ON POLE AT THE 'RING: Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg (left), team mate Lewis Hamilton centre) and Force India's Nico Huelkenberg pose after qualifying at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, Austria. Image: AP / Ronald Zak
Austria - Lewis Hamilton sped through the rain and sunshine with perfect timing in his Mercedes on Saturday to secure pole position for the 2016 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.
As it happened: 2016 Austrian GP - Qualifying
His Mercedes team mate and championship leader Nico Rosberg was second fastest, but the he will start Sunday's race with a five-place grid penalty after a gearbox change following his crash in practice on Saturday morning.
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.
Jenson Button timed his intervention to perfection also to take fifth place for McLaren-Honda ahead of Kimi Raikkonen in the second Ferrari.
Daniel Ricciardo was seventh for Red Bull ahead of Valtteri Bottas of Williams, teenager Max Verstappen in the second Red Bull and 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.
2016 Austrian GP - Qualifying times:
1. Lewis Hamilton(Britain) Mercedes 1min07.922
2. Nico Rosberg (Germany) Mercedes 1min08.465
3. Nico Huelkenberg (Germany) Force India - Mercedes 1min09.285
4. Sebastian Vettel (Germany) Ferrari 1min09.781
5. Jenson Button (Britain) McLaren 1min09.900
6. Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Ferrari 1min09.901
7. Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) Red Bull - TAG Heuer 1min09.980
8. Valtteri Bottas (Finland) Williams-Mercedes 1min10.440
9. Max Verstappen (Netherlands) Red Bull - TAG Heuer 1min11.153
10. Felipe Massa (Brazil) Williams-Mercedes 1min11.977
11. Esteban Gutierrez (Mexico) Haas - Ferrari 1min07.578
12. Pascal Wehrlein (Germany) Manor - Mercedes 1min07.700
13. Romain Grosjean (France) Haas - Ferrari 1min07.850
14. Fernando Alonso (Spain) McLaren 1min08.154
15. Carlos Sainz Jr (Spain) Toro Rosso - Ferrari
16. Sergio Perez (Mexico) Force India - Mercedes
17. Kevin Magnussen (Denmark) Renault 1min07.941
18. Jolyon Palmer (Britain) Renault 1min07.965
19. Rio Haryanto (Indonesia) Manor - Mercedes 1min08.026
20. Daniil Kvyat (Russia) Toro Rosso - Ferrari 1min08.409
21. Marcus Ericsson (Sweden) Sauber - Ferrari 1min08.418
22. Felipe Nasr (Brazil) Sauber - Ferrari 1min08.446
1-10min third and final qualifying session
11-16min second qualifying session
17-22min first qualifying session