Spielberg - Britain's Lewis Hamilton sped through the rain and sunshine
with perfect timing in his Mercedes on Saturday to secure pole position for
Sunday's Austrian Grand Prix.
The defending three-time world champion judged his speed and
his tyre selection to perfection in challenging and changing conditions,
claiming the prime starting spot with a best lap in 1min 7.922sec.
It was his second successive pole in Austria, his fifth of
2016 and the 54th of his career.
His Mercedes team-mate and championship leader Nico Rosberg
was second fastest, but the German will start Sunday's race with a five-place
grid penalty after a gearbox change following his crash in practice on Saturday
Another German, Nico Hulkenberg, was third fastest for Force
India, but faced a visit to the stewards' office for an earlier infringement.
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 timed his intervention to perfection
also to take fifth place for McLaren Honda ahead of Finn Kimi Raikkonen in the
Australian Daniel Ricciardo was seventh for Red Bull ahead
of Finn Valtteri Bottas of Williams, Dutch teenager Max Verstappen in the
second Red Bull and Brazilian Felipe Massa in the second Williams.
After all the penalties are applied, Hamilton is expected to
start ahead of Hulkenberg on the front row with Button third in a McLaren.
Hamilton is seeking to reduce Rosberg's 24-point lead in the
drivers' championship after eight of this year's 21 races. Rosberg is seeking
to complete a hat-trick of successive wins in Austria.