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Massa: 'Williams are back on top'

2014-06-21 17:52

WILLIAMS 'BACK ON TOP': Williams' Felipe Massa (centre) poses with team mate Valtteri Bottas (right) and Mercedes' Nico Rosberg after the qualifying for the 2014 Austrian GP. Image: AP/Darko Vojinovic

SPIELBERG, Austria - Felipe Massa celebrated his first Formula 1 pole position since 2008 as Williams stunned leaders Mercedes on Saturday (June 1 2014) and swept the front row of the Austrian GP starting grid.

Valtteri Bottas qualified in second place for the Mercedes-powered former champions with championship leader Nico Rosberg only third fastest for the Mercedes factory team.

It was the first time this season that Mercedes had failed to take pole and Sunday's (June 22 2014) race will be Williams's first start from the front of the grid since Pastor Maldonado in Spain in 2012.

WILLIAMS 'BACK TO FIGHT'

Massa said: "Williams are back to the top, they are back to fight. I am pleased for me and the team as well. After a long time I hope this is just the beginning of great possibilities. I hope to be in this position again."

Massa's last pole was with Ferrari at his home grand prix before finishing that season as runner-up.
 
Lewis Hamilton, Rosberg's team mate and closest championship rival who is 22 points behind Rosberg after seven races, had a nightmare session.

Hamilton will have to fight back from ninth place after his first flying lap of the revamped Red Bull Ring was disallowed because he exceeded track limits and he then spun on his final attempt.

Hamilton said: "It was just two not very good laps. Or one-and-a-quarter-laps - I didn't finish my second one. My first lap was looking good and I went wide in the second to last corner - I think that lap would have done it.

"We're going to be strong tomorrow, it's going to be very, very hard from where we are, but of course I'll do everything I can to try and get some good points for the team. It's damage limitation I guess."

VETTEL UNHAPPY

Red Bull's quadruple world champion Sebastian Vettel fared even worse, qualifying 13th at a home circuit for the team.

Vettel said: "I'm not happy, let's put it that way. I think anything is possible tomorrow but surely we are not as quick as we'd like to be."
 
Vettel will move up a place because Force India's Sergio Perez drops five from 11th for causing a collision at the previous race in Montreal.

Team mate Daniel Ricciardo, winner of the 2014 Canadian, qualified ahead of Vettel yet again and will start fifth with Ferrari's Fernando Alonso fourth.

Kevin Magnussen qualified sixth for McLaren while Russian newcomer Daniil Kvyat starts seventh for Red Bull's sister team Toro Rosso.

Both rookies have experience of racing at the Red Bull Ring from junior series last season, something most of their established F1 rivals lack.

The last time two Williams drivers lined up together on the front row was in Germany 11 years ago - the year Austria was last on the calendar - and qualifying was a great turnaround for the family-run outfit.

In 2013, Williams scored only five points and finished ninth overall but this year they have already bagged 58 and are threatening to overtake fifth-placed McLaren.

'HARD WORK PAYING OFF'

Massa said: "I am so happy with what has happened today, with us, our team, it was such a great moment. It is a long time since I last had a pole position."

Bottas also celebrated his best ever qualifying performance: "It's a great result for the team. We've made progress throughout the year and now we get this result. The hard work is all paying off.

"It will be a different story tomorrow I think. We have a big, big job to keep the Mercedes cars behind us - and some of the other cars - Ferrari and Red Bull - can do well also."

Rosberg, who had qualified on pole for the last three races, sounded relaxed: "I still think we are the quickest team and car at the moment. It is more difficult than starting on the front row, of course, but I think it is possible to overtake on this track."

2014 Austrian GP:
Qualifying
Third practice
Second practice
First practice results

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