Lewis Hamilton will start Sunday’s Austrian Grand Prix from pole position, lining up alongside Nico Hulkenberg although it was the other Nico who was second quickest in qualifying.
A shower late in Q2 meant the pole position battle at the Red Bull Ring took place on a wet track, providing the opportunity for surprises.
Lewis Hamilton led the way on the intermediate tyres with a 1:16.232 but second place went to Jenson Button who edged Daniel Ricciardo.
The fight, though, was by no means over.
With a dry line developing the drivers made a mad dash into the pits, all swapping to the ultrasoft tyres even Nico Rosberg who minutes earlier said “negative, negative, negative” when asked if he was ready for slicks.
Nico Hulkenberg, Felipe Massa, Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel all had a brief stint in P1 but it was Hamilton who emerged victorious with a 1:07.922.
Rosberg finished second, 0.543s down on his team-mate, with Hulkenberg and Vettel next in line.
The Force India driver will move up to P2 on the grid in light of Rosberg’s gearbox penalty. Vettel also has a five-place grid drop.
Jenson Button, who qualified P5, will line up third ahead of Raikkonen and Ricciardo.
As with FP3, Saturday’s first qualifying session was interrupted by a big crash, this time for Daniil Kvyat.
The Toro Rosso driver ran wide onto the kerbs at the apex of Turn 8 and suffered a suspension failure.
He hurtled across the track and hit the inside barrier at speed with the impact sending him back across the track where his STR11 came to a halt againts the barriers.
“I’m sorry guys,” said Kvyat before confirming that he was okay. He climbed from the car unaided.
It was the day’s third suspension failure, following Nico Rosberg’s in FP3 and Sergio Perez’s earlier in Q1. The Force India driver was able to limp back to the pits.
Toro Rosso’s woes were compounded when Carlos Sainz suffered an engine failure. He qualified P15 to Kvyat’s P20 with Perez 16th on the grid.
Impressively Pascal Wehrlein progressed to Q2 on merit as the Manor driver was ninth fastest in the opening session. He qualified P12 for Sunday’s 71-lap Austrian Grand Prix.
1 Hamilton Mercedes 1:07.922
2 Rosberg Mercedes 1:08.465 0.543
3 Hulkenberg Force India 1:09.285 1.363
4 Vettel Ferrari 1:09.781 1.859
5 Button McLaren 1:09.900 1.978
6 Raikkonen Ferrari 1:09.901 1.979
7 Ricciardo Red Bull 1:09.980 2.058
8 Bottas Williams 1:10.440 2.518
9 Verstappen Red Bull 1:11.153 3.231
10 Massa Williams 1:11.977 4.055
11 Gutierrez Haas 1:07.578
12 Wehrlein Manor 1:07.700
13 Grosjean Haas 1:07.850
14 Alonso McLaren 1:08.154
15 Sainz Toro Rosso no time
16 Perez Force India no time
17 Magnussen Renault 1:07.941
18 Palmer Renault 1:07.965
19 Haryanto Manor 1:08.026
20 Kvyat Toro Rosso 1:08.409
21 Ericsson Sauber 1:08.418
22 Nasr Sauber 1:08.446