. (Spain), Toro Rosso-Ferrari – 22
Mercedes (Rosberg, Hamilton) – 295
Ferrari (Vettel, Raikkonen) – 192
Red Bull Racing (Ricciardo, Verstappen) – 168
Williams-Mercedes (Massa, Bottas) – 92
Force India-Mercedes (Nico Hulkenberg, Perez) – 59
Toro Rosso-Ferrari (Sainz Jr., Kvyat) – 36
McLaren-Honda (Fernando Alonso, Jenson Button) – 32
Haas-Ferrari (Grosjean, Esteban Gutierrez) – 28
Renault (Kevin Magnussen, Jolyon Palmer) – 6
MRT-Mercedes (Pascal Wehrlein, Rio Haryanto) – 1
Next event: British Grand Prix – Silverstone, July 8-10, 2016