Hamilton’s brakes & Spanish troubles

Michelle Foster

It was not a good morning for Formula 1’s Spanish contingent in Austria on Saturday as Fernando Alonso had to revert to the older spec Honda engine and Carlos Sainz’s P3 ended without a full lap completed.

Saturday morning began with the usual fanfare of driver autographs with Sebastian Vettel appeasing his adoring public.

Lewis Hamilton, though, did it better with a burnout as he arrived on a motorbike.

News broke that Alonso  had reverted to Honda’s ‘Spec 2’ engine for the remainder of the Austrian Grand Prix weekend, after an issue was detected with his MGU-H. Same old story, again.

But at least he was able to run, the same cannot be said of Carlos Sainz. The Spaniard stopped on his out-lap with an engine issue. He was unable to restart the car and was pushed off the track by the marshals, his morning over.

Halfway through FP3 Vettel was holding down the top spot with a 1:05.384, breaking the lap record set by Hamilton on Friday afternoon.

While Vettel was flying, Kimi Raikkonen was having a tough time with Kevin Magnussen and was unhappy with the Haas driver’s antics. “I don’t know what he’s doing, he’s trying to block me all the time [is] Magnussen,” Raikkonen complained.

Hamilton and Vettel engages in a battle for P1, trading lap records along the way. However, the Brit’s charge came to a halt in the final 10 minutes of FP3 as his W08 suffered a right front brake failure.

At the end other end were the Saubers with Marcus Ericsson ahead of Pascal Wehrlein, P19 and P20 respectively.

Qualifying began with double trouble for Williams as Lance Stroll and Felipe Massa both failed to make the cut for Q2.

A broken suspension then left Kevin Magnussen unable to compete for a chance in the top-10 shoot-out.

Fernando Alonso almost sealed his place in Q3, but missed out by less than a tenth of a second.

But Valtteri Bottas proved too quick to catch, as he went on to claim a second career pole…

Sebastian Vettel had to settle for second and Lewis Hamilton was P3 (P8 on Sunday due his gearbox penalty) as a yellow flag caused by Romain Grosjean ensured an anti-climactic end to qualifying.